We all love to race our bikes. I know we all love to ride our bikes, but we wouldn’t be surfing around a website like Cycling Illustrated unless we truly loved racing our bikes (or reading about other people racing theirs). The best way to prepare for a race is often to simulate race efforts in a workout. If you spend all of your time at threshold, the first time you go anaerobic during race will knock you off your feet. That’s where the “break” workout comes into play.
Short for breakaway, the “break” workout simulates the actions of an aggressive race. In short, you’ll be simulating the effort it take to establish a break, the sustained power to keep a break rolling, and the leg searing effort it takes to sprint to the finish. In essence, you will be teaching your body how to recover from a highly anaerobic and immediately setting in a threshold, followed by a final lactic acid building final effort. After a few weeks of this workout, your body will better adapted at recovering from anaerobic efforts without having to go into full shut-down, recovery mode.
Like any highly intense workout, you’ll want to make sure you got a solid 20-30min warm-up with one 5 min threshold effort to get the blood really flowing. Start the “break” intervals at a nice rolling speed, like you are sitting in the middle of a pack of riders. From there: 30 sec hard sprint
5min at your 20min TT power
15sec hard sprint
Depending on if you use a HR monitor, standard recovery is easy, spinning till HR reaches 10% below your Zone 2 HR. Start by doing 3 intervals in a workout and move you way up to 5. If you find that this is too hard, you can use your 60min TT powerfor the middle section.
Hopefully next time you race, that breakaway effort won’t kill you for the rest of the race, and you’ll be better prepared to win if that groups stays away to the line.
Adam Switters is a former professional cyclist and currently races for Team Mike’s Bikes p/b Incase. He is a USA Cycling Certified Coach is the owner of Switters Coaching. You can check him out at his website www.SwittersCoaching.com. Feel free to comment if you have any ideas for workout or questions.