As the early season road races start to die down, California transitions into a summer of criteriums. Here’s a workout to help you prepare to hit time and time again and finish off any race strong.
This is a workout that simulates a fast, aggressive criterium. You’ll be hitting it hard out of the gates to simulate those early attacks, learning to hold it there for breakaways, and finally finishing it off with a sprint to the line. This is an intense workout and shouldn’t be done more than once every 2 weeks.
Warmup: When your time is limited, often the warm-up and cool down becomes condensed. You’ll need a decent warm-up for this one though as we’ll be going anaerobic right away.
Take it out easy for 15min to get the blood flowing. Build into a 5 minute medium endurance set (about 20% or roughly a fast tempo), followed by 5 minutes of recovery spinning. Now we are ready to go.
Pyramid: Just as the name states, you’ll be building up in time, then bringing it back down. Each set lasts 5 minutes with a 5-minute recovery in between. Start your first interval at a nice rolling speed. Begin each interval with a slight jump to get yourself up to speed, followed by sitting down and powering through till the end. Start off with doing the intervals at roughly 85% max effort (we want you to get through the workout), and adjust based on how you are feeling throughout. Remember, each set takes 5 minutes, so you’ll be doing a total of ten 15sec efforts for the first set.
Set 1: 15sec on, 15sec off for 5 minutes
Set 2: 30sec on, 30 sec off for 5 minutes
Set3: 1min on, 1min off for 5 minutes
Set 4: 30sec on, 30sec off for 5 minutes
Set 5: 15sec on, 15sec off for 5 minutes
Cool Down: 15-20min of easy spinning.
This is a very intense workout. It is important that you try and maintain good form throughout. Work on putting all of your power into the pedals and not wasting energy on extraneous movement and thrashing about with the bike. Maintain a high cadence (90+ rpm), as this is designed as a speed workout.
You can adjust this workout as well. If you feel like you need a longer warm-up, cool down, or recovery between sets, change the set time to 3 minutes. Remember to listen to your body, and this can be a great workout to get you ready for criterium season.
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.