Triathlete to Crit Racer
Here are a few key workouts to prepare triathletes or novice crit racers as they head out for some high intensity racing at The Driveway Criterium Series. These sessions are best suited for an athlete who has already completed a solid 8-12 week block of low intensity (Zone 2) riding.
1) Over and Unders.
The goal of this session is to tax, and therefore elevate, your lactate threshold (LT). LT is the exercise intensity at which the blood concentration of lactate and/or lactic acid begins to exponentially increase and is thought to be a factor contributing to fatigue. Elevating your LT is aided with knowledge of your Functional Threshold Power (FTP). FTP is the highest power a cyclist can maintain for 1 hour. Use your FTP to determine your exercise intensity levels. If you don’t know your FTP, use the Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale to gauge exercise intensity. Your FTP equates to an intensity of 8/10. This session will mimic the intensity and pace changes that occur during a criterium. After a proper warm up complete the following main set:
3x12 mins slightly BELOW your FTP with a 1min HARD effort every 3 minutes slightly ABOVE your FTP. Following each 1min HARD effort, return to the initial intensity. Your easy recovery interval (RI) occurs AFTER the 12min interval.
As your fitness improves, increase the duration of the interval to 15mins. Use feedback that you typically use to gauge intensity (i.e. RPE, heart rate, or power).
2) VO2 max Intervals.
These short, high intensity 2min intervals will improve pedaling economy, strength, and your ability to clear lactate…all of which are crucial to improving athletic performance. Again, complete a proper warm up followed by:
6x 2minute VERY HARD intervals with a 2minute RI. These should be completed at an intensity that you can maintain for just 2 minutes. 120%+ of your FTP if you are using a power meter or an RPE of 9/10.
Increase the number of 2 minute intervals as your fitness improves.
3) Strength Training.
Endurance athletes often overlook weight training. Get an edge on your competitors by performing these 9 key moves:
Squats, Dead Lifts, Plank (all variations), Overhead Press, Kettle Bell Swings, Pull Ups, Lunges, Push Ups, and Rows
Enlist the help of a coach to ensure you practice perfect form and have an organized lifting regime.
4) Cadence Work.
Triathletes and novice cyclists tend to maintain a cadence in the 80-85rpm range. Bike racing and criterium racing is best performed with a cadence of 90-95rpms. Practice maintaining this appropriate cadence during the majority of your rides and during the above intervals. Your pedaling should be smooth and without any ‘dead spots’ in the pedal stroke. Proper bike fit and the help of a coach is very helpful in improving cycling technique.
Give these training sessions attention for six weeks to allow for physiologic adaptation …then get out and go racing!
See you at The Driveway!