Training Endurance and Strength on the Bike
Focused Training That Works
Most athletes don’t need variety, they need to do more work.
You’ll get more work done by knowing the goal of your session and executing with that goal in mind.
On the bike I have three goals:
Flat with Pace Partner: Zwift has robot riders who pace groups at a fixed watts per kilo. Love these rides for Steady endurance training.
Pick a ride that implies an average output equal to aerobic threshold
Pay attention to your effective range (see pic below)
Learn to ride smooth within the group
Don’t force HR up early, especially in a cool room
You don’t need to be on Zwift for this session. Stay out of erg mode and average your aerobic threshold watts, by riding a relatively tight range (see pic below).
Longer, on my own: these rides will have a lower average (both power & heart rate)
Long is relative to the athlete: the goal is to extend the long ride to race duration.
Lower is relative to the athlete: start easy to reduce the early stress of the session.
When pushing duration, be humble on the climbs.
Endurance rides are foundational:
focusing on ability to move
training the ability to do work
Seated Big Gear Climbs: long climbs with low cadence
When base training, Moderate Domain, mixed into an endurance ride
As fitness improves, insert blocks of 15-60 minutes of Heavy Domain, placed at the end of an endurance ride
Flat Big Gear Sets: my favorite way to improve TT performance
At the end of an endurance ride
4-6 intervals of 4-8 minutes duration
Easy spin, 25% of interval duration, after each interval
Heavy Domain power with Threshold-Minus HR Cap
Unsure about Domains & Zones? Article here with embedded video.
Moderate Domain: anchor on aerobic threshold, the border between Zone 1 & 2
Heavy Domain: anchor on threshold-minus, the border between Zone 3 & 4
If you make a mistake, then target too low
On a “time and work done” basis, the four workouts above cover 95%+ of my riding.
If I’m too tired for an endurance ride, then I’m too tired.
Recovery Rides: 20 to 60 minutes duration
Heart rate under 100 bpm
Small ring only
Cadence 88-92 rpm
10 minutes mobility work to follow
High Intensity Sets: In base, I avoid spin classes and sustained high intensity. My running and swimming make up the higher intensity part of my program.
Three ideas for high-intensity sets follow.
Keep this work under 5% of total volume
Remember, kilojoules win races
Don’t create strain1 from this part of your program
#2 // A thread on Adding Pep To A Program - advice from my favorite follows:
30 second repeats on 30-90 second spin recoveries
Start with total work, excluding rest, of 5-minutes duration
Set effective intensity, of the set, via rest interval duration
Aim for best 6- to 12- minute pace to start, 125-140% of FTP
Progress the set by shortening rest, or adding repeats.
Justin likes to use the set to hit muscle fibers that don’t get stressed with the Endurance Rides.
Consistent work builds great seasons
Intensity is a poor trade for Moderate Domain volume
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An excellent video is Load, Stress & Strain By Stephen Seiler. Get tired from work that directly benefits your goals.