Post-season, or off-season, has arrived. This is the training cycle following your last race of the year. Temps are getting cooler, the days are getting shorter, and many triathletes are turning to the bike trainer, a great tool to execute a solid workout, free of traffic lights, cars, and worrisome weather. With a trainer, it’s just you, your bike, and a healthy dose of motivation. Rather than viewing your trainer workouts as a dreaded chore in the pain cave, think quality over quantity to make the most of your trainer time. In the off-season, training stress is low, but it’s important to remember that quality winter training sessions establish the foundation for your next season. Focus on developing cardiovascular endurance, improving pedal stroke efficiency, and building up bike-specific strength, and you’ll come into spring strong—and ready for a great season!
Here are three 90-minute bike workouts that will bring you into the upcoming race season well equipped.
Note: Adjust these workouts as needed to suit your schedule and cycling ability.
High Cadence Intervals/Efficiency
Focus: Intervals at low power, high cadence, with a focus on smooth pedal strokes and a relaxed upper body. The gear should be easy but not too easy that you are bouncing in your saddle.
WU: 15 minutes easy spin (HR zone 1-2 @ 90 rpm) cadence @ 90 rpm
4 x 45 seconds hard/45 seconds easy
5 minutes easy spin (HR zone 2 @ 90 rpm)
MS: 3 x 3 min, 3 x 2 min, 3 x 1 min, 3 x 30 sec., 3 x 1 min, 3 x 2 min, 3 x 3 min
Intervals @ 100-115 rpm (HR zone 2)
1 min easy spin between each interval @ 90 rpm
CD: Easy spin to 90 minutes total in zone 2 with good form and fluid pedal strokes
Strength and Muscle Recruitment
Focus: Intervals at the slowest rpm you can hold seated with even and controlled pedal strokes, balanced recruitment, and even tension on the chain.
WU: 15 min easy spin (HR zone 1-2 @ 90 rpm)
5 x 1 min spin up/1 min easy (spin up at @ 100+ rpm in easier gear)
5 min easy spin (HR zone 2 @ 90 rpm)
MS: 8 min, 6 min, 4 min, 2 min*
Intervals @ 60-65 rpm
2 min easy spin between each interval @ 90 rpm
CD: Easy spin to 90 min total in zone 2 with good form and fluid pedal strokes
*Once you have mastered this main set, add 2 min, 4 min, 6 min, 8 min, or start with 10 min
Focus: Progressive building interval efforts to facilitate pacing, sharpening focus and building functional threshold power (FTP).
WU: 20 min easy spin (HR zone 1-2 @ 90 rpm)
4 x 1 min intervals (1-4 descending pace from zone 3- zone 5)
(30 seconds easy spin between intervals)
5 min easy spin (zone 2 @ 90 rpm)
MS: 3 – 6 x [5 min @ Ironman pace, 4 min @ half Ironman pace, 3 min @ Olympic pace, 1 min @ max power]
2 min easy spin between each 13 min interval @ 90 rpm
CD: Easy spin to 90 min total in zone 2 with good form and fluid pedal strokes*
*This workout can easily be 2+ hours in duration when all 6 rounds of the set are completed.
Always remember to bring 2 bottles of water or electrolyte fluid with you to trainer workouts. Plan to drink one 24-ounce bottle each hour, so bring 2 for workouts lasting longer than 60 minutes.