This is a short power test workout. Try your best for each effort, don't hold back. Recover at whatever intensity feels right so that you are as fresh as possible for the next effort, but try to keep to the prescribed recovery interval period. Make sure you understand the workout before you start so you are ready, in the right gear and at the prescribed start speed to get the best out of the test intervals.
If you are doing on a trainer, as with all test workouts, make sure the ERG mode is off and ignore the wattages for the test intervals - just go full gas
Recovery ride with some cadence skills today. The higher cadence intervals may be tough to hit but work on smoothing your pedal stroke to avoid bobbing and keep working at it. The other key point is to try to hit the rpms prescribed without actually riding hard, this is a recovery day afterall. For the recovery interval use a self selected cadence. If you feel good after this session, feel free to extend it 15-30mins but keep the effort below 80% FTP
Tempo ride 1.5-2.0hrs. Start with a good warm up with hi/lo cadence efforts. Within the ride include 3 sets of 3 sprints of 12 seconds duration. For each set use a flat to slightly uphill section of road. Each sprint should be separated with 3mins easy pedaling to get max recovery. Make sure you are on a gear that you will not need to change during the sprint.
First set - slow to a slow roll (1-5mph) then sprint as hard as possible for the full 12 seconds. Recover for 3mins then repeat, recover and repeat for a total of 3 sprints.
Continue ride 20-30mins min
Second set - sprint from moderate pace (16-20mph). Recover for 3mins then repeat, recover and repeat for a total of 3 sprints.
Continue ride 20-30mins
Third set - sprint from a high pace (22-25mph). Recover for 3mins then repeat, recover and repeat for a total of 3 sprints.
Continue ride, warm down
This workout is inspired by the Dirt Friday Sprintpalooza on Zwift. That ride is a group ride of around 1hr at 2-2.5w/kg with 4 sprints dispersed evenly through the ride. This session twists that a bit to make it more of a recovery/openers session but I'm grateful to the Dirt team for the idea! So, 5mins at the upper end of Zone 2 followed by a minute of power - 48secs to build towards the sprint and then a 12sec sprint. The build should be done slowly over the first 20-30 sec of the interval, then hold and then sprint by upping your cadence rather than changing gear - focus on form for the sprint rather than power - this is not supposed to be a super intense workout, more an opener for following sessions.
Today we have two sets of 3 by 3min intervals. The recovery interval between each 3mins in shorter than the work interval but not too short. Rest easy between each set. if you are doing these intervals outside then you may do them on a climb, with the recovery coming on the descent, remember to spin out (rather than freewheeling) down the hill to promote active recovery. If you are doing on the flat, you won't be able to retrace to the start of your interval in time to start the next one so make sure the road is free of stops, lights, turns etc to allow you to get all three intervals in the set done.
Three minute intervals are a great way to boost your VO2max energy system, one that you might be working hard during the latter stages of a criterium.
Under/overs are a classic training protocol where we alternate our efforts just over and just under our threshold. They help train our ability to recover from a high intensity burst while maintaining an intensity usually just below threshold. Typically in a crit this might be straight after a corner onto a long straightaway or pulling turns in a breakaway, or countering a move after closing a gap, there are many scenarios where this is useful.
This workout prescribes three sets or 12.5mins alternating between sweet spot and a 30 second burst.
Towards the end of a 2-3hr endurance ride, perform a 15min sweet spot effort (88-92% FTP) then, after a short recovery do 2 sets of sprint pyramids. Each sprint pyramid consists of all out efforts for 10secs, 20secs, 30secs and 1min with 3mins of recovery between each interval. Take 5mins or more for full recovery and then perform a second set. After the second set, warm down.
By performing the sprints towards the end of a longer ride we obviously mimicking the hard effort required at the end of a race. By performing these after a sweet spot interval we are seeking to perform these pyramids in a more glycogen depleted state too. Hardman territory - show them what you've got!