Peak Week Race Winning Training Plan (1 Week)
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“Race winners” are a special kind of interval that mimics the kind of efforts needed to break away from the field and win a race. Hence the name, “race winner.” It's a kind of interval that simulates the hard acceleration needed to get a gap, the VO2 max level effort necessary to hold it and the finishing kick necessary to blow someone off your wheel. By pushing your body to produce power in that depleted state, your body is forced to learn how to tap into deep anaerobic reserves and increase your aerobic machinery. Simply stated, these intervals are a really hard effort followed by another hard effort followed by another, you guessed it, hard effort.
Typically prescribed before the taper week of your big event or race, this training plan consists of seven different low volume, high intensity race winning interval workouts designed to sharpen the edges and mimic what you need physically and mentally to win come show time.
I am happy to answer any questions via email and can provide advice on nutrition, methodologies, terminology and lessons learned from my own personal experiences.
This training plan is Zwift and TrainerRoad compatible.
Average Weekly Breakdown
|Workouts||Weekly Average||Longest Workout|
||6:29 hrs||1:30 hrs|
|Workouts Per Week||Weekly Average||Longest Workout|
||6:29 hrs||1:30 hrs|
Training Load By Week
Sample Day 1
This workout relies on longer duration intervals to achieve anaerobic work capacity depletion and aerobic benefit. The intensities are dialled back a little to ensure you're able to complete the efforts and the recovery intensity is cranked up a little to make sure your body can't completely clear out the lactate before the next interval starts. By the end of each interval, you should be fighting to stay with the intensity just a little, which is exactly how your body will be forced to adapt. This workout mimics some of the incredibly intense efforts that may be required to remain clear of the chasing peloton towards the end of a race or perhaps to stay with the lead group as it surges toward the finish line.
Sample Day 2
A relatively short, relatively easy session with less than 15 minutes of of effort required at 120% FTP.
During the intense 40-seconds of work, you will be close to or at your lactate threshold, i.e. the point at which your muscles begin producing lactate as a byproduct of anaerobic respiration.
We want to teach your body to utilise and clear lactate as quickly as possible, which is why you’ll want to take short rests after each interval. During the 20-seconds of rest, your heart rate will drop, which clears the lactate and allows you to make another effort. Over time, your body will become more efficient at clearing lactate, and you will be able to hold a faster pace for a longer period of time
Sample Day 3
Race winning intervals are exact simulations of what it takes to win a race by attacking the peloton, escaping and maintaining that gap to the finish line.
Each interval is approximately 3:40 in length. Start with a sprint like effort for 30 seconds, then ride at 100% of your FTP for 3 minutes and finishing with your 10 second best effort.
The efforts at 100% FTP will initially feel difficult after the 30s sprint…but stay strong and focused as your level of perceived exertion will decrease as your heart rate stabilises.
Sample Day 4
The 30/30 intervals will prepare your body for the sustained VO2 max effort to follow.
You'll start with a six-minute block of 30 seconds at 115% FTP followed by 30 seconds of rest. Rest is anything from easy pedalling (the first time you do these workouts you'll want to just spin easy) to tempo pace (as you get more comfortable with the intervals and want to tax your body a little more). The science dictates that approximately 65% FTP is most efficient power for lactate clearance. Following the last 30 second rest, launch directly into a 3 minute VO2 max interval with an intensity around 110% of your FTP and hold it the best you can and the peloton watches you become smaller and smaller as you ride off into the distance.
Take 7 minutes rest and go again.
Sample Day 5
The goal of this kind of workout is to deplete your anaerobic energy stores and force your body to work hard to adapt its aerobic energy system. Specifically, you'll challenge your body with a number of different intensities and durations.
After the warm-up, you'll start with a modest 3 minutes at 105% of your FTP, immediately ramp up to a minute at 125% FTP and a final effort at 150% FTP. The second set of intervals starts significantly harder at 125% FTP for a couple of minutes and ramps up to a full gas 175% FTP effort for the last 30 seconds. Both intervals simulate attacks or climbs in a race or group ride and can be made harder by increasing the intensity of the four-minute recovery between each interval set from easy spinning to sweet spot intensity or by decreasing the rest durations.
You'll repeat each interval set 3 times for about 45 minutes worth of work, and it won’t be easy.
Sample Day 6
30 seconds is not long enough for your body to develop a high blood lactate concentration, which has the effect of decreasing power output by increasing the concentration of hydrogen ions and therefore acidity in the working muscles. Instead, the 30 seconds is just long enough for the for you to accelerate up to a high speed, hold it for 15–20 seconds, and then decelerate into the rest. The cardiac demand stays relatively high with only around a 5 to 10 bpm decrease during the rest interval. As far as your heart is concerned, you’re working quite continuously at or near your VO2max.
The 30-second recovery interval allows the myoglobin in the muscle cell to recharge its small oxygen store. This in turn allows a higher power output—and better engagement of fast twitch muscle fibres—for the next 30-second work bout. Fast twitch fibres have poor endurance and will fatigue during longer work repetitions; the short repeats with equal rest intervals provide them with a greater endurance training effect.
Perception-wise, athletes report leaving a 30/30 interval workout feeling invigorated and not overly wiped out. This is often in stark contrast to sensations after finishing a more traditional VO2max interval workout with long-duration repeats. For that reason, I use these sessions quite frequently and see fantastic results.
Start with a block of 6 minutes of 30 seconds all out / 30 seconds rest. Take 2 minutes rest then launch into a race winner. What's a “race winner”? It simulates attacking a field and breaking away. Start off by sprinting all out for 10 seconds, then ride 20 seconds at 150% FTP, followed by 3 minutes at 115% FTP. Sprint as hard as you still can for the last 10 seconds of the interval. You're looking at 3:30 of pure VO2 max beatdown. Rest for 7 minutes and then do it all over again.
Sample Day 7
Based on Momentum Cycling's "War of Attrition" - This work-out simulates you being in a 6 person breakaway that thins down to 5,4,3 and then just 2 racers.
Sprint for the win and launch into your taper week.