Workouts

Bike Workout: 5-Minute Intervals

These short intervals switch between a baseline intensity and increasingly shorter and more intense intervals, returning to baseline intensity between hard intervals. The profile of each set should look like the following: 20140522-120132-43292611.jpg

I teach this workout using three different drills:

  • Sitting/standing at 80rpm
  • Hills with increasing resistance
  • High cadence, between 95 and 110rpm

Each set consists of 4.5 minutes of intervals and a 30 second rest before starting the next set.  Teach 3x through each set (sit/stand, hills, sprint) for a 45 minute class, or 4 times for an hour class.

 

Sit/Stand Set:

Moderate resistance, adding on standing intervals; maintain 80rpm throughout.

60 seconds seated, 60 seconds standing
45 seconds seated, 45 seconds standing
30 seconds seated, 30 seconds standing

 

Hill Set:

Moderate to high resistance on baseline intervals, adding progressively larger amounts on hard intervals; maintain 65-70rpm throughout.

60 seconds at 80%, 60 seconds at 85%
45 seconds at 80%, 45 seconds at 90%
30 seconds at 80%, 30 seconds at 95% (all out)

 

High Cadence Set:

Maintain enough resistance to prevent spinning out or bouncing in the saddle, try to keep the resistance up on fast intervals.

60 seconds at 95rpm, 60 seconds at 100rpm
45 seconds at 95rpm, 45 seconds at 105rpm
30 seconds at 95rpm, 30 seconds at 110rpm

 

Music: I’m a big fan of the Steady130 Spin/Cycle mixes for time-based workouts.

Bike Workout: Ladder Hills

This week’s spin class was a hit! The long hills are awesome for building endurance and although it’s a tough workout, nobody got bored.  You can also modify this class to suit any length in 10 minute increments – the long workout is up to 2 hours 20 minutes!

Ladder Hills
Time: 50 minutes + warmup and cooldown

Warmup for a few minutes: 90rpm with some short bursts at 100rpm

Set 1:
8 minute climb at 65rpm and 75% resistance (2 minutes sitting, 1 minute standing)
1 x 30s sprint at 110rpm, 30s recovery
1 minute easy spinning

Set 2:
7 minute climb at 65rpm and 80% resistance (2 minutes sitting, 1 minute standing)
2 x 30s sprint at 110rpm, 30s recovery
1 minute easy spinning

Set 3:
6 minute climb at 65rpm and 85% resistance (2 minutes sitting, 1 minute standing)
3 x 30s sprint at 110rpm, 30s recovery
1 minute easy spinning

Set 4:
5 minute climb at 65rpm and 90% resistance (2 minutes sitting, 1 minute standing)
4 x 30s sprint at 110rpm, 30s recovery
1 minute easy spinning

Set 5:
4 minute climb at 65rpm and 95% resistance (2 minutes sitting, 1 minute standing)
5 x 30s sprint at 110rpm, 30s recovery
1 minute easy spinning

Cooldown and stretch

Long Option:
Time: 2 hours 20 minutes + warmup and cooldown (you can adjust the time by eliminating sets)

Increasing Sets:
Set 1: 8 min @ 65rpm / 1 x 30s @ 110rpm, 30s recovery / 1 min easy spinning
Set 2: 7 min @ 65rpm / 2 x 30s @ 110rpm, 30s recovery / 1 min easy spinning
Set 3: 6 min @ 65rpm / 3 x 30s @ 110rpm, 30s recovery / 1 min easy spinning
Set 4: 5 min @ 65rpm / 4 x 30s @ 110rpm, 30s recovery / 1 min easy spinning
Set 5: 4 min @ 65rpm / 5 x 30s @ 110rpm, 30s recovery / 1 min easy spinning
Set 6: 3 min @ 65rpm / 6 x 30s @ 110rpm, 30s recovery / 1 min easy spinning
Set 7: 2 min @ 65rpm / 7 x 30s @ 110rpm, 30s recovery / 1 min easy spinning

Decreasing Sets:
Set 8: 2 min @ 65rpm / 7 x 30s @ 110rpm, 30s recovery / 1 min easy spinning
Set 9: 3 min @ 65rpm / 6 x 30s @ 110rpm, 30s recovery / 1 min easy spinning
Set 10: 4 min @ 65rpm / 5 x 30s @ 110rpm, 30s recovery / 1 min easy spinning
Set 11: 5 min @ 65rpm / 4 x 30s @ 110rpm, 30s recovery / 1 min easy spinning
Set 12: 6 min @ 65rpm / 3 x 30s @ 110rpm, 30s recovery / 1 min easy spinning
Set 13: 7 min @ 65rpm / 2 x 30s @ 110rpm, 30s recovery / 1 min easy spinning
Set 14: 8 min @ 65rpm / 1 x 30s @ 110rpm, 30s recovery / 1 min easy spinning

 

 

Up and Over

Climbing technique is a key skill for competitive cyclists, and lots of recreational cyclists also benefit from learning how to properly pace and crest a hill.  We all have a tendency to ease off a little as we reach the top of a hill and the grade levels off, but if you add a push at the top and over the hill you can recover at a much faster speed than if you rest as soon as you reach the top.  I don’t know about you, but I’d rather do that little push to recover at 35km/hr rather than dying at 6km/hr over the top of the hill.

Okay, so now that we know the best technique for cresting a hill, how do you practice it?  By doing Up and Overs of course!  You can do these outside, on a trainer or in a spin class – whatever floats your boat. The key is to keep the effort level high until you’ve moved from the hill to the sprint.  No sneaking breaks in between! (more…)

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Sunday Recap: Enlightenment

I reached running enlightenment twice this week.

For me, enlightenment comes when I no longer make the decision to keep going; in fact, I stop thinking altogether and the default setting is just keep running. It doesn’t happen often, because most of time I don’t get to the point where I’m too exhausted to think and every fibre of my being is purely focused on managing the discomfort and pain coursing through my body. If you’ve ever been there you implicitly understand how incredibly powerful it makes you feel, and if you haven’t then you probably think I’m crazy for considering this a condition worth striving for.

On Wednesday nights I run intervals at Sir Winston Churchill park with a group of runners. It usually consists of some combination of 400m to 1600m intervals at 10k pace or faster, adding up to about 5km, but this week was particularly difficult (my paces in brackets, 2 minute rest between intervals).

2km at 10k pace (4:30/km)
800m at 5k pace (4:18/km)
400m all out (<4:00/km)
2km at 10k pace (4:30/km)

I took it a little easy on the first 2k interval because I have a bad habit of going out hard and lagging in the middle, and I'm trying to break this, so my pace was 4:35. The 800m interval seemed short by comparison, so I took it around 4:15 pace, and followed that up with a blazing 400m at 3:35 pace (which is crazy fast even for me). I was really nervous going into the last interval because my legs were shot (duh, that's what happens when you go too hard in the middle of intervals) and I didn't even feel like jogging 2km, let alone sprinting it.

I took off at a (relatively) easy pace for the first 400m,then glanced down at my watch and realized I was running well under 4:30 pace. Crap. Way to blow the pace, Kim. I eased up a little, but kept the pressure on because I had a buddy about 10 feet behind me, and I’d been chasing him all session. It was about 800m into the interval when the discomfort became too much for me to handle consciously, and in the absence of a decision to slow down or stop my legs just kept going. Another one and a half laps of the park, holding a pace of 4:26 right until the end; I don’t know how I did it, but I finished the interval I didn’t think I could start. Enlightenment number one.

My second round with enlightenment this week came from a much simpler process: it was my longest long run by 5km, building on my 25km run last Sunday. Last week things got rough around 19.5km, and I had to muscle through the last 5.5km; this week I lasted until 24km before it got tough, but the last three kilometres were an exercise in pure determination. I have never run so far on the verge of tears, praying for it to be over so the pain will stop; and in those three kilometres I stopped thinking about anything other than running. Stopping wasn’t an option, quitting wasn’t an option because there are no options when you can’t think; it was no longer physical, and the only thing left was just keep running.

I finished the 30km run knowing that in breaking those barriers to what I thought was possible, I gained just as much mental strength as I did physical strength this morning.

That’s running enlightenment, and it’s a good feeling.

Don Valley Trail

Coming up this week:

Not quite a full recovery week as I’m running 33km next Sunday, but I’m taking it easy the rest of the week with some slower recovery runs and no interval work (which usually takes me 1-2 days to fully recover from).

My goals this week are:

  1. Go to bed before 10pm at least 5 nights this week. As my training load increases, I’m realizing that even a consistent 9 hours doesn’t cut it, and especially on a recovery week, sleep is just as important as training.
  2. Focus on nutrition. This past week I ate a lot more sweets than usual and my body needs a reset (read: quinoa and veggies instead of chocolate and muffins).
  3. Use my roller every day (I’ve noticed a big difference since I started rolling and I’m trying to make this a habit).
Running Track

Super Sprints

I finally got fed up with the weather today, and decided that no rumbling clouds were going to keep me from working out. Just in case, I figured I’d stay close to home and ventured across the road the the running track I see every time I take the MRT.

Just for the record, I made an awesome call. The lightining held off, I had a totally kick-ass workout, and didn’t feel guilty at all when I polished off a huge dessert later. If anyone is interested in trying my super awesome workout, here’s what I did:

400m warmup
2 x 800m sprint
2 x 400m sprint
2 x 200m sprint
2 x 100m sprint
Walked 200m in between each sprint
Total distance = 5km

Yeah, I’m awesome. Maybe still a little high on endorphins :)