intervals

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.

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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…)

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).

In the Zone

I use this workout to help my class figure out different intensity levels and how each feels different from the other.  It starts off relatively easy, but builds into an intense endurance interval near the end, and my class (at least those with heart rate monitors) commented that they had a higher average heart rate than usual since they didn’t have any official breaks.

I teach this class without recovery time between songs in order to add an endurance element, although I do vary the intensity somewhat throughout the interval as most people can’t maintain 90% of their max heart rate for more than a minute or two.  If you prefer to focus more on the intensity of the intervals or plan to sustain the intensity for the entire interval, spin easy for 30 seconds to a minute between zones.

Zone 1: Easy endurance, just above recovery but still working.  Heart rate should be between 70-75% of max.
Zone 2: Moderate endurance intensity, a level that could be maintained for a while with some fatigue.  Heart rate 75-80% of max.
Zone 3: Tempo/endurance intensity, breathing should be heavy and muscles should start to fatigue within the interval.  Heart rate 80-85% of max.
Zone 4: Hard tempo intensity, near the lactate threshold so perceived exertion and fatigue increases .  Heart rate 85-90% of max.
Zone 5: Maximum intensity, all out effort at around 90-95% of max heart rate.

In the Zone Spin
Total ride time: 1 hour (51 minutes intervals, 9 minute cooldown)

Zone 1: seated flat, warmup and intro 90rpm (Moves Like Jagger, Maroon 5 – 3:21)
Zone 2: standing flat or light hill 70rpm (On the Floor, Jennifer Lopez – 3:39)

Zone 1: seated flat 90 rpm (Higher, Taio Cruz – 3:08)
Zone 2: jumps (Hips Don’t Lie, Shakira – 3:40)
Zone 3: standing 90rpm (No Regrets, Dappy – 3:50)

Zone 1: seated flat 90rpm (Heart Skips a Beat, Olly Murs – 3:21)
Zone 2: moderate hill, seated 65rpm (She Makes me Go, Arash – 2:58)
Zone 3: stand/hover (Feel This Moment, Pitbull – 3:50)
Zone 4: seated sprints 110-115rpm (Feel the Love, Rudimental – 3:46)

Zone 1: jumps (Kiss the Stars, Pixie Lott – 3:15)
Zone 2: moderate hill, seated/standing 65rpm (You and Me Belong, Jes – 5:06)
Zone 3: stand/hover (Let’s Go, Calvin Harris – 3:47)
Zone 4: seated sprints 110-115rpm (Fix You, Vita Chambers – 3:35)
Zone 5: standing sprints on a hill (More More, Red One Jimmy Joker Remix, Usher – 3:40)

Cooldown and stretch

Doing the Audacious: Road2Hope Marathon

Marathon training officially starts today! Fortunately it was pretty easy to get started because Mondays are my off day in my new training plan, so I spent about 40 minutes in the gym doing core work and rolling out my well-rested muscles. Phew!

We’ve already talked about my audacious (isn’t that a fabulous word?) goal to train for my first marathon in 10 weeks and qualify for the Boston Marathon. We’ve already agreed that I’m crazy, so let’s move on to how I plan to make it happen!

Here’s the qualifier – I’m not a new runner. In addition to my other triathlon training, I’ve been running between 35 and 45km/week for most of the summer, and I’ve done at least four long runs 20km or longer in the past two months. Obviously this training plan isn’t for someone just starting out, and I’m not a coach or a doctor so please use discretion if you choose to follow along.

My Audacious 10-week Hamilton Marathon Road2Hope Training Plan:

Week 1: August 26 – September 1 (43km)
Monday – off
Tuesday – 5km easy
Wednesday – 10km intervals
Thursday – spin class
Friday – off
Saturday – 8km distance, spin class
Sunday – 20km long

Week 2: September 2 – September 8 (55km)
Monday – off
Tuesday – 10km distance
Wednesday – 10km intervals
Thursday – spin class
Friday – off
Saturday – Esprit de Montréal, Olympic Duathlon
Sunday – 20km long

Week 3: September 9 – September 15 (47km)
Monday – off
Tuesday – 7km recovery
Wednesday – 10km easy tempo
Thursday – spin class
Friday – 5km recovery
Saturday – spin class
Sunday – 25km long

Week 4: September 16 – September 22 (62km)
Monday – off
Tuesday – 10km distance
Wednesday – 10km intervals
Thursday – spin class
Friday – 5km easy
Saturday – 12km easy with some hills, spin class
Sunday – 25km long/tempo

Week 5: September 23 – September 29 (69km)
Monday – off
Tuesday – 12km distance
Wednesday – 10km intervals
Thursday – spin class
Friday – 5km easy
Saturday – 12km easy, spin class
Sunday – 30km long

Week 6: September 30 – October 6 (55km)
Monday – off
Tuesday – 7km recovery
Wednesday – 10km tempo
Thursday – spin class
Friday – 5km recovery
Saturday – spin class
Sunday – 33km long

Week 7: October 7 – October 13 (67km)
Monday – off
Tuesday – 12km distance
Wednesday – 10km intervals
Thursday – spin class
Friday – 5km easy
Saturday – 15km easy with some hills, spin class
Sunday – 25km long/tempo

Week 8: October 14 – October 20 (62km)
Monday – off
Tuesday – 14km distance
Wednesday – 10km intervals
Thursday – spin class
Friday – 5km easy
Saturday – 12km distance, spin class
Sunday – Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half-Marathon, 21.1km at goal race pace

Week 9: October 21 – October 27 (40km)
Monday – off
Tuesday – 10km easy
Wednesday – 10km intervals
Thursday – spin class
Friday – 5km easy
Saturday – spin class
Sunday – 15km easy

Week 10: October 28 – November 3 (63km)
Monday – off
Tuesday – 8km easy with strides
Wednesday – 8km tempo
Thursday – spin class
Friday – 5km easy
Saturday – off
Sunday – Hamilton Marathon Road2Hope, 42.2km

New to this training program is the addition of core work, strength training and roller sessions; every weekday I add about 30 minutes of cross training with core and roller on Monday/Wednesday/Friday, and strength training on Tuesday/Thursday.

Run types:
The key to building strength and speed is to vary the training intensity, which forces your body to adapt to different stimulus and increases your running efficiency. Also, if you want to run fast in racing, you have to run fast in training!

Recovery: it’s impossible to run too slowly during a recovery run; they should be very, very easy.

Long: around 5:45 pace, sustainable effort.

Long/tempo: maintain long run pace for the majority of the run; in the middle 10km, run every second kilometer faster than 5:00 pace (marathon race pace), maintaining long run pace between fast kilometers.

Distance: relatively easy run, pace around 5:30 depending on the day and terrain; some of my distance runs include hill work since my goal race has a significant downhill portion.

Easy: pace around 5:20, medium effort over shorter distances.

Tempo: slightly slower than 10km race pace, around 4:40 based on my 10k PB.

Intervals: these change from week to week, but involve running faster than 10km race pace (4:00 to 4:30) over shorter distances (1600m and shorter). If you’re looking for ideas, check out my running workouts page.

So what are you waiting for? Let’s go run!

Circuit Spin

The focus of any of my circuit spins are to encourage the class to establish a baseline effort, then use that to push their difficulty without overdoing it.  The repetitive structure means everyone knows what’s coming and they can fine-tune their effort based on the difficulty of the last set; by the end of the class they should have a much better idea of how much resistance they can handle for each set.

This class is designed to be about 40 minutes of effort and 5-10 minute cooldown; if you prefer an hour class, add a fourth circuit.

Circuit Spin

Total ride time: 40 minutes of intervals, 10 minute cooldown and stretch.

Circuit 1: start off easy and gradually increase intensity as muscles warm up, focus on breathing a proper form.
Flat (Brighter than the Sun, Colbie Caillat)Climb (Only Teardrops, Emmelie de Forest)
Jumps (Domino, Jessie J.)
Sprint (Let It Go, Dragonette)

Circuit 2: challenge the class to increase intensity beyond their comfort level, paying attention to how they feel
Flat (Drive By, Train)
Climb (Nobody’s Listening, LInkin Park)
Jumps (Drop it Low, Kat deLuna)
Sprint (Under the Sun, John de Sohn feat. Andreas Moe)

Circuit 3: focus on maintaining effort, adjust intensity based on how they felt finishing the last circuitFlat (Pocketful of Sunshine, Natasha Bedingfield)
Climb (We Got the Power, Loreen)
Jumps (So Yours, Darin)
Sprint (Green Light, Roll Deep)

Cooldown and stretch:
Shake it Out, Florence and the Machine
If I Lose Myself, Onerepublic vs. Alesso
The Fire, Sons of Midnight

 

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 :)