Loading...

Turbo sessions for endurance cyclists

Home » Performance Tips » Turbo sessions for endurance cyclists

"

Turbo sessions for endurance cyclists

The following ten turbo sessions have all been designed for endurance cyclists preparing relatively long sportives in the mountains. They are intended for use in the framework of a polarised training plan where a maximum of 20% of your training time is dedicated to High Intensity Training (HIT), with the bulk (80% or more) dedicated to Low Intensity Training (LIT).

  1. Zone 1 Active Recovery
  2. Zone 2 Easy Endurance (long)
  3. Zone 2 Easy Endurance (spin-outs)
  4. Zone 2 Endurance (long)
  5. Zone 2 Endurance (speed drills)
  6. Zone 3 Tempo (20 min, low cadence)
  7. Zone 4 Threshold (15 min)
  8. Zone 5 VO2max (8 min)
  9. Zone 5 VOmax (4 min)
  10. Zone 6 Anaerobic (30/15)

For a discussion of how to integrate these into your preparation for your event, read Training During a Lockdown

 

1. Zone 1 Active Recovery

Purpose

Assist your recovery from previous hard sessions

Ride for 45-75 minutes at a very easy pace and easy cadence in mid-Z1.

This session must not add any stress. You are just turning the legs to get the blood flowing.
In the example, the yellow and red dotted lines are, respectively, the upper limits to Zone 1 for power and heart rate. The cadence was deliberately varied to add variety and reduce boredom.

 

2. Zone 2 Easy Endurance (long)

Purpose

Build your aerobic engine while limiting fatigue

Ride for 2h+ in low Z2

Duration is important, but so too is good technique. Stop if you find you are unable to concentrate and maintain a fluid pedal stroke and a steady power output.
To help the time pass, vary the cadence regularly while keeping your power and heart rate constant: for example, 2’ at 70rpm, 2’ at 85 rpm, 2’ at 100rpm then repeat.
Watch your heart rate carefully at the higher cadence and reduce cadence if your HR rises too much: your goal is to stay in a narrow range at the bottom of Zone 2.

 

3. Zone 2 Easy Endurance (spin-outs)

Purpose

Improve your leg speed/ability to spin at a high cadence

Spin-outs

Ride for 1-2h in low Z2. Every 5’, reduce the resistance to the minimum and accelerate your leg speed to the highest possible cadence for 10”-15” (max). Power and HR will inevitably spike, but aim to keep the resistance and therefore your power as low as possible.
To prevent bouncing, focus on pushing over the top of the pedal stroke. With practice you should be able to hit 160-180rpm for 10”.

 

4. Zone 2 Endurance (long)

Purpose

Build your aerobic engine

Simulated climb on the col du Petit Saint Bernard

Ride for 2h+ in upper Zone 2

Duration is important, but so too is good technique. If you do more than 2h, take a 15’ break every 90’ or so to relieve your butt and simulate the descent between climbs.
Use a VR app to simulate a climb. If you have a smart trainer it will vary the resistance with the slope: adjust your gears appropriately to maintain your power in Z2.
If your turbo is old-school you can either adjust the resistance yourself or play with the cadence.
Watch your heart rate and power carefully to stay in a narrow range in upper Zone 2.

 

5. Zone 2 Endurance (speed drills)

Purpose

Improve your leg speed/ability to spin at a high cadence

Speed drills: high cadence, low power

N.B. The notation “C100” means cadence 100rpm.
Ramp up the cadence as follows: 5’ C100, 4’ C105, 3’ C110, 2’ C115, 1’ C120. Repeat three times, with 2’30” rest between blocks.
Total time 50’ + warm-up/cool-down.
It is important (1) to keep the resistance and power low and (2) not to bounce. To prevent bouncing, focus on pushing over the top of the pedal stroke. With practice you should be able to spin at 140rpm for one minute and hit 170-180 in short bursts.
If you are new to speed drills, you may need to start at 90 or 95 rpm rather than 100rpm.

 

6. Zone 3 Tempo (20 min, low cadence)

Purpose

Simulate long, steep climbs. Develop strength endurance (the ability to apply high torque to the pedals for a long time).

Leg strength grind

Do two to three blocks of 20’ at 50rpm in mid Z3, with 5’ easy spinning between efforts.
It is important to focus on the pedal stroke, keeping it as fluid and circular as possible. If your set-up allows, monitor the Torque Efficiency value and aim at 95-100%.
Pay attention to your position on the bike: hands resting on the bars, no stress in the upper body.
Total time 70’ + warm-up/cool-down (if 3 blocks)
N.B. Not strictly polarised (because in Z3) this nevertheless qualifies as an HIT session if preparing for long mountainous sportives.

 

7. Zone 4 Threshold (15 min)

Purpose

Simulate short, steep climbs.
Develop strength endurance.
Develop lactate and pain tolerance.

Threshold efforts

Do three to five blocks of 15’ at 60rpm at threshold (CP or FTP), with 5’ easy spinning between efforts.
Keep your pedal stroke as fluid and circular as possible. If your set-up allows, monitor the Torque Efficiency value and aim at 95-100%.
Pay attention to your position on the bike: hands resting on the bars, no stress in the upper body.
Total time 95’ + warm-up/cool-down (if 5 blocks)
NB Five blocks of 15’ at threshold is extremely tough. Don’t expect to complete five blocks at your first attempt!

 

8. Zone 5 VO2max (8 min)

Purpose

Simulate short, steep climbs.
Develop lactate and pain tolerance.

Above-threshold efforts

Do three to five blocks of 8’, with 3’ easy spinning between efforts. The goal is to keep the power steady through each effort and as close to maximum for the 8’ as possible. The result is likely to be around 110% of your threshold (CP or FTP).
Keep your pedal stroke as fluid and circular as possible. If your set-up allows, monitor the Torque Efficiency value and aim at 95-100%.
Pay attention to your position on the bike: hands resting on the bars, no stress in the upper body.
Total time 52’ + warm-up/cool-down (if 5 blocks)

 

9. Zone 5 VO2max (4 min)

Purpose

Simulate break-away or gap-closing efforts.
Develop maximal aerobic power.
Develop lactate and pain tolerance.

VOmax intervals

Do three to five blocks of 4’ efforts, with 2-5’ easy spinning between efforts. The goal is to keep the power steady through each effort and as close to maximum for the 4’ as possible. The result is likely to be a little below your MAP (maximal aerobic power) and around 120% of your threshold (CP or FTP).
Keep your pedal stroke as fluid and circular as possible. If your set-up allows, monitor the Torque Efficiency value and aim at 95-100%.
Pay attention to your position on the bike: hands resting on the bars, no stress in the upper body.
Total time 40’ + warm-up/cool-down (if 5 blocks)

 

10. Zone 6 Anaerobic (30/15)

Purpose

Simulate repeated, short near-maximal efforts.
Develop anaerobic power.
Develop pain tolerance.

Anaerobic intervals

Do 3 blocks of 13 x 30”/15” efforts. Do each 30s burst as hard as possible, followed by 15s rest.
The exercise will accumulate 19’30” of effort in Z6 measured by power, and approximately 25’ of effort in Z4 measured by heart rate.
Total time 50’ + warm-up/cool-down (if 3 blocks)
(Source: Dr. Stephen Seiler)

 

Going Further

For a discussion of how to integrate these turbo sessions into your preparation for your event, read Training During a Lockdown

For more on how to do long endurance sssions on a turbo, read How to Stay Sane During Long Low Intensity Rides on a Turbo

 

Coaching Support from Alpine Cols

It is definitely possible to prepare a sportive on a turbo, but it means adapting your training and doing it right. If you’d like a professional cycling coach to help you through the process with a fully individual training plan and regular feedback, drop us a line or give us a call, and let’s have a chat.

 

 

Comments

Leave a Reply

avatar
  Subscribe  
Notify of