Question: I started doing the “Pedaling for Power” workout described in your eBook Basic Training for Roadies. I did the Drag Races (short, all-out efforts) and was able to maintain max output for about 25 seconds. I spun easily for the recommended five minutes, then went again. After five of these, I spun home. Total time, 55 minutes. Distance, 16 miles. How should I feel after this workout? — Andrew M.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: Interesting question. I don’t think it’s necessary that every workout makes you feel like you just returned from a polar expedition. Feeling fresh isn’t bad!
The workout you did is different from hard intervals. Drag Races are quick and intense, so you should feel like you would after a weight-training workout — invigorated and fresh.
Also, it’s hard for an endurance-trained rider to really go all out in a 25-second effort. Your muscles and nervous system aren’t accustomed to explosive efforts, so it’s nearly impossible to go truly hard. A sprinter, on the other hand, can focus his energy so he explodes for 25 seconds and is really spent afterwards.
Try increasing your reps by one or two and focusing on going as hard as possible in each effort. Soon you’ll see a difference in the power you generate and the fatigue you feel.
You should recover from this (or any other) workout in a reasonable time. If not, either the workout is too hard, your recovery period is too short, or you’re not eating enough carbohydrate to refuel your muscles.