By Rick Schultz, MBA, DBA
Now that the racing season is over in SoCal, it’s time to reflect on which workouts worked and which didn’t.
The workout described below has been my overall favorite this year, as well as the workout that gave me the most gains for strength (power) and VO2 max. And believe it or not, the total workout including warmup and cool down is only 51 minutes.
Right now, most SoCal Masters’ Racers are just concluding their “official” race mesocycle (mesocycle means a specific block of training that is designed to accomplish a particular goal). But since the weather here is still warm and there is still plenty of light, most extend the race mesocycle for as long as they can. Hard Tu/Wed/Th club and team training rides as well as a hard Saturday ride are currently on the menu, as these rides take the place of races, for training purposes.
But, that’s for another article. For this article, I want to discuss the best XHIIHRT (Extra High Intensity Interval Hill Repeat Training) that I have experienced.
Prep: For this training session find a hill or series of hills that are around 8-11% grade and at least 1-minute duration under full-power, from bottom to top. Make sure to warm up for at least 20 minutes.
Next, shift into a gear you can push on this hill at around 85 rpm. All intervals in this workout will be standing on the pedals and hands in the drops. Try and hold 160-170% FTP for the entire minute. Rest completely for 1 minute by rolling back down the hill and getting ready for next repetition. Repeat for six to eight times.
For this workout, eight sets should be your maximum. But what if you can’t do eight the first time you try? How do you know when you are done with this (or any) interval session? There is actually a formula to tell you the optimal number of intervals before you quit, but it is too much to describe here. If you have a copy of Hunter Allen and Andrew Coggan’s Training and Racing with a Power Meter book, look at table 5.1 on page 74 for a more detailed approach than “I’ve had enough!”
Try this workout once per week for four weeks by replacing one of your regular workouts and you will get unbelievable gains.
Note: Before it gets too late in the season, it’s now time to consider discussing your 2019 annual training plan (ATP) with your coach. This is a free Webinar offered by Training Peaks that discusses the ATP and periodization.
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Coach Rick Schultz is an avid cyclist who trains, races and coaches in Southern California. Rick is an engineer by trade, and in addition to being a coach, he's a bike fitter and prolific product reviewer. He's the author of Stretching & Core Strengthening for the Cyclist and Bike Fit 101: Your Toolset for a Great Bike Fit in the RBR eBookstore. Check his product reviews website, www.biketestreviews.com, and his coaching site, www.bikefitnesscoaching.com. Click to read Rick's full bio.