[The Flagellation Files is a regular feature on GamJams, with each installment providing a new workout designed to wear you down en route to building you up. Leave any questions in the comments and the coach who designed the workout will answer them there.]
- by Adam Switters
We all love to race our bikes. I know we all love to ride our bikes, but we wouldn’t be surfing around a website like GamJams unless we truly loved racing our bikes (or reading about other people racing theirs). The best way to prepare for a race is often to simulate race efforts in a workout. If you spend all of your time at threshold, the first time you go anaerobic during race will knock you off your feet. That’s where the “break” workout comes into play.
Short for breakaway, the “break” workout simulates the actions of an aggressive race. In short, you’ll be simulating the effort it take to establish a break, the sustained power to keep a break rolling, and the leg searing effort it takes to sprint to the finish. In essence, you will be teaching your body how to recover from an highly anaerobic effort in order to go switch into threshold mode, followed by a final lactic acid building final effort. After a few weeks of this workout, your body will better adapted at recovering from anaerobic efforts without having to go into full shut-down, recovery mode.
Like any highly intense workout, you’ll want to make sure you got a solid 20-30min warm-up with one 5 min threshold effort to get the blood really flowing. Start the “break” intervals at a nice rolling speed, like you are sitting in the middle of a pack of riders. From there:
- 30 sec hard sprint
- 5min at your 30min FTP (30min TT power)
- 15sec hard sprint
Depending on if you use a HR monitor, standard recovery is easy spinning till HR reaches 10% below your Zone 1 HR. Start by doing 2 intervals in a workout and move you way up to 3. If you find that this is too hard, or too easy (are you crazy!!!), you can use your 60min FTP and 20min FTP for the middle section.
It is not a super long workout, but a rather intense one. Although it seems like a threshold workout, it's not really since you are anaerobic before you hit the threshold stage. So, while your power may be at threshold for the middle part of the interval, the first few minutes your body is still in the anaerobic state. Once your body gets settled and your workload becomes aerobic, you immediately become anaerobic again.
Hopefully next time you race, that breakaway effort won’t kill you for the rest of the race, or you’ll be better prepared to win if that groups stays away to the line.
Adam Switters is a former professional cyclist and currently races for the XO Communications/Battley Harley Cycling Team. He is a USA Cycling Certified Coach and is always interested in helping out cyclists. You can check him out at his website www.SwittersCoaching.com. Feel free to comment if you have any ideas for workout or questions.