- by Coach Roger Rilling
Last time we spoke about training combos we discussed the moderately difficult, endurance combo. This month it is time to turn the heat up a bit with an example of a race combo. The layout of a race combo can be modified depending on your fitness and the type of race you are getting ready for, for this example we will assume the rider is a fit cat 2 getting ready for a 3.5 hour road race.
The duration of the race combo should roughly be equal to 70% of race time. Unlike with the endurance combo, a race combo’s goal is to work on top end speed and low recovery periods. Please go into this type of workout with a good amount of fitness otherwise you will have a very hard time completing the workout as planned. A good way to approach this type of workout for the first time is to simply limit your reps to 1 or 2 during the alternating periods. Once you have the feel for doing the workout with low reps you can adjust your sets and the duration of your reps according to your performance.
You want to go into this workout with topped off energy sources. I would highly recommend eating your pre-race meal before this workout (this will also allow you to make any needed changes to your pre-race meal if needed). Once your body is well energized and you have some energy food for the road, you are ready to tackle the race combo, here we go!
On a flat to slightly rolling course start to warm-up in your small chain ring at 90+ rpm’s. Try to do your warm up on a course that has minimal stops, this will allow you to get in a smoother warm-up without having to accelerate from stop to stop. Your effort level should be 75% of max or less. Unlike the endurance combo, the race combo’s base phase is not done at warm-up intensity. Once your warm-up is done your effort level should be at or above 78% until the cool-down, therefore, make sure to get a good warm-up in.
For this workout the tempo and spike phase will be combined together without a rest period between them. The seamless alternating between spike and tempo will help your body adapt to the hard pace changes common in races. To add to the race nature of this workout, the alternating comes directly after your warm-up, keeping some of the most intense efforts early, just like in a race.
Start with a 2 minute spike reaching 90-94% max effort by the end of the 2 minutes. Instead of resting, you will now back off slightly to an effort of 80-85%, keep this pace for 6 minutes. At this point you have completed 1 set, if you feel strong repeat as needed, I would suggest 4 sets for a Cat 1-2.
The base for this workout is higher than in other training combos, therefore, when you have completed your final alternating effort, transition into a 30 minute base effort at 78-85% max. You can adjust the duration of the base phase depending on your goals and fitness.
Alternating Spike/Tempo 2
Just like in most races, the hardest parts of this workout come at the start and at the end. This set is the same as the first one. This is a good place to cut down on intensity if needed, for example you can do 4 sets on the first alternating phase and then do 2 sets on the second. Think about the type of race you are getting ready for or even how the race has unfolded in the past, adjust accordingly.
Now that you have made it through the hard stuff it is time to think about recovery. Shift down into your small ring and try to maintain 92+ rpm’s. The higher rpm’s will help flush your legs out and speed up your recovery. Continue to cool down until your body starts to feel relaxed. Make sure to get a good recovery drink in as soon as you are done with your workout.
Roger Rilling is a former professional road and track cyclist with over 10 years of coaching experience. Stoller, founded by Roger in 2004, is a coaching and training club that focuses on giving athletes of all abilities the experience of being a pro. Training at Stoller is based off of personalized training plans, partnered with supported group training events. To find out more about Stoller, please visit www.mystoller.com or call 888.407.0754
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