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Ok triathletes and cyclists, here is a transition period workout that is sure to get the quads burning, the heart racing and the fun level ramped up. During the transition period we want to do our best to maintain that killer FTP we worked all last winter, then throughout the season, to attain. No sense sitting around until January 1, letting all that fitness slowly fade. You can keep it, or at least, most of it. You will start back with your more focused training on January 1 knowing you are not climbing yourself out of a hole you dug yourself into by sitting around over the holidays eating too much and training too little. So here is a workout you should be doing weekly, or at least once every 10 days. It’s called The FTP Test Without the Mess…the mess being the gallons of sweat and spent quads.
After a 15-20 minute warm-up, load the ten mile flat course onto your computrainer. For power-tap/quaraq users, make sure your computer fields are set to time and avg watts. Start the race, your goal is to hold FTP minus 5 watts for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, ease up and spin for 20-25”, then stop the race, reload the course, and start a new race [this process involves hitting 3 buttons and takes 5”] For trainer users, just spin easy for 30” then hit lap.
Repeat this process for 3 intervals, then on intervals 4 and 5, bump avg watts to your FTP. For reference sake, use the FTP you had established/were training at, near the end of race season. After intervals 4 and 5, finish with 3 more intervals [6, 7 and 8] at 5 watts above your FTP.
Cool down for 5’. The main set of the workout will take 24’ to complete, with 20’ of the workout at your late season FTP. However, instead of riding as you would in the FTP test, 20’ all out, you ride slightly below, at, then slightly above in 2 minute increments separated by a brief 30” break. This serves two purposes: 1. It allows the athlete to accumulate time pushing some high end wattages w/o the undo fatigue that would come knowing the athlete has been out of training for sometime. 2. You continue to hold or maintain fitness so that when your next base/build session returns near the beginning of the year, your legs and lungs will not suffer from watt shock!
The other important point to note is that these intervals should be done at an avg cadence of 100>105. This serves to liven the workout AND, the higher cadence helps to elevate the heart rate. For computrainer users, this workout is great for perfecting your pedal stroke. You can monitor your spin scan graph and number values during the 2’ interval and see how subtle changes to the pedal stroke equate to improvements in pedal efficiency. This is much easier to focus on over 2’ vs the longer intervals of 15-30’ where your primary goal is to get through the interval without quitting due to fatigue/pain threshold and other variables.