A major part of being able to do well at bike racing comes from your ability to suffer and ride at the top end of the performance spectrum. To do this, all coaches will tell you intervals, intervals, intervals. Short intervals, long intervals, climbing intervals, pyramids etc etc the list of interval combinations is endless and if done well they are sure to raise your performance. The problem is (virtually) everyone hates doing intervals.
I’m no different, just because I preach intervals to raise performance doesn’t mean I like doing them either. Sure, I’ve got on the indoor trainer and suffered as much as the next rider but I constantly struggle to force myself to climb on that trainer when I’ve already ridden to and from work that day.
So here’s what I recommend you do to try and get some of the benefits of interval training without actually doing a structured trainer workout:
- Sprint away from the lights, stop signs and evrything else that causes you to slow down. Why pull away slowly when you can gun it and get some interval benefit? There are certainly plenty enough reasons to stop around where we live in Pasadena so you’ll soon notice the benefits if you adopt this approach. This won’t win you any friends on the group ride though so better to do this when you are riding by yourself.
- Sprint up small hills. Make sure your ride takes in a few shorter hills and ride as hard as you can up them.
- Ride as hard as you can on those nagging little rises. You know the ones I mean, the 1-3% grades that go on for half a mile or so. Put it in the big ring, sit back in the saddle, get on the drops and blast it.
- Race to city limit signs. You can even combine this into a group ride, just shout “sprint for the sign!” and go.
While not as good as a structured interval workout, if done well these little cheats can have you raising your game. Just remember to stay safe and don’t embark on any form of high intensity exercise without clearing it with your doctor first.