Bike session: How to build race-day strength

Maximise your training time this winter and work on that all-important race strength for the season ahead

Credit: Remy Whiting

The winter is a great time to make improvements to our performance, and for this session we’re doing 3 x 20mins at a moderate pace and with a range of cadences.


Working at 80-90% of your functional capacity is a great way to maximise your training time and work on your strength. I’d do a six-week block leading into the season. And if you’re riding with a power meter it’s a great way to monitor your power-to-heart rate ratio to gauge your fitness. I like to use these type of workouts a lot in my athletes’ workouts and believe they’re the back bone of any structured training programme.

With all training we’re not just looking at one awesome session that will bring those A-race performances, rather it’s about adding consistency and structure into your schedule. Perform this session outside ideally, but the turbo is fine.
And hold a position that provides the best power transfer.


10mins easy

Cadence to suit


3 x 20mins moderate as:

0-5mins @80-90rpm

5-10mins @70-80rpm

10-15mins @60-70rpm

15-20mins @90-100rpm

5mins easy recovery between each


10mins high cadence

Adapt for beginners

Break the 20mins into 10min sections to start with and keep the 5mins recovery. Then over the coming weeks, add 2-3mins onto each block until you’re able to sustain the full 20mins.

Adapt for Ironman


Each week, reduce the recovery time by 1min on each 5min recovery until you bring the full 20mins up to 1hr.