TrainSharp coach Phil Jarvis outlines a 60-minute confidence-building bike session to help beginners judge race pace.
This will probably be one of your tougher sessions, so make sure you’re fresh for it by including it after an easy riding, running or swimming day.
For this session you’ll need: bike, bike shoes, helmet, and clothing layers to shed as you warm up.
RPE = rate of perceived exertion, a measure of exercise intensity where 1 is easy and 20 is extremely hard.
15mins easy spin increasing cadence.
2 x [12mins @RPE of between 13-15 (somewhat hard-hard) with 10mins easy recovery (RPE 9-11, very light-fairly light) between].
11mins easy spin.
Adapt for Ironman
To up the endurance gains, this session would be used as a base, but with 4 x 3mins efforts at RPE 16-17 added on to the end. Every second week you could progress the main interval sets to 2 x 15mins (RPE 13-15), then 2 x 18mins (RPE 13-15), up to 2 x 20mins.
For beginners there’s often a tendency, fresh out of your first swim, to put the hammer down on the bike in the first few miles.
This session will enable you to start accurately judging an effort at or just below your sweet spot (RPE 13-15) – essential with super-sprint and sprint-distance racing, when over-ambitious riding can put your heart rate through the roof, meaning a struggle on the run later in the race.
This session will make you think about using your breathing to control effort and about power being applied to the pedals. It also makes you focus on maintaining power and form, especially towards the end of the final 12-minute effort.
You’ll increase your body’s ability to dissipate lactate, meaning it can work at a higher intensity for longer. The session also effectively enhances your breathing control, aiding the smoother intake of oxygen.
(Image: Jonny Gawler)
For lots more bike sessions head to our Training section