Sub-1hr bike session: Leg overloader

Our turbo workout for advanced-level athletes will help you develop your strength and lactate tolerance


Developing strength and lactate tolerance is relevant for all distances, says Joe Beer, who here provides the ideal 1hr spring session…


This is going to overload your legs, so do it the day before a swim, <1.5hr Z1 bike or a <1hr run on soft surfaces. Do no other hard leg work the same day. The day before – an endurance swim.

For this session you’ll need: a bike or turbo, sports drink and a heart rate monitor.

Leg overloader


8mins relaxed, steady effort; 5mins build, up to threshold for final minute.

Main session

20mins of over-geared efforts (OGE) as: 4mins aero at 55-60rpm or biggest gear not above threshold (86-88% HRmax or 80% peak power); 2mins recovery on small chainring.

Repeat with 6mins effort, 2mins recovery; 4mins effort, 2mins recovery.

Followed by 22mins of high-intensity intervals (HIT) as: 4 x 4mins aero at 85-90rpm (88% HRmax or 80% peak power), strict 2mins recovery between.


5mins v light spin, small chainring.

Performance benefits

This session produces high-load, strength signals to the muscles through OGEs before adding short, high-intensity intervals to stimulate lactate tolerance and peak power capacity.

Mental benefits

With less than 30mins of actual hard work, this session is very much quality over quantity, and helps stimulate positive adaptation. After this over-capacity workout, mentally you will be able to deal with race pace.

Physiological benefits

OGE intervals are very effective at teaching the leg muscle fibres to become fatigue-resistant. Add high-lactate effort and you give the legs a metabolic workout that adds top-end tolerance.

It may never be used in a race, but you will race more efficiently.

Adapt for Ironman

Increase OGE to 4 x 8mins and increase HIT to 6 x 4mins. This is a very hard session, so ease up on both days either side.

(Images: Jonny Gawler)


For lots more bike advice and workouts head to our Training section