Sub-1hr bike workout: Into the red

This tough turbo workout for advanced athletes will test all aspects of your cycling fitness


Have your turbo set up and ready to go, or your route planned if you’re heading outdoors, and, as there’s quite a bit to remember, a cue card to stick to your stem is handy too.


For this session you’ll need: your bike, a turbo or a quiet loop of uninterrupted road with a 10min climb (and possibly a bucket).

Into the red


10mins building progressively through Z1 and Z2.

Main session

– 5mins @Z3, 3mins @Z4, 2mins @ Z5, 2mins rest

– 8mins swap between 1min @low Z4 and 1min @mid Z5, 2mins rest

– 8mins: climbing, swap between 1min standing and 1min seated @Z4, 2mins rest

– 4mins big gear/low cadence riding @60rpm building through Z5, sprint for the last minute, 2mins rest

– 8 x 20sec max efforts with 10secs rest.


5mins easy spinning.

Performance benefits

It’s too easy for triathletes to become single-paced and robotic on the bike. This can lead to training plateaus and an inability to respond to racing situations.

Occasionally, a workout that mixes in some top-end blasts can give you an edge on race day.

Mental benefits

It’s all about variety. You can only do so many 2 x 20min sessions before you start to get bored and lose motivation.

Time flies on varied session like this, though – maybe a bit too fast on those final 10sec recoveries!

Physiological benefits

You’ll be hitting a full range of energy systems, working on your strength and power, and going deep into the red with the final intervals. This session is a great functional threshold boost.

Adapt for Ironman

Sandwich it between two hours of steady riding for a brutally tough three-hour ride.

(Images: Jonny Gawler)


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