Sub-1hr session: maximal madness

Bike intervals to push you to the edge

Maximal madness

Got 60mins to spare? This set of bike intervals will push you to the edge. Emma-Kate Lidbury brings the pain…


Equipment needed: bike, bike shoes, bike kit/clothing, helmet, glasses, energy drink, speedometer/bike computer/power meter. 

Timing: avoid doing this session close to a hard or long run. Try to schedule it on a day when you won’t be doing any other intense workouts. Prepare yourself for the fact your legs might be sore the following day. If they are, just swim, spin or do a recovery run.

Turning it on


10-15mins steady ride: build pace and include a few 20-30sec pick-ups, increasing to maximum effort so you’re thoroughly warmed up. 

Main session

30mins of 30secs ‘on’ 30secs ‘off’, with the ‘on’ efforts at max effort/pace and the ‘off’ as easy spins. 


10-15mins steady ride.

Main benefits

Performance benefits

This session is ideal for getting your body used to working at its maximum. You’ll notice the benefits translate to your aerobic and anaerobic bike fitness with improved ability to ride for extended periods at race pace. This should mean two things on race day: more efficient riding (making it easier to run off the bike) and faster bike splits.

Mental benefits

You’d never consider racing without physical training beforehand, so take the same approach to mental training. This session is a great way to get your mind working for you.

When you start to tire, practise your coping strategies (positive phrases, people or images) to help get you through. You’ll be glad of this come race day!

Physiological benefits

Although working at your maximum for 30secs might not seem like a long time at first, after 30mins you’ll really be feeling it. This session is a great way of getting used to working at/or around your anaerobic threshold. 

Trying to hold pace/power towards the latter stages of the 30min interval will help boost your top-end bike fitness, as well as your aerobic endurance, and should translate to greater overall bike-specific power and strength. Stay seated throughout and aim to hold the same pace/power on each maximum effort. 

Adapt for Ironman


Do this session in the latter stages of a longer ride so your legs are already moderately fatigued when it comes to increasing the pace. Alternatively, try a double ride day and do a longer ride in the morning then a shorter session like this one later in the day.