Our Favorite Workouts: Strength and Quickness
Most of us naturally get super focused on the long stuff for our key races. It’s the meat of our training: the long swim, the long ride, the long run, the long brick. After all, we are doing long races. After that we usually focus on quality sets over and over again.
I recommend that you consider two additional key sessions within your week as the season builds on:
- A sport specific strength session
- A neuromuscular speed session
Both of these sessions prepare you for the work that needs to be done, but don’t leave you feeling tired or require a lot of recovery. These sessions are the work that keeps you from falling flat and getting slow from the big miles, and set you up for the quality training required to race.
Run Sport Specific Strength
- Instead of your usual run head out for a challenging hike with a weighted back pack on.
- Hill reps – These can vary in length depending on the athlete, from 45 second reps bounding uphill strong, up to 30 minute steady up a gradual climb.
Bike Sport Specific Strength
Every week, it’s good to go back to the good old big gear work. That can be on a flat road in your TT bars ,in your biggest gear, or up a climb pushing the biggest gear you can manage. If you are fortunate enough to live in an area with some good climbs, I also recommend you pick a challenging steep climb that takes about 90 minutes and just let the grade be the work.
For example, a couple weeks ago here in Boulder we headed up Magnolia road for “fun” — complete with pitches of 17% and an average grade of 11%.
Swim Sport Specific Strength
- Use swim cords to work your rotator cuff.
- Long sets of 3k and up using paddles, pull buoy and band.
Running Quickness Session
- Strides on a slight downhill – 15-30 seconds building to as quick as possible within control. This develops the coordination to run quickly.
- Treadmill – 1-2x (10 x 15-45 seconds fast / 15 seconds off, straddling the treadmill), 5 minutes easy between sets.
Bike Quickness Session
This session is done on a trainer or flat road, or is best done on rollers if you have the skill. Light gear, light tension, low heart rate, pedal efficiency, no bouncing on the saddle, smooth quick feet.
Warm up with 15 minutes easy then 4x (1 minute right leg only / 1 minute both legs / 1 minute left leg only)
- 2 minutes @ 95rpm / 1 minute easy
- 2 minutes @ 100 rpm / 1 minute easy
- 2 minutes @ 105 rpm / 1 minute easy
- 2 minutes @ 110 rpm / 1 minute easy
- Take 5 minutes easy, then repeat the main set
- Cool down to total 90 minutes ride time
Swim Quickness Session
Do fast 15-25m intervals with fins. Really get your stroke count up without the stress of sprinting. Do as many as your body will allow while keeping stroke rate high (typically between and five and 20 reps). Once you are no longer keeping the stroke rate high you should stop. Then do one 15m swim as fast as your arms can go, with the remainder of the 25-50m very easy (even roll over on your back to back stroke).
It’s easy to get caught up in drilling yourself into a flat hole as the season goes on with long training and quality sets. Give yourself breaks within the season and always go back to basics.