Ride Stronger: VO2 Max Repeatability Workouts

20090906000556_bicycle-racerAmong the many weapons in the armament of the cyclist who wants to ride stronger, one of the least practiced and most important is VO2 max repeatability.  The ability to accelerate and push your body to the limits, recover at threshold and repeat that process over and over is one of the most versatile and important skills for a cyclist to possess.  It’s also the one that’s almost always lacking in the cyclists that I consult with or coach, and it’s one I drill home in my training plans.

The real question most people follow up with is “why?”

Before I answer, first let’s delve into VO2 max a little bit.  For our purposes, a VO2 max level effort (or a Zone 5/Z5 effort) is a suprathreshold effort that is sustainable for around 3-8 minutes (depending on the intensity of the effort.)  It is a mixture of aerobic and anaerobic energy production and is most often used in pursuits, attacks, bridging small gaps and short climbs.  By the numbers, it’s an 8 to an 8.5/10 on an RPE scale, 105%-120% of Functional Threshold Power and >105% Lactate Threshold Heart Rate.

After the jump, I’ll give you some more detailed information and a couple workouts to help you build your Zone 5 Repeatability (Z5R) ability.

Continue reading “Ride Stronger: VO2 Max Repeatability Workouts” »

By |June 1st, 2015|climbing, Coaching, Training|Comments Off on Ride Stronger: VO2 Max Repeatability Workouts

Coaching: Rolling A Climb

Rolling hillsMost people think a climb is over when you crest the top.  That’s just not true.  In fact, the top of any climb is just the beginning of something else.  And that something else can be one of the greatest tricks in your arsenal.

To put in perspective how you can add a powerful weapon to your climbing quiver, let me ask you a question: How many times have you seen someone crest a climb, only to drop their head and soft pedal (or worse, coast) over the crest?

Let me ask you another question: How many times have you seen determined chaser manage to close a big gap by driving through the crest of that climb?

I know I’ve seen it all the way from the Pro Tour ranks down through the smallest group rides.  And I know that the guys riding out the crest of the climb are getting a lot of extra speed that the soft pedalers are missing out on.  I’ll also tell you something: the physiological cost of that speed is really, REALLY small.

Read more about getting bonus speed in the hills after the break:

Continue reading “Coaching: Rolling A Climb” »

By |March 16th, 2015|climbing, Coaching, Indoor Training, Training|0 Comments

FREE High Intensity Trainer Workout: The Berg Buster Climbing Workout

koppenberg-defeats-usShort, sharp and steep climbs are a tough thing for many people to conquer.  I see people have trouble with them all the time.  When a group ride or race hits a small “wall” there’s always a contingent of riders who get spit out the back, then have to chase back on, which is no fun at all.  To help you become a stronger climber, I built a workout based on the small “bergs” featured during the spring classics, which are the most brutal of races.  Designed to build power for short climbs, this FREE workout will train the necessary physiology and techniques to go from last to fast on those little kickers!

To get the free “Berg Buster” workout, all I ask is that you like or share this workout with your friends, and challenge them to become a berg buster!

After the jump, you can pick up this free workout:

Continue reading “FREE High Intensity Trainer Workout: The Berg Buster Climbing Workout” »

By |February 14th, 2015|climbing, coupon, HIT Workouts, Indoor Training, Training|0 Comments

Climb Like A Pro – Part 3 (Podcast #23)

Climbing up Tower HillClimbing is often the albatross that follows us around on our two wheeled adventures. Long climbs.  Short power climbs.  Varying pitch.  Everyone has a weakness when it comes to climbing.  I’ve spent the past two episodes of the Tailwind Coaching Podcast defining what “makes” a climber and the importance of leg speed skills in your climbing, hoping to give you the confidence to go out and hit the hills like a pro.  This time, I’m going to put the last pieces of the puzzle in place.  You’ll hear about breathing and rhythm, reading the road, breaking a climb into parts, and finally the discussion will turn to how to tackle a variety of climbs that you may encounter, including:

  • Short “roller” type climbs
  • Short “power” climbs
  • Mid length climbs
  • Long “grinding” climbs
  • The ultra steep, long climbs

As I promise in this podcast, I’m including a couple of links to previous posts that I’ve published:

Breathing (part 1) – Physiology

Breathing (part 2) – Putting Skills into Practice

Reading the Road

As always, if you’re on iTunes, please leave a rating: it helps the show move up the rankings and allows me to bring this information to more and more people.  And if you have any questions, feel free to contact me with questions.

By |August 14th, 2013|climbing, Coaching, podcast, technique, Training|0 Comments

Climb Like A Pro – Part 2 (Podcast #22)

Climbing in CooperstownIn the last podcast, Climb Like A Pro – Part 1, I covered some of the basics of climbing physiology and what makes a good climber.  In part two, it’s time to tackle some of the more technical aspects of your bike and your technique: namely gearing and leg speed.  Along with fitness, perhaps the most important choice you can make in terms of climbing strongly is your gearing choice.  Are you on a standard when you should be on a compact? Do you use an 11-23 tooth cassette when a 12-27 is more appropriate?  And how does your leg speed, or ability to control that leg speed, factor into those decisions?  I’ll cover the following in part 2 of the “Climb Like a Pro” series:

  • Proper crankset gearing
  • Proper cassette gearing
  • The importance of leg speed while climbing
  • Leg speed out of the saddle and efficiency
  • “Flattening” the terrain

As noted in this podcast, here are links to some in depth information on choosing proper gearing:

Choosing Crankset Gearing

Choosing Cassette Gearing

Be More Efficient: Pedaling Efficiency

As always, take a moment to rate the Tailwind Coaching podcast on iTunes and help me reach more and more people.  And if you have any questions, you can either email me or post them to the Tailwind Coaching Facebook Page.

I’ll see you next time: I’m going out for a climb or two…

By |August 4th, 2013|climbing, Coaching, podcast, technique, Training|0 Comments