Act 3—VO2 Max
Once again, we will only be working on one thing this month and that is VO2 max. The cadence goes up this month so that your endurance riding is done at 100 rpm and your interval cadence builds from 100 up to 130 by the end.
I chose three minutes for these intervals because it seems to be the ideal amount of time to really dig into the chosen energy system but still maintain a very high power output. You could go as long as five minutes for these but the intensity would drop off slightly and we want every interval to be as perfect as possible.
You will want to start at 100 rpm on these and build to 130 for the last interval session of the phase. At first it will seem that you can get more speed and power with a lower cadence and that will be true because you have been training at lower cadences and that is what you are used to. However, for peak performance you will need to have very good leg speed and this is where it comes. So suck it up over the first few workouts and you will be surprised at how quickly the speed comes around.
For these find a flat or slightly uphill road with as few turns or obstacles as possible. You are going to be high into the red zone on these so you don't want to be thinking about anything but the interval. You really have to push it on these. I know I've done a good VO2 max interval when I have to clip out and put my foot down the moment it is over because I literally cannot take on more pedal stroke.
Phase Three Schedule
- Monday: off or easy (bottom of zone 1) recovery ride
- Tuesday: VO2 max; start with two and add one each session until you get to a max of six.
- Wednesday: VO2 max; even though these are high intensity, you can do them back to back because you are using a high cadence.
- Thursday: endurance
- Friday: recovery with 10 minutes of H.S.
- Saturday: endurance ride.
- Sunday: VO2 Max
I recommend reading this through a few times before you start. Even though it seems like I rushed through a few parts, all the information you need to complete this training plan can be found here. Once you finish that last recovery week I recommend another week or two of good hard rides that are specifically tailored to the kind of event you want to do. Don't worry about going into the event a little tired. If you've done the training right, your body will be ready to go after a couple hard days.
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Josh Horowitz is a USCF certified coach, owner and manager of the Wonderful Pistachios Pro Cycling team and an active Category 1 racer.
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