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This week Julie Gieschen shares a favorite 60-minute workout that you should be able to squeeze in to your morning, lunch or evening routine. She’s been coaching endurance athletes for over three years with CTS and brings the experience of having run cross country and track in University. She began cross training for running on the bike, and the rest was history. She loves coaching cyclists, whether they are mountain biking, road racing, or pursuing epic bucket list events, and general riding goals. See what she has to say about SteadyState Intervals.
Why This Workout is Awesome:
SteadyState Intervals aren’t sexy, but you’d be hard pressed to find a workout that’s more effective for making you faster on the bike. I think of them as a cornerstone workout that all cyclists should rely on heavily. In fact, if there were one interval set to rule them all, it would probably be a 3x10minute SteadyState workout.
Power at lactate threshold is one of the most trainable aspects of endurance fitness. You can make huge gains in this performance marker, not only in absolute terms of how many watts you can produce at threshold, but also by how close you get your lactate threshold power to your power at VO2 max. More power at threshold an increase in you maximum sustainable intensity level, which translates to a higher sustainable pace on climbs and faster time trial segments on flat to rolling terrain. Improving power at threshold also means you’re comfortable “cruising” pace will get faster, or that it will take less effort for you to maintain your group’s cruising pace.
Increasing your power at lactate threshold as a percentage of your VO2 max power is a little different. In this case we’re talking about closing the gap between your sustainable intensity level and your maximum potential. The smaller that gap, or the higher your LT power as a percentage of VO2 power, the closer you are to realizing your full athletic potential. For instance, if your VO2 max power is 350 watts and your lactate threshold power is 275 watts, your LT is 79% of your VO2 power. One goal of training, then, can be to increase LT power to 80+% of VO2 power – even if VO2 max power rises as well.
The Purpose of SteadyState Intervals:
SteadyState Intervals are really effective for increasing power at lactate threshold because they are long, sustained intervals at or near your current lactate threshold power. And the most important component of a SteadyState workout is the total accumulated time at your SteadyState intensity. A 3x10minute interval set is 30 minutes at SS intensity. Incorporating two or even three SS workouts in a week can mean a cumulative 60-90 minutes at this important intensity. As a response, your body adapts to process lactate faster, allowing you to produce more power before reaching lactate threshold.
There isn’t a single cyclist who doesn’t benefit from SteadyState interval work. Not one.
Sometimes the reality of endurance training is that the most effective workouts aren’t the sexiest, but your reward for somewhat mundane interval sets is the power to reach the finish line first or set a new KOM/QOM on a Strava segment. And that’s sexy.
Get Going, Here’s the Workout:
60 Minutes Ride Time: 10 minute warmup, 3x10minute SteadyState Intervals with 5 minutes of easy spinning recovery between intervals. Cool Down for a minimum of 10 minutes.
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