Training for threshold isn’t as scary as it sounds. I promise. It involves some big efforts, but the good news is that it’s also really time effective, so with some concentrated sessions you’ll quickly notice big gains. And if you combine it with some Tempo workouts, which we’ve already covered, you’ll be crushing those climbs in no time.
The methods we’re covering here – and that we’re using to get our own Jim Merithew fighting fit – are tried and tested. Stick to them and you’ll be a better cyclist. But before we get into the heavy stuff, I also have a few simpler, more general tips that I want to share. These are things that you can easily work into your daily life to make those marginal gains.
General training tips
We all have jobs… well most of us do. We often need to travel to those jobs and that means we can squeeze in bonus bike time. Commuting is a great way to supplement your training and can be doubly effective as it makes you do a double day. Going to and from the office you can do a workout and also get in some steady miles to help maintain base fitness. Do all of the structured work in one block — as in, all in the morning or all in the evening — and then reserve the other to or fro portion of the day as pure endurance.
My other tip might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised – shocked, even – at the number of people who don’t do it. Drink a lot of water. That’s it. Assuming it’s not freezing outside, drink a bottle per hour, more so if it’s stifling hot. When it comes to food, truth be told you don’t need eat on the ride unless you’re out there for at least two hours. If you’re in for a long day, eat something after one hour and on the hour to prevent a bonkage situation. Setting out, try to have eaten 90 minutes before your ride but not within that range, especially on the harder days … because you just might see breakfast a second time around.
I don’t want to keep banging the same drum, but consistency is key if you want to improve as a rider, so all of the training techniques we’ll be covering on this blog should be integrated into a regular regime.
The general assumption is that we’re adding intensity into your regime right along with increased fitness. So presumably there’s a foundation of base training, then periodic increased levels of intensity. You’re also welcome to cobble these types of training together into a woven week or multi-week block. Life and all the excitement that goes with it is all part of the game, so making training work for you is the true sign of success.
To build your threshold power, start with a good warm up. Get the blood flowing and work up a decent sweat. Once you’re ready, we’re aiming for four reps of six minutes. The goal is quickly hit and then maintain a high level of power which you’ll find to be easiest sustained on a consistent climb climb. Long story short, find yourself a road with a 6-8% gradient.
The first two minutes should feel okay. The next two will be slightly uncomfortable, while the final two you’ll be staring at your wondering why each second takes two. Patience young grasshopper. Try to keep your cadence at around 80-90rpm. Don’t forget that even though these are just six minute intervals, this is power you should theoretically maintain for 20-60 minutes. You’ll enjoy every moment of the five minutes of rest you can take between efforts with very easy spinning. Also, finish the ride with at least 10 minutes of conscious cool down.