It’s a fact of life for most of us that we can’t find as much time to ride as we want to. But that means that you need to be smart about the limited saddle time that you do get. Just going out and turning the pedals for a bit won’t do you much good.
Whether you’re into racing or not, here are some workouts to help you get the most out of shorter rides, whether it’s on a trainer or outside.
1. HIIT Sessions
High Intensity Interval Sessions are all the rage right now, and for good reason. You can get a serious work out in just 15 minutes that can give you some big fitness gains.
You can do these either outside or on the trainer. Start with a 5 minute warm up, then alternate 30 seconds intervals at 90% max effort with 1 minute recovery periods. Finish with a 3-5 minute cool down.
2. Climbing Repeats
These are best done on the trainer, but you can do them outside either by finding a familiar hill, or trying to ride into a headwind if you live in a flatter area.
Start with a 3 minute warm up, then alternate 2 minute intervals with 2 minute recovery periods. With each interval, you should move into a progressively harder gear, pedaling at a lower cadence. Alternate between sitting and standing to develop all those climbing muscles.
3. Slow and Steady
You’re remembering to push it hard, but are you remembering to go slowly, too? Recovery miles are just as important for improving fitness as intervals.
You can do this either outside or on the trainer. Start with a 3 minute warm up, then spin at a steady, easy pace for at least 20 minutes. You should be at no more than 60% of your max heart rate at any point. This may not feel like you’re accomplishing anything, but you’re keeping your muscles limber, and helping to flush lactic acid from the larger muscle groups. This aids in recovery, and helps keep you fresh for your next day of intervals. This is also a great time to work on cadence and pedaling form.