In the first and second time crunched athlete (TCA) articles, I spoke about what the TCA should focus on to maintain fitness (HINT: Intensity!) and what they can expect to achieve with a lack of training time availability (HINT: adapt!).  In this article, I want to provide some concrete examples of TCA workouts.

3 Main Types of Workout

I suggest the TCA focus on 3 flavors of workout: Threshold, muscular force, and fatigue resistance.

Threshold

Threshold can be defined literally a million different ways by a million different coaches.  To me, and for this article, Threshold is defined as 91-105% of your FTP (If you don’t know what your FTP is, go test it!).  Just like there are a myriad of definitions for Threshold, there are also many ways to improve it.  Since we are referring to the TCA, we are focused primarily on the most efficient way to do so.  I have found this to be a mixture of Sweet Spot and VO2 Max intervals.

Workout #1 Sweet Spot Intervals

This one is not too exciting, but you can get a decent amount of specific TSS, complete it in a short time, and repeat it multiple days a week.

WARM UP:
-10 minutes gradually progressing from Active Recovery zone to Endurance zone.
-3×30 seconds Spin Ups (110+ RPM) @Threshold zone+, 30 seconds easy.
-2 minutes easy
———
MAIN SET:
-3×10 minutes @SST Zone @90+ RPM.
-Rest for 5 minutes between sets.
———
COOL DOWN:
-5 minutes gradually reducing from Endurance zone to Active Recovery zone

Workout #1 VO2 + Sweet Spot

VO2 Max training is my favorite way to train being a TCA and I have seen great fitness improvements with dedicated and consistent time spent in this zone.  VO2 Max Zone is supra-Threshold, I know, but just like a high tide rises all ships, performing supra-Threshold work will pull your FTP to new heights.  This workout combines the benefits of both VO2 Max and Sweet Spot training, while also putting more metabolic stress on the body as the Sweet Spot interval comes at the end.  Win, Win for the TCA!

WARM UP:
-10 minutes gradually progressing from Active Recovery zone to Endurance zone.
-3×30 seconds Spin Ups (110+ RPM) @Threshold zone+, 30 seconds easy.
-2 minutes easy
———
MAIN SET
-5x 3 minutes @VO2 Max Zone @85-95 RPM.
-Rest for 3 minutes between sets.
-Then 10 minutes @SST.
———
COOL DOWN:
-10 minutes gradually reducing from Endurance zone to Active Recovery zone

Muscular Force

Muscular force is how much pressure you can apply to the pedals for short periods of time (less than 10 seconds).  So, think about that initial jump creating a breakaway, the final 200 meters of a sprint, or surging up a short and steep roller.  Muscular force is crucial to improve ligament, tendon, and bone density and allow the body to create more power.  Think of this type of workout as upgrading the hardware in your computer so you can run faster software.

Workout: May the Force be With You

WARM UP:
-10 minutes gradually progressing from Active Recovery zone to Endurance zone.
-3×30 seconds Spin Ups (110+ RPM) @Threshold zone+, 30 seconds easy.
-2 minutes easy
———
MAIN SET:
-Every 4 minutes perform a Force Rep (10 total)
-Force Rep = Get into your largest gear and come almost to a complete stop. Once you are almost at a full stop, grab onto the drops and JUMP as hard and fast as you can and spin the gear up. The effort should be only 10-12 seconds, but should be an ALL OUT effort!
-In between force reps, spin easy at endurance zone
———
COOL DOWN:
-10 minutes gradually reducing from Endurance zone to Active Recovery zone

Fatigue Resistance

Fatigue resistance is being able to finish a ride or race strong and is important to work on so you don’t crumble at the end of a race.  I like to do shorter and more intense intervals with short breaks between to improve this aspect.  Doing this will keep the heart rate and metabolic demands of the workout high, while the short and sharp intervals will stress the muscular system.  I.e. these should hurt so good!

Workout: The Baffling Beau

WARM UP:
-10 minutes gradually progressing from Active Recovery zone to Endurance zone.
-3×30 seconds Spin Ups (110+ RPM) @Threshold zone+, 30 seconds easy.
-2 minutes easy
———
MAIN SET:
–Set 1: 10x (40 seconds @Anaerobic @110+ RPM w/ 20 seconds rest.
-Endurance Zone for 5 minutes.
–Set 2: 10x (30 seconds @Anaerobic @110+ RPM w/ 30 seconds rest.
-Endurance Zone for 5 minutes.
–Set 3: 10x (20 seconds @FULL GAS @110+ RPM w/ 40 seconds rest.
———
COOL DOWN:
-5 minutes gradually reducing from Endurance zone to Active Recovery zone

Just because you are short on time doesn’t mean you have to be short on fitness gains!  The above 4 workouts are great examples for the TCA to follow and implement into their program.  If you are looking for a more structured approach, check out our Time Crunches Athlete Training Plan here, or get in touch with us!

 

About the Author Shayne Gaffney

Shayne holds a bachelors degree in biology, is a USA Cycling Level 2 Certified Coach, USA Olympic Committee Safe Sport Certified, and a Category 3 road and cyclocross racer. He is the owner of GC Coaching and the creator and director of P2 Cycling. He can be contacted directly via info@gaffneycyclingcoaching.com

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