Tempo finale

tempo-finaleAim of Session

Introducing a higher intensity at the end of a longer base ride to provide a larger training stress and improve lactate clearance 

Session description

WARM UP: Start session as a  zone 2 ride

MAIN SET: End of session sees you taking it up to mid or upper zone 3

COOL DOWN: Have 10 mins or so easy as a cool down


Ending a base ride with a period of zone 3 will ask the body to increase its rates of carbohydrate usage having already been stressed by the prior exercise load. Zone 2 work will have relied on fat stores, but zone 3 will now switch to predominant use of carbohydrate as we move above the lactate threshold (LT) intensity. The increase above LT will also recruit more fast twitch fibres so more of the muscle bed will be used.

Application for the Rider

Zone 3 is a potent stimulus for improving endurance ability, but its introduction must be considered carefully and incrementally. Using 'tempo blocks' and this tempo finale session is a good way to do this - especially for the rider in the early stages of their athletic career. Ending a longer ride with zone 3 is also a good way at applying extra stress to the system.

Practicalities and tips!

  • If the rising power target feels too much at first, try dropping into a smaller gear and get the heart rate into zone 3 for the first few session attempts
  • Dont forget raising the power, will increase carbohydrate needs appreciably - fuel well in the first part of the ride!

Evaluation of the session

  • Did you hit the target in the finale block?
  • Did the power target allow a mid zone 3 heart rate to come back in return?
  • How did the first and final blocks compare?
  • Did you feel recovered and fresh before each block, or was there a carry over of fatigue from each block?
  • If you felt on top of the ride, consider the progression from session to session - does the rate of stress increase need to be adapted?
More in this category: « Tempo bursts Tempo sandwich »