redlineAim of Session

A session to work on your lactate clearance mechanisms.

Session description

WARM UP: At least 10 minutes of zone 2, not included in session duration

MAIN SET: Using 25 mile race power (or FTP) as the average, work 10W below, 10W above. Block durations, and session duration will be specified in 'Coach comments'

COOL DOWN: add 10 mins of spinning onto session duration if required, not included in session duration


A classic session for improving your Maximal Lactate Steady State (MLSS) by stressing your body's lactate clearance systems. The blocks above MLSS will increase your blood lactate above the level you can currently cope with. Think back to the bath tub analogy explained in the factsheet entitled 'Training in Zone 4' and in the Sweetspot Bursts session. The blocks below MLSS will allow you to clear this extra lactate, in time increasing the size of your plughole and increasing the sustainability of the higher workload.

Application for the Rider

The redline session is normally given to an athlete to help lift their sustainble race pace (~25 mile TT pace). A typical progression may see you start with 1 minute alternations moving to 3 minutes across the training block; in addition, we might move from 27 minute session time (or maybe split across 2 x 15 minute blocks) building the length of the session up to 51 minutes.

Practicalities and tips!

  • This is a great session to use in your specific preparation for time trials.The redline session is a structured way of replicating the demands of a rolling time trial course (very few are totally flat) that may require you to work at varying intensities around your 'average' power according to road gradient, wind etc. In this case it is important to make sure you perform the session in your time trial position.
  • This is one of the hardest sessions you can do on a bike, so be prepared!
  • Some athletes find it easier to deal with mentally if they perform this session within a race environment - that is fine, but keep the session target in mind and don't start to race your minute man!

Evaluation of the session

  • Did you hit the overall session duration? And was the average power in line with your target?
  • Split the session down into the alternating blocks - were each of these on target?
  • What was harder, the 'on' or the 'off' block? Many athletes find the 'recovery' time harder - this is the lactic acid moving from the site of production into the blood.
  • Was your HR getting chance to recover, or is there a more 'flatline' response (indicating constant stress)?
  • Were you able to keep cadence similar in the 'on' and 'off' blocks?
  • What would be the ideal next progression for you to increase the stress? Or, do you need to alter the session to hit the average power / duration of the session? (e.g. change alternating blocks duration; or even the powers used above / below MLSS)
More in this category: « Hour of power