Race winning intervals

Race-winning-intervalsAim of Session

A series of initial explosive efforts, hitting sustainable power before ending hard!

Session description

WARM UP: Important to get ready for this one, so take 15 to 20 minutes getting to the upper levels of zone 3, not included in session duration

MAIN SET: Start each block by going all out for 30s, out of the saddle - approximately 200% of 25 mile power. Return to the saddle and hit 25 mile race power, hold for 3 minutes. Finish block with a 10s sprint for the line. Repeat block after a 5 minute recovery spin.

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


The initial acceleration will test your anaerobic capabilities, your ability to produce a rapid rate of energy turnover using high energy phosphates and anaerobic glycolysis. This first period will cause a build up of metabolites such as lactate, ammonia and hydrogen ions - the challenge is to clear or buffer these fatiguing by-products while still riding at the "Maximal Lactate Steady State" (MLSS) or second lactate threshold as it is more commonly known. In addition, there is a test of your neuromuscular capabilty (in particular, firing of nerves to initiate muscle fibre recruitment) and how successful you have been at coping with a high level of metabolic strain.  

Application for the Rider

A classic workout for riders preparing bunch racing either on the road or track. This session will sit in your final specific preparation before racing. Mountain bikers will especially appreciate this within their diet of training, given that race success often hinges on a fast start before hitting single tracks.

Practicalities and tips!

  • If you get a chance to pre-ride your target race course this is a great session to practise key sections at race pace. Try simulating an attack at different places on the course and maybe the finishing stretch to try and understand where your efforts will be best spent.
  • Alternatively do this session on a route you are familiar with - setting yourself an imaginary finish line gives you a great target, just as in a race you would be aiming for the line or the back of the breakaway group. 

Evaluation of the session

  • Break each interval down into sections - evaluate your initial jump, the section at 25 time trial pace and your final sprint.
  • Also compare across intervals - how much did your power outputs drop between each attempt (if at all). This can feed into your race strategy. If you know you fatigue rapidly after such efforts make sure you save them for the crucial moments - use your power when it counts.
More in this category: « Race simulation Redline pyramid »