The pros are a lot like the rest of us. They enjoy cafe rides and city sprints, eat pastries, and collapse on the couch after a long, hard day of cycling. But the biggest difference between us and the pros is that they ride a lot more than us. What is your weekly training volume? Now double it up, add a few more hours and at least 50 watts to every pedal stroke, and that’s what it takes to train like a pro. For some classic pilots and men of GC, we talk about more than 30 hours per week in the saddle.
A typical pro’s season would involve building a huge base during their winter, sprinkling the tempo and threshold intervals as the season approaches, and then jumping into the race as early as January. 2020 has been anything but typical – after more than two months of isolation, many cyclists are finally allowed to ride outdoors for the first time. Many still train indoors as this is the only form of group running or running that we might have for a while. Either way, our desire to be fitter and faster is innate, and high intensity intervals are the fastest way to get in shape.
To break up the monotony and challenge yourself with something other than an Everesting attempt, here are some favorite workouts from the world’s top pros:
Classic rider and overall fast man, Alexander Kristoff (UAE-Emirates), has some of the greatest power figures in professional cycling. His sprints end at over 1500w at the end of a 200km road race, and he averaged 345w for almost five and a half hours when he won the Gent-Wevelgem 2019. Add the Tour of Flanders, Milan-Sanremo, the European Championships and three stages of the Tour de France – Kristoff is a power to his record. Her favorite workout is simply a long training ride. And when I say long I mean really long.
In late winter and early spring, Kristoff will spend 6-8 hours in the saddle on a big training day, and occasionally hike the wooden trails on his CX bike near his home in Norway. He will also go to the gym up to three days a week and train with running and field hockey.
How to do an endurance race:
- Preheating: 10 to 15 minutes of easy spinning (40 to 55% of FTP)
- Main set: at least 30 minutes of driving at a constant endurance rate (55-74% FTP)
- Cooling: 5 to 10 minutes of easy spinning (40 to 55% of FTP)
Repeatedly national champion of Latvia, known for his victory celebrations and wonderful sense of humor, Toms Skujiņš (Trek-Segafredo) is one of the brightest figures in the peloton and a freight train of a runner escaped in the Belgian classics at the Tour de France. Skujiņš is also a difficult rider, and when he comes home in the winter, road driving is not an option. However, he is not afraid of the coach. Skujiņš says he even appreciates the structure, simplicity, and uninterrupted nature of indoor training. When it comes to interval training, his favorite is a staple in professional cycling: the 40/20.
How to do 40/20:
- Preheating: 10 to 15 minutes of easy spinning
- Intervals: 2 or 3 sets of 10 minutes of 40 seconds on, 20 seconds off
- During the 40 second intervals, maintain your power ~ 125% FTP and keep your cadence high, around 100-110 RPM
- During the 20 second intervals, recover as much as you can by easily turning
- 5 to 10 minutes of rest between sets at
In addition to indoor training, Skujiņš says it’s always important to get outside (even if that means it’s cold) and train in the form of skiing, hiking, running or lifting weights. .
Winner of 30 stages of the Tour de France, multiple rainbow jerseys on track and road, the British national championships and Milano-Sanremo, Mark Cavendish is arguably the best sprinter in the history of professional cycling. In his heyday, he was called the fastest man on two wheels, and after a long look at his two Wikipedia rankings pages, it’s easy to see why. The Manx Missile knows how to sprint, so it’s no surprise that his favorite workout focuses on exactly that.
Sprint training: Perform 1 or 2 gasoline sprints at the end of each ride. Whether it’s after five hours in the rain or 10k of climbing in the mountains, Cavendish likes to end his workouts with a long sprint to simulate race conditions. Here’s how:
- Towards the end of the race, complete 1 or 2 gasoline sprints, for a distance of approximately 300 meters
- To simulate the rides: Drive down a hill while turning at about 40 km / h (~ 24 mph). As the road flattens out, jump as hard as you can. When you feel that your legs are starting to die, continue for 100 meters, which is about 10 seconds
- To train for advances: at a minimum, practice riding a total of 2 km flat, each runner taking off after their turn, then sprinting at full throttle for the last 300 meters
So, when it comes to training, what are the pros doing? They keep it simple.
There is no secret sauce. The pros are like the rest of us. Maybe they have slightly better genes, and they certainly ride a lot more than we do. But when it comes to long hikes and high intensity workouts, it wasn’t all that different.
There is no magic training. If a mix of sprint, tempo and sweet spot intervals is so complicated that you have to print it on your upper tube to remember it, then will you make you the fastest cyclist in the world? The secrets of the pros have never been so secret: run long endurance miles in winter, make your tough intervals short and enjoyable, and train to win races to win races.