Interval Training for Cycling

Let’s talk about riding faster! If there was a nutritional supplement out there guaranteed to make you a faster cyclist (there’s not), you’d take it right? In this training tip, I'll describe interval training for cycling to help you improve your cycling.  You'll use your training zones and intervals in those training zones to improve. 


If you perform intervals consistently week to week, intervals will be the cheapest most effective way for you to get the results you want. Forget the gucci wheels, supplements, doo-hick this new-fangled that. Get out there, find you favorite hill and go up and down it as hard as you can! I like the expression "Cry in the DoJo to Laugh on the Battlefield" Don’t just do intervals once, perform them on a consistent basis, every week like they way we have designed them in our interval training plans

So how do you get started? Our interval training plans are a simple day by training plan to follow with all the explanations and descriptions for what intervals to do and when. Pick the interval training plan for the type of cycling you are training for! Again, listen to the podcast above to learn about intervals more. After all, these intervals are gonna hurt a little bit, it’d be nice to know they work! Uhummm, they do, guaranteed.

Example Workouts:

The example workouts below are based on the power demands of the event. By that I mean the type of power output you will be required from the course's terrain and the tactics + race strategy for getting results.

Criterium Racer: Zone 6/ Anaerobic Capacity: 2 sets of 3 x 1 min ON (FULL GAS*) 1 min OFF; 5 min in-between sets

Road Racing: Zone 5 / VO2's: 2 sets of 3 x 3 min ON (FULL GAS) 3 min OFF; 6 min in-between sets

Time Trialist: Zone 4 / Threshold: 2 x 15 minutes ON (FULL GAS) 7.5 minutes OFF

Hill Climbs: Zone 4 / Threshold 2 x 20 minutes ON (FULL GAS) 7.5 minutes OFF

Cyclocross: Zone 6: 2 sets of 4 x 30 seconds ON (FULL GAS) 30 seconds OFF, 5 minutes in-betweens sets

XC Mountain Biking: Zone 6/ Anaerobic Capacity: 2 sets of 3 x 1 min ON (FULL GAS*) 1 min OFF; 5 min in-between sets

Marathon & Ultra Mountain Biking: Sweet Spot: 3 x 15 minutes ON (Sweet Spot Pace) 7.5 minutes OFF

Fondo/Gravel: lots and lots of sweet spot, see our How to Sweet Spot training tip.

* Full Gas is an expression for going as hard as you can for the interval duration prescribed. Ahhh, lactic acid, your new best friend!

Copyright 2021, FasCat Coaching

Frank is the owner & founder of FasCat Coaching in Boulder, CO. He is a full time professional coach of 15 years, former category 1 road racer and semi-pro mountain biker and current masters cyclist. He and the FasCat Coaches prescribe intervals for athletes all over North America and the World.

To talk with a FasCat Coach about interval training described above, please fill out a New Athlete Questionnaire to set up a coaching consultation or buy one of FasCat's six week $49 interval training plans.

About Frank Overton

Frank founded FasCat Coaching in 2002 and has been a full time cycling coach since 2004. His educational background includes a Masters degree in Physiology from North Carolina State University, pre-med from Hampden-Sydney College. Frank raced at a professional level on the road and mountain bike and currently competes as a "masters" level gravel and cyclocrosser. Professionally Frank comes from medical school spinal cord research and molecular biotechnology. However, to this day it is a dream come true for Frank to be able to help cyclists as a coach.

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