Training: Early Season Criterium Race Prep Workouts, Gary Tingley


Early season racing is almost upon us. Get tuned up with these criterium specific workouts.

Note: for pacing using PE or a HRM see Power Training Levels by Training Peaks.

#1 – High cadence/High intensity surges (1.5-2 hour ride)

  • Start with a 20-40 minute gradual warm up.
  • With a teammate, practice taking :15 second HARD (130-150% FTP trainingpeaks.com) pulls and then dropping back into the draft for :15 seconds. Do this for 10:00+. It will be difficult, but keep it rolling. Then easy for 5:00.
  • Finish out the ~2 hour ride at endurance pace.

#2 – Threshold Intervals (1.5-2 hour ride)

  • Begin with a solid 20+ minute warm up, stretch out the legs.
  • For main set #1, ride 4 x 12:00 @ 98-103% of your FTP trainingpeaks.com with a 3:00 rest interval between each threshold interval.
  • Cool down for 10 minutes.

#3 – Climb the Pyramid (2 hour ride)

  • Warm up for 20:00 or more.
  • Then do a reverse pyramid of intervals @ 93-95% FTP, starting with 20:00 and working your way down, by cutting the time in half: This is 20:00; 10:00, 5:00, 2:30; 1:15; :45 Incorporate 3:00 of recovery time in between each effort.
  • Recover for 5:00+ after the last interval, to make ~2 hours total ride time.

#4 – Bursts & Sprints (2 hour ride)

  • Warm up for at least 30:00
  • Then complete a set of 5 microbursts of :30sec/:30sec 150% FTP “ON” and 50% FTP “EASY”. Then easy for 10:00.
  • Then complete 3 “full gas” sprints from a slow roll/stop, full effort :10 to :12 second sprints with 4:00 of full recovery between each one. For the sprints, jump hard out of the saddle, explosive effort to get on top of the gear, then when you have reached maximum cadence, sit down and maintain maximum intensity for the entire length of the effort of :10 seconds or 20 pedal strokes.
  • Then after this set, ride at endurance pace to make 2 hours total ride time today.

#5 – Race Day Pre-Race Criterium Warm Up (40 minutes)

  • The warm-up is 40 minutes total, normally completed on a trainer or on rollers.
  • 20 minutes easy spin, slowly raising cadence to 100 rpm, and include a few 5 second high-cadence bursts, then 1 x 3 minutes @ 90%/95%/100% of FTP w/2:00 easy spin between intervals 1-2, 2-3, then after interval 3 4 minutes easy spin
  • Roll over to the start line area with 10 minutes to go.

By Gary Tingley, USAC Level 1 Cycling Coach, https://garytingley.com

Photo © Christy Nicholson / EchelonDesignPhoto.com