Ironman High Intensity Training (HIT): Bike long rides

This year in preparation for Ironman, I’ve worked in as much HIT (High Intensity Training) into each week as I can, using workout guidelines published by the folks at Endurance Nation (EN).

Earlier in the season, I overshot the mark a few times, which contributed to me getting injured and/or sick…so the challenge is to find that right balance between stressing to improve, without breaking something, or over-training to the point that I can’t complete workouts because I’m still toasted from previous workouts…a rather delicate balancing act, since you often don’t know that you’re over the top, until you’re already tanked.

I find that I can’t get in as many of the HIT workouts that EN has in each week of their stock schedule without getting totally cooked…so I use the EN workout specs in a few key workouts each week:

  • my Tuesday long run with HIT,
  • my Thursday fast run Intervals,
  • and my Saturday/Sunday bike rides

…my other bike and run workouts throughout the week are ‘softer’ to ‘protect’ the key workouts, and allow some recovery time.

My long rides on Saturday are both long and hard, and yesterday a good example of a 4.5 hour ride than embodies these principles by including almost 1 hour of Z4-5 & 1 hour of Z3 HIT…followed by a 2 hour Z3 HIT ride on Sunday.

A refresher on Training Zones and Intensity if you wanted to take a quick look:

Here was the workout…quick explanation…”8′ (3′) @ FTP/z4-5″ means 8 minutes at Zone 4-5 Intensity, which for me, based on a 280 Watt FTP is 266-280 Watts…so HARD…then 3 minutes easy recovery…then the next Interval, down the list:

Type: Bike
Planned duration: 4:30 
WU: 20-30′ @ 65-70%/z1-2/Easy

■8′ (3′) @ FTP/z4-5
■10′ (3′) @ FTP/z4-5
■15′ (3′) @ FTP/z4-5
■10′ (4′) @ FTP/z4-5
■8′ (4′) @ FTP/z4-5
■5 x 12′ (2′) @ 80-85%/z3; for each interval include 2′ standing WITHOUT spiking watts or effort, ie, standing for position change only.
■Remainder of ride time is @75-80%/z2, in the aerobars, practicing steady riding: no surges, constant power, etc.

WD: 10′ Easy spin.

Here’s how it turned out…4:42:01 total time, with 2 hours of HIT:

  • 5 x Z4-5 Intervals (266-280W target): 272W / 268W / 266W / 266W / 251W
  • 5 x Z3 Intervals (224-238W target): 231W / 231W / 219W / 230W / 237W

That my friends, at the end of a 17 hour training week, is a _strong_ ride 🙂

I used this specific workout as an example in part because it became part of a forum discussion a while back, with Rich Strauss, one of the coaches at EN, weighing in on his HIT philosophy…he actually used the even harder ‘Advanced’ version of the workout in his example…an interesting read:;post=3132587;page=1;sb=post_latest_reply;so=ASC;mh=-1;

So with 7 weeks to go before Ironman Florida, my long ride schedule on the next 5 weekends:

  • 112 miles Race Rehearsal
  • 4.5 hour HIT Saturday / 2 hour Z3 Sunday
  • 4.5 hour HIT Saturday / 2 hour Z3 Sunday
  • 112 miles Race Rehearsal
  • 3 hour HIT Saturday / 1 hour Z3 Sunday

…_may_ need to cut that back a hair somewhere if I start leaking oil or can’t complete workouts properly…we’ll see how I hold up 🙂


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4 Responses to Ironman High Intensity Training (HIT): Bike long rides

  1. Anne Boone says:

    Tick tock tick tock. 😉

    • Dad says:

      Anne, how was your race today?

      • Anne Boone says:

        2:58:42. I broke 3 hours!! Was the only one in my age group. Had my usual slow swim (37:06…it was pretty rough out there, too), good bike (1:24:10), and a 52:16 run, so I was happy. I’m a little stiff this AM. Need to decide if my first 100 mile ride will be Thursday or next Monday.

        Am doing another 2 mile swim tomorrow. I have a little tenderness in my shoulder on top, but I plan to ice after every swim and pray it doesn’t get any worse. If I need a cortisone shot, it occurred to me that my ex is an orthopaedic surgeon and I could probably get one from him. Hey, he owes me for all the years of grief! 😉

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