I'm not sure why I'm describing this workout as one of my "favorites"....maybe my head is STILL foggy from the lactic acid, lack of oxygen, etc. and clouding my judgement :) hehe. This workout is HARD, but will leave you feeling satisfied and knowing you just made a bump in your fitness. Or, at the very least, you will have pushed through your pain barrier six times and you will have the confidence that you can push through that level of uncomfortable pain again on a race day.
The workout itself does not seem that threatening or difficult on paper:
Warm-up around 30minutes with some building 1-2minute efforts to above threshold to get the blood flowing and mentally prepare for the work ahead.
Find a super steep 1-2minute climb that flattens out after the climb to flatter or rolling terrain.
Do 6x 1-2minute all out up the climb- pretend you are attacking a hill in the Tour de France :) Once you've crested the hill, hold threshold power for 3minutes.
Recover 4-6minutes extremely easy spinning back down the hill to your starting point.
So, essentially, this workout is only 6x approximately 4-5minutes of effort but it is much more difficult than it looks. Trying to hold threshold power after about 90seconds (give or take depending on the hill you have) of an all out, lactic-causing effort is NOT easy. The first one burns pretty bad. The second one hurts even worse than the first one, to the point that you question that you can even do four more. By the third one, power has probably dropped a bit on the climb, or at least the enthusiasm to attack the hill like you are a Tour rider. Once you are through number four, it literally becomes a matter of finishing the workout in a respectable fashion. When I did this last week, I literally wasn't sure I could get through the last two. These are the rounds Wattie calls "The Championship Rounds." And, with the recent passing of the great Muhammad Ali... RIP... I find the quote below especially fitting for this workout. “I don’t count my sit-ups; I only start counting when it starts hurting because they’re the only ones that count” - Muhammad Ali
Even if your power drops during the six efforts, make sure you push through and complete the six rounds. I think only three or four rounds of this wouldn't be enough. It's getting through those last few that, if anything, will build your mental strength.
A little tip as well- do your first round and make note of where you finished the three minutes at threshold- maybe a driveway, certain tree, or other landmark. Use that landmark for your final five rounds. Do NOT stare at your timer for the three minutes of threshold following your all out climb...try to make it to that landmark from the first one as quickly as you can holding your threshold power. This takes your mind off of checking your clock every two seconds and it has barely gone anywhere. Pretend you are Cancellara going for the TT World Title. Pretend you are in a race putting an attack on. Pretend whatever you need to in order to get to that landmark as quickly as you can.
Enjoy! I promise this one will leave you in a positive mood with a sense of accomplishment after. Be proud that you got through it. And make sure to recover well after.
Thanks for reading & enjoy the workout! - HJ