Pro triathlete, Eric Lagerstrom has been one of the hottest triathletes out there in 2015 winning ITU Sarasota, ITU Barbados, taking 2nd overall at St. Anthony’s, and most recently winning the 2015 Escape From Alcatraz. His amazing ability to time trial (TT) has been a big reason for success. TT helped keep him in the lead pack on the bike, and set him up to have a strong run.
How can you become stronger at time trialing like Eric? While you may not be able to catch him on the bike, you can definitely train like him and become faster using Eric’s “Bread and Butter” workout:
The challenge of a workout is to gradually build the effort over the 5 minutes, and really sit up and recover during the 2 minutes. An important piece of the puzzle is paying attention to the effort and metering throughout the workout. If Eric burns himself out in the first round of 5 minutes, the 6th round is going to be hard, or even impossible to finish.
He uses wattage to measure his efforts in these workouts. He starts each rep about 5 watts lower than how he thinks he can finish. Gradually, he builds the effort over the 5 minutes to point of finishing each repetition with that “I’m not sure I can finish this workout” sensation. Eric uses power to measure his effort because it allows him to track a ton of data. His Pioneer Power meter allows him to measure multiple variables, like each leg’s individual output that he uses to plan his future workouts.
Every rider can adapt this workout, no matter what metric you use to measure your cycling– power, speed, heart rate, or Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE)
How This Workout Will Improve Your Performance?
Build your lactate threshold.
This is the effort/output required for TT 50-70 minutes. Coincidentally, it’s the same time it takes most athletes to cover the cycling portion of a sprint or olympic distance tri, and the common distance of most road time trials.
Pushes you outside of your comfort zone
Pushing hard through the end of each rep is exhausting and Eric says, “Overcoming that and finishing the workout strong is a great mental boost and mimics the mindset necessary for racing.” In other words, this workout will toughen you up.
Teaches you to focus for 30 minutes
TT requires concentration which can be exhausting, but the 6 rounds of 5 minute reps require you to concentrate for a total 30 minutes. As Eric puts it, “5 minutes with lower rest really allows me to elevate my TT power without the same mental draw that a 30 minute all out TT effort would.”
Why You Should Love this Workout:
It’s great for any level of athlete.
What that Means for You: Whether you’re a beginner Tri-geek, or Cat 1 cyclist gearing, the work to rest ratio of this workout makes it perfect for your build phase of training. All you have to do is adjust the number of repetitions to match your experience. Less for beginners and the suggested amounts for experienced riders.
What that Means for You: You can do this workout to train for any distance up to a 70.3. If you’re doing a sprint, you might only do 4 reps at a higher effort. Stick with 6 for an Olympic (Eric’s focus), and up it to 8-10 for a 70.3 backing off on your max intensity.
What that Means for You: Some workouts can get overly complicated, and you spend more time paying attention to the details of the workout instead of paying attention to the workout itself.
It can be done solo,..or with a group.
What that Means to You: TT in its essence is pure cycling, rider vs the clock, making this the perfect workout for when you end up riding alone. If you are riding with a group, use the effort to move to the front and take a pull during each interval, and fall back on the recovery and let the group pull you along.
So start training like a pro. Add this workout to your cycling routine, and watch your times improve. Just like Eric, this workout could be the key to helping you find your next finish line.