This is an early season/beginner workout inspired by this magazine and this post. Actual times and sequence might have to change depending on the availability of appropriate terrain: I’m lucky enough to live very close to the foothills, so I have quick access to what I need to make this an approximately 45 minutes workout.
Phase 1: warm up
I warm up for about 15 minutes total, with high cadence, mostly flat road, then I climb a relatively steep hill not too fast, standing on the pedals, trying to get every muscle in my body involved and ready and my heart rate up. This first few miles also take me up to the training ground I found, in the Goleta foothills, where traffic is quite low in the morning hours. Climbing a relatively steep hill is also great to wake up and get ready for a workout: much better and faster acting even of the best Italian coffee.
Phase 2: strength training with uphill repeats For an absolute beginner (and a short workout) 3x1’ climbs up a steady 5-6% incline with 53x17. Low cadence is inevitable (if it’s not, you need a harder workout!), and I keep it up for a whole minute, with a two minutes or so recovery in-between. It’s great to do this on a quiet road, where you can just pull a u-turn when done, and cruise back downhill, spinning your legs to get rid of the bad stuff.
Chorus Carbon Compact Crankset: my next set of gears
Phase 3: cadence & speed At this point I cruise down the hill, get back on the flats, and pedal at high cadence (90-110) for 10-15 minutes on a 39-17 or equivalent. That’s more difficult than it sounds (well it is for me, at least) but it works very well as a follow up to the strength exercise, keeping the muscles warm and supple.
Phase 4: putting it all together for power
At this point I change direction and head back home, for the last 10 minutes or so. I switch back to the big ring and spin it as fast as possible, keeping a high cruising speed for the longest possible time. How fast and what gears you can use is up to you: write the numbers down and see if next week, or next month you can do better.
If you get home tired and feeling like you have accomplished something, this is already a success!