As described in this blog post below: http://www.training4cyclists.com/threshold-power/ Example: 3 x (3+3min) at VO2max / recovery. If you use a heart rate monitor, your heart rate should be above 95% of maximum at the end of these intervals. If you use a power meter, your target power could be in the area of 120% of your functional threshold power or even better based on your 5min maximum power. - See more at: http://www.training4cyclists.com/threshold-power/#sthash.DbD9Dyf9.dpuf

Or would you use the intervals methods described in the blog below: ▼ 10 minute controlled warm up with bursts up to FTP ▼ 20 minutes @ 85% FTP ▼ 4 minutes recovery @ 150 watts maximum ▼ 20 minutes @ 85% FTP ▼ 6 minutes cool down spinning at 100 rpm http://www.flammerouge.je/factsheets/functhresh.htm

Or have I missed the point of either recommendation in the blog posts above and are these type of intervals dependant on the time of year?


3 Answers 3


Those should both be staple type workouts in your folder. There are basically two types of workouts that you should be doing to increase your speed, and both of them are described fairly well in your examples.

The first is a threshold workout - This is a pace that is at or near your race pace, with relatively short recovery. This is the second workout you describe, with the 80-85% FTP. (Remember that an FTP measurement is generally described as the maximum effort you can sustain for one hour). In this you are doing near a race pace, with short recovery compared to the length of the sustained effort. This type of effort is designed to increase the amount of time you can hold a high effort level.

The second is an interval workout, which is what your first workout describes. This is short periods of very intense effort, with enough recovery to ensure that you can complete the next interval at the desired level. If you note, the recovery period (3 minutes) for this one is nearly as long as the recovery for the threshold workout (4 mins) for a much shorter effort. This workout is designed to increase your top end speed.

Taken together over time, these workouts will increase your top speed, and increase the amount of time you can spend near that speed.

They are also somewhat dependent on the time of year. During the "off season" if you will, you should be concentrating on long distance riding, not much intensity, to get a good base for the next year. A couple of months out you should start adding in some of these workouts, and increase the frequency in which you do them through the first few months of the season, then change over to fine tuning and maintenance type workouts. If you are unsure of how to do that, a coach can be a huge help.

As far as measuring FTP, I'm not a big fan of the 5 minute tests. I prefer either an hour time trial if you can manage that, or the 2x20 method, preferably on the road.


What is the real goal you are attempting to accomplish? Increasing FTP suggests you're purely interested in improving your TT or climbing speeds.

If you want to hang in the pack and be able to make that hard effort when tactics require it you need to do both kinds of intervals. Both kinds of intervals will have an effect on your FTP. The one that more closely matches what you are attempting to accomplish will probably have the biggest "bang for the buck". If you're purely interested in increasing FTP, then the longer sub-full effort intervals will likely show the most initial results.

However, there is also the issue of diminishing returns, there comes a point where doing the same thing over and over again doesn't provide additional training benefit. And on the other hand, you have to be able to recover from the workout, those relatively long sub-full efforts can be very sneaky. It's easy to over do them. The short hard ones are largely self regulating, once the times start dropping, you know the workout is over.

The kind of speed work you do is far less important than making sure you recover properly from the workout.

There's no magic bullet to tell you, do this to achieve that number. Everybody responds differently to a specific workout and the best thing you can do to improve is to monitor your response. This is why athletes have coaches, figuring out exactly what to do next is difficult.

  • Yep. No magic bullet. Recover properly from the workout.
    – andy256
    Apr 8, 2014 at 0:25

No, because I'm not training as a competition cyclist

As far as I can see, very few of the members here are competition riders. If any of the regulars are, they hide it very well. Lets face it: if we were in serious training, we wouldn't be spending our time here :-)

I think you need a coach

You sound keen on getting into comp riding. Join a club and get proper coaching. At a club you also mingle with other people with real experience, who are happy to pass it on.

Any advice you get on some internet board cannot take your exact situation into account. It can even be dangerous. We cannot know from a few interactions over the web what your health, fitness, potential, and riding abilities are. Your goals matter also. There are different clubs for different kinds of riding. Even there, you will see different training for different events.

The difference between those articles

Beware the sales pitch. The training4cyclists article looks like a sales pitch to encourage you to buy the ebook, and more.

The flammerouge article seems to be much more realistic, and explains much more carefully. The advice it gives seems to me to more cautious.

A few final points

If you injure yourself through over-training, or "incorrect" training / technique, then you wont get to compete. So get proper face to face coaching.

Most of the gain from training occurs during recovery. The flammerouge article reiterates that.

Make sure you understand the purpose and goal of every training session. How does it fit into your goals? Why are you doing it? How do you do it correctly? Can you do too much? Do you get the benefit if you do less?

More power to you!

Edit: This answer suggests

get 'Training and Racing w/ a Power Meter' by Hunter Allen and Andrew Coggan.

  • +1 for the TRWPM suggestion - Excellent book that teaches the ins and outs of powermeters and how to use them to nail down both training and racing.
    – JohnP
    Apr 8, 2014 at 19:36

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