Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Spinervals Challenge Update #3 | The Plan & Videos Needed!

The Challenge is about to begin!! How many people are doing it, you ask? Well, it's hard to say exactly... but over 300 people have registered for a new training peaks account in order to receive their workouts daily and log their progress! Folks from here in Tucson AZ to as far away as Australia are getting ready for it. So let's GO!!

First, the month long program is now "fully baked" and is ready for public consumption.  At first, it was going to be a gut wrenching plan that would be almost impossible for anyone but a professional cyclist to complete... and even they would have a hard time.  But after further consideration and knowing that a wide range of athlete would be participating, including Ironman competitors and fitness oriented indoor cyclists, I decided to tone it down... but only a little.

One thing to know right up front is that this is **NOT AN AEROBIC BASE BUILDING PLAN**. If you are following a well-defined, traditional progression of base and endurance training this winter, this won't fit well into that regimen.  However, if you want to develop some power and boost your lactate threshold heart rate and VO2max while being motivated and training 'virtually' with others .... it'll work great.  Furthermore, I believe that many athletes who are stuck in the 'rut' of following a typical progression might find this month of training a way to shock the system into another level of adaptation.  Even for some of my personally coached athletes, I'm suggesting that they take the challenge with some minor modifications.

Another question I receive a lot is from triathletes is how to incorporate swim and run training into this cycling intensive month.  Since the month is focused on the bike, I recommend that triathletes back down on their swim and run training (especially running) and allow for the cycling work to take priority.  I've been witness many times to the benefits a block of cycle focused training can have on a triathlete's overall performance, so if you've never tried it, give it a shot.  As for running volume, I suggest only running 2-3 times per week during the challenge if you're a competitive triathlete as this will maintain your running form.

With regard to the structure of the plan, I attempted to make it difficult but still effective for the athletes participating.  Again, it would have been easy to bury you by doing "Tough Love" and "Dropping the Hammer" everyday, but that's not the purpose and would be irresponsible for me as to do as a professional coach. I want you to benefit from the plan and come out the other end on Jan. 2 with a higher level of fitness, injury free and excited about the 2012 season.  Therefore, I have incorporated somewhat of a hard/easy approach (i.e. aerobic base workouts or technique sessions then quality work), as well as some off and/or easy days for recovery.  I also included your "Wild Card" day in which you can take the day off and REST or do something else at your discretion and still qualify to be a Challenge Finisher. See, I'm nice. :)  Finally, up to 20% of the workouts can be done on the roads instead of the trainer... again giving you a mental break if needed.  Just TRY to do the workouts per the plan and monitor yourself for signs of overtraining or injury... it's up to you to train smart!  If you want to receive training guidance and advice specific to you, please consider personal coaching. 

So, what does the Challenge look like?  The best way to receive it is to register for the free trainingpeaks account, with which you'll be able to track your progress and receive detailed workouts to your inbox everyday. For those athletes who choose not to use this online coaching tool, I'll be posting workouts a few days in advance to my BLOG and FB.

Getting Started .... Here's what's in store for Dec. 1 through Dec. 4:

Thursday Dec. 1 - Spinervals 27.0 - Threshold Test (60 min.)
WELCOME TO THE CHALLENGE! Get ready for a demanding yet rewarding 32 days of pain and suffering! ;) Just kidding!! Today we'll be testing your threshold with Spinervals 27.0 - Threshold Test & Sufferfest ( to establish your zones. Use your powermeter or heart rate monitor to get a good idea of where your fitness stands at the moment and for later comparison to see your progress!

The alternative (optional) workout is to do the following on the road or trainer:
w/up 15-20 minutes
5x45 sec. pick ups @ 1 min. recovery
Spin 5-10 minutes
20 min. Time Trial Effort (best effort) while tracking your power and/or HR throughout.
Cooldown for 20-30 minutes
Use the data to calculate your training zones! There's a power meter calculation tool on this page,

Pre Activity Comments
Today is weigh-in day.  Please record your results. Also, start building your Spinervals DVD collection to match the intensity and scope of the workouts described throughout this program. Remember that we offer discounted bundles as well as discounts to our members of 20%. Learn more about becoming a member by going to

Post Activity Comments
Remember... training is only part of the performance equation. Also focus on eating a nutritious diet and proper recovery. Day to day training will gradually wear you down if you're not careful! We have lots of articles on our websites , and, as well as our blog, on this and other topics. Have a great day and post your results, send your pics and videos to the Spinervals FB page!

Fri. Dec. 2 - Spinervals 16.0 - Aero Base Builder 1 (1 hr 20 min.)

This aerobic base workout ( is to be done in zone 2 and is an 'easy' workout after the tough one yesterday where you cranked out 20 minues at LT! Remember to stay disciplined and in that lower intensity zone, and with your cadence range as described in the workout.

The alternative is any of the other Aero Base builder workouts in the series (17.0, 18.0, 21.0, 28.0. 39.0), or 1.5 - 2 hrs of aerobic training (90-100 rpms) on the roads.

Post Activity Comments
Tomorrow, we'll be adding some strength training to your plan. Get ready. If you don't already have Strendurance, you might want to get a copy of it! another strength training routine of your choice. Stay strong!

Sat. Dec. 3 - Spinervals 30.0 - Muscular Endurance PLUS (2 hrs 20 minutes). 

Legs tired yet? heh heh heh  (
This workout targets the development of your muscular endurance, zone 3. Your calorie burn will be high too. Make sure you have lots of fluids and nutrition for this 2+ hr workout. The alternative to this is about 3 hrs on the roads... at a steady moderate pace or other spinervals titles like: 9.0, 13.0, 15.0, 31.0

Strength Training

Strendurance is a great 12 week progression for strength development. Try it here,

Here's an alternative workout, short and fast, that you can do via,

Athletic Yoga is also recommended if you prefer it for strength development. Here are some great options for you to consider by Flexible Warrior,

Sun. Dec. 4 - Spinervals 28.0 - Aero Base Builder (1 hr)

Another zone 2 workout to act as recovery for yesterday's tough session!
Add an additional 15-30 minutes of easy pedaling if you'd like to hit that 90 min. range. An alternative is to do Spinervals 17, 18.0 or 28.0. If you hit the roads, ride aerobic (zone 2) for 75-90 minutes, 90-100 rpms. (Add another 30 minutes of aerobic spinning for extra credit to boost the calorie burn!)

For your future planning needs, here's a list of workouts to be used in the plan. Alternative workouts are also suggested each day that match the basic intensity and duration requirements for that day.

1.0- No Slackers Allowed
8.0- Recovery and Technique
11.0- Bending Crank Arms
12.0- Recharge
13.0- Tough Love
16.0- Aero Base 1
17.0- Aero Base 2
18.0- Aero Base 3
19.0- Bending Crank Arms
22.0- Time Trialapalooza
23.0- Time Saver 1
24.0- HILLacious
25.0- Aero Base Compilation
26.0- Hardcore 100
27.0- Threshold Test
28.0- Aero Base Builder VI
30.0- Muscular Endurance  PLUS
31.0- Endurance Booster
33.0- The Pain Cave
34.0- Super High Intensity Training
36.0- Warrior Training
39.0- Aerobic Base at 10,000 Ft.
40.0- Have Mercy, Part III
41.0- Ascending Mountains
Team Sports Training Volume 1- No Limits
On the Road Vol. 2 - Lake Placid Ride
On the Road Vol. 6 - Tempe Training Ride
Strendurance 12-Week Progression
Flexible Warrior - Athletic Yoga

Workouts can be found HERE. And don't forget that you can become a member, receive 3 DVDs and get 20% on your future DVD purchases as well as discounts to other coaching services and camps by clicking HERE.  It's the most cost effective way to go!

That's all for now. Check back frequently to Facebook and this BLOG for more updates. And if you've registered to receive workouts through a trainingpeaks account, look for your workouts to be loaded to your calendar sometime today!

Good luck everyone ... let's get this thing going!

- Coach Troy