Don’t let the holidays disrupt your training. At this time of year, you can keep your fitness from sliding backward without spending much time training. Now, if your travel schedule is really hectic over Christmas and New Year, it may be difficult to make significant forward progress, but there’s no reason you need to give up the fitness you already have. If you can squeeze in at least two one-hour rides, indoors or outdoors, that include intervals, and one longer workout (two hours would be great, longer if you can) each week, you can get through the holiday season with little to no drop in fitness.
What should you do during those two one-hour interval workouts?
Indoors: A training DVD that focuses on lactate threshold or VO2 max intervals would be a better choice than spinning to a Tour de France video.
Outdoors or indoors, you can also use a workout like the one below. It targets both power at lactate threshold (the OverUnder intervals) and power at VO2 max (the PowerIntervals). For your longer ride (typically one of the weekend days), jump into a challenging local group ride or tackle a hilly route in your area. Again, idly cruising isn’t going to do you much good for the next month if your schedule is severely limiting your training time. You don’t need to crush yourself on every ride, but you should definitely focus on spending some significant time near lactate threshold and some above threshold.
60-minute Holiday Fitness-Saver Workout:
1. Warm up for about 10 minutes, more if necessary for you to be ready for the main interval set. The main interval set takes 35 minutes to complete.
2. Four, two-minute max-intensity PowerIntervals (all-out efforts, 90-plus rpm cadence). Take two minutes of easy spinning recovery between intervals.
3. Following the final PowerInterval, take five minutes of easy spinning recovery instead of two minutes.
4. Complete two six-minute OverUnder Intervals alternating between one minute. “Under” and one minute “Over.” To do this, start with one minute at a sustainable but challenging intensity. At the end of that minute, accelerate to an even more challenging intensity for one minute. At the end of this minute, return to your “Under” intensity and continue alternating between “Under” and “Over” until the end of the interval. Take four minutes of easy spinning recovery between intervals.
5. Cool down for at least 10 minutes.