Step 4: Get Going

Feb 18, 2009
Outside Magazine

Now that you know your LT, put it to use with a periodization plan like the one on the previous page, using the schedule below for the Maintenance 1 period. After four weeks, move to Overload 1, and so on. For all-around fitness, switch between run and bike workouts. Rest on Monday and Thursday.

TUESDAY: Go at your fastest sustainable pace for 10 minutes of a 30-minute run, or ride for 30 minutes at 95?percent of LT.

WEDNESDAY: One hour of strength and form work (below).

FRIDAY: Train at 80 percent of LT for 20 (run) or 60 (bike) minutes. Form drills for 30 minutes.

SATURDAY: 90-minute run or three-hour ride.

SUNDAY: Strength work for 30 minutes, then a one-hour run or two-hour ride.

Base Strength
Shoot for two to three of these sessions a week to maintain muscle mass during endurance training

SINGLE-LEG SQUATS: Do leg presses at the gym, squats with one leg in the air and an exercise ball between your back and a wall, or step-ups onto a bench. One set to exhaustion on each leg. As you get stronger, hold dumbbells in your hands.

HAMSTRING CURLS: Use leg curls with an exercise ball to balance your hamstrings with your quads. Place both heels on the ball, with your back flat on the floor. Bridge up and pull the ball under you before pushing it back and dropping the hips. That's one rep. Do 10 to 12. As you get stronger, do one leg at a time.

PLANK: The simple plank and side plank (30 to 60 seconds each) are great ways to work the small stabilizing muscles in your core. You can make it more challenging by putting your feet on an exercise ball.

SEATED ROW: Cable rows (at the gym or with an exercise band) help the shoulders and upper spine maintain a healthier upright and open position. Do one set of 12 to 15 reps.

EXERCISE-BALL BRIDGES: Your abs can overpower your lower back. Spend as much time strengthening those lower-spine stabilizers as you do on your six-pack. With an exercise ball beneath your shoulders, rise up into a simple bridge and lift one leg in the air, then lower it and raise the other leg. This ties in the glutes and hamstrings. Do eight to 10 reps on each leg. Not hard enough? Close your eyes.

Base Form
Since you're not going too hard yet, use the base period to polish your form

DRILL: One-leg pedaling. Hold one foot to the side and pedal for 30 to 60 seconds, Repeat on the other side.
BENEFIT: Improves spinning and strengthens hamstrings and hip flexors.
DRILL: Spin-ups. Start at a moderate cadence and then bring your RPMs up to a sprinting leg speed.
BENEFIT: Improves leg speed and cadence without tearing muscle fiber.
DRILL: Rolling dismount. Swing your strong foot over the back wheel and between your other foot and the frame. Land in a run.BENEFIT: A mountain-biking and cyclocross must, this routine move can save whole seconds in a race.

DRILL: High knees. Stand in place and pull your knees up like a football player running through tires in practice.
BENEFIT: Opens up range of motion and improves leg turnover without the stress of sprinting.
DRILL: Bounding. Take a "high knee" to its extreme and bound in a slow jog. You should feel like you're in a Monty Python sketch.
BENEFIT: Lengthens stride and strengthens muscles without the wear of miles.
DRILL: Butt kicks. Standing in place or jogging slowly, kick your butt with your heel. Your knee should point down.
BENEFIT: Incorporates your hamstring into your stride and builds speed.

Filed To: Running, Flexibility