Fitness Test #3: Long-Range Power

Jul 2, 2009
Outside Magazine
Illustrations of Long Range Power

   Photo: Illustrations by Chris Philpot

Remedial Training

Sport-specific drills to build power that lasts.

Cycling Intervals + Cadence Drills
On a flat road, do six to eight three-minute intervals at your threshold heart rate (the sustained rate from your cycling test), with three-minute rests between. Do this once or twice a week. One or two other days a week, do cadence drills: Crank at the highest cadence you can sustain (110 120 rpm is good). Do 40 seconds on, 20 rest, repeating four times for one set. Do three sets.

Running Intervals
Run 200 meters on a track as fast as you can; jog the same distance. Repeat for 400 meters, 800meters, 400 meters, and 200 meters. Do once or twice a week.

Multisport Circuit
Set up a box or platform 18 24 in...

Think power is just for linebackers? Think again. Power is simply energy production, whether it's over a short period (like explosive sprints) or a long one (say, charging up switchbacks while your buddies gasp for air). The latter is far more useful for outdoor adventure and sports than basic, slog-all-day endurance. You want speed and quickness but also sustained power output, so you have that fifth gear when you need it most.

a. Multisport Gauge
A great test for ball-sports athletes. Set up a small hurdle two cardboard boxes and a dowel should work 12 inches off the ground. Hop from one side to the other as many times as you can in one minute. Rest 20 seconds. Repeat. Your score is the combined number of both sets. More than 70 is excellent; 50 70 is good; less than 50, see the Multisport Circuit (right).

b. Cyclists' Threshold
You'll need a cyclometer and a heart-rate monitor. Find a flat, quiet stretch of road where you can pedal all-out. Do two eight-minute intervals with an eight-minute rest between. Note the highest speed and highest heart rate you sustained for at least a minute; you'll use these numbers for training later. Maintaining 25 mph or higher is excellent; 22 24 mph is good; less than 22 mph, make the Cycling Intervals (right) a cornerstone of your training.

c. Runners' Threshold
Run two miles (eight laps on a track) as fast as you can. Clocking 12 14 minutes is excellent; 15 17 minutes, fair; more than 17 minutes, time for some Running Intervals (right).