Coach's Corner:
Building Speed and Endurance

By Chris Kostman

Originally published in The California Events Schedule, March 1993


Spring training to start getting serious about the season ahead. Build speed and endurance with interval training


First, track your mileage and basic training data in some sort of a log. Put in 5-15% more miles per week for the next month to build your endurance, comfort level, and to burn fat. Make your one long ride even longer and your short ride day even shorter, but build the total miles up all month long. (Quick math: if you're riding 100mi/wk now, and you increase by 5% weekly, you'll be riding 121/wk in a month.)

Also, now is the time to add one serious day of training to your routine. You have a few options: Ride once a week with a fast group training ride which rides aggressively, attacks the hills, and does some random group sprints for such important landmarks as telephone poles. This will help whip you into shape in a fun and unstructured manner.

Another option is to add a day of structured interval training to your weekly schedule. Note that I said one day; more is not better this early in the year! The basic idea is to go as hard as you can for 30 to 180 seconds, rest while spinning in an easy gear for an interval of the same duration, then repeat the process. Start with sets of five intervals, then gradually build up to a set of ten by two months from now. Your goal is to go so hard that you have nothing left at the end of any particular interval. This will make you faster and give you greater endurance.

Example Workouts

Start with a 15 to 30 minute warm-up, and then...

30 sec on, 30 sec off, 60 sec on, 60 sec off, 120 sec on, 120 sec off, 180 sec on, 180 sec off, 120 sec on, 120 sec off, 60 sec on, 60 sec off, 30 sec on, 30 sec off.

A combination of three 30 second intervals followed by three 180 second intervals, followed by another three 30 second intervals.

A set of five to ten 120 second intervals, etc., etc.


Once you've started one particular interval, always ride it out until your predetermined time span is completed.

Don't do this where a traffic light or stop sign will interrupt an interval.

Relax your body, take a drink, and always keep spinning your legs between intervals.