We plan on letting you download some of our workouts to your Garmins in order to get some structured workouts outside. I recently did the 8 minute test and Picket Guard (5×12 min Over/Under) outside.

Here’s what I found. I’d like some feedback from you guys.

8 Minute Test

The 8 minute test was a no brainer and worked really well. My intervals were time based and I used the description of the laps to tell me what to do. So I set the workout up to say “1 MIN ALL OUT!” for those first jumps. My Garmin 500 actually displayed that text, which is really cool. There’s a 15 character limit to that text.

The only targets I had in the workout were some cadence target at the beginning set for 100+ RPMs during the warmup. Everything else was done by time based intervals.

For the beginning of the workout, I set up a “Warm Up” lap that didn’t advance until I pushed the lap button. This allowed me to cycle to the area where I wanted to do the workout. As soon as I hit the lap button it brought me into the structured warm up with the high cadence drills.

Anyways, for the 8 Minute test it gave me some nice structure and I didn’t have any headaches.

Picket Guard

Picket Guard is 3×12 min intervals that alternate between 2 mins just below threshold and 2 mins just above threshold. I did this as a power based workout.

I think at the end I got this working really well. At first though it was kind of a pain.

I had the workout give me +/- 10% zones. Which means If I was trying to hit 210 watts my zone to stay in was 200-220. I did these workouts on a hill but I would still stray out of this zone (mostly higher) and the garmin would beep at me which was really annoying.

After two minutes passed I did my “over” interval which had a 220-240 zone. Again, very annoying.

I then stopped my workout and changed the zones to be Target+. Meaning if my target was 230 watts my Garmin would like it if I stayed anywhere above 230 watts (my range was actually 230-1000 watts).

This is where the fun came in. I feel like it released me from my power meter. I usually have to glance down at my head unit to make sure I’m putting out enough watts. But with this setup, it would beep at me if I dropped below 230 watts for too long. I really didn’t care if I was hitting 240 or 250 watts while I was climbing, I just didn’t want to go below 230.

So I just climbed and tried to keep it strong. If my mind wandered my Garmin would quickly “BEEP BOOPITY BEEP” at me and I’d regain my focus and push on.

Breaking this workout into 2 min chunks that I DIDN’T require me to have to stare at my computer was awesome too. If I was doing this workout without it programmed into my Garmin I’d have to watch those 2 minutes tick down each and every interval.  Instead, I just enjoyed my ride and my Garmin notified me when I needed to pick it up.  It was really really fun.

What about endurance and heart rate based workouts?

I think the “Target+” approach works well for sweet spot and above (threshold, vo2max, anaerobic) intervals.  For endurance workouts I think we’ll just give you a very big bucket to stay in…but I’ll have to try that out still.

For heart rate I think it’s easier to stay in a zone than it is with power.  I’ll have to do some testing though. I’m not sure if the “Target+” or a zone would be better for sweet spot and threshold workouts.

For VO2 max, anaerobic and sprint intervals there won’t be a heart rate targets.  These will be more like “Go all out for 3 min” or “Go 90% for 3 min”.  Heart rate doesn’t respond fast enough for these intervals to be effective.

Feedback

I think we still have some tweaking to do but if Picket Guard is any indication these workouts will be really fun and effective.  What do you guys think?  Did I miss anything?

-Nate



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Nate Pearson

Nate Pearson is the co-founder of TrainerRoad. He is an avid triathlete and cyclist, husband and father of two. His training is fueled by great coffee, BBQ and pie.

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