30-second special

Emma-Kate Lidbury gives you a bike workout that will push you to your limits and then some. Get ready…


10-15min steady ride. Build the pace and
include some 20-30sec pick-ups increasing to max effort.

Main session

30mins of 30secs ‘on’, 30secs ‘off’ with the ‘on’ efforts max effort/pace and the ‘off’ as easy spin.


10-15min steady ride.

Equipment needed

Bike, bike shoes, bike kit/clothing, helmet, glasses, energy drink, bike computer or power meter.

Performance benefits

This session is ideal for getting your body used to working at its maximum. If completed consistently, you’ll notice the benefits translate to your aerobic and anaerobic bike fitness with improved ability to ride for extended periods at race pace. This should mean one thing on race day: faster bike splits!

Mental benefits

If done correctly, this session will hurt – and it’s supposed to. This teaches not only your body but your mind, too, about working at your maximum. It’s great practice for racing when you need to have tested yourself in training in order to have plenty of mental coping strategies in place to deal with pushing through the pain come race day. It might be that concentrating on pedalling technique or smooth breathing helps get you through. Find what works for you – and stick to it.

Physiological benefits

Be warned – this workout will sting! Although working at your maximum for 30secs might not initially seem like a long time, doing so continually for 30mins is a great way of getting used to working at/around your anaerobic threshold. Trying to hold pace/power towards the latter stages of the 30min interval (when fatigued) will help boost your top-end bike fitness and should translate to greater overall bike-specific power and strength. Stay seated throughout and aim to hold the same pace/power on each maximum effort.

How to fit it in

To really get the most from this session, it’s best to do it on relatively fresh legs, so don’t schedule it a day after a hard run. Do it on a day when you won’t be doing any other intense workouts and don’t schedule another hard bike or run session the day after it. Stick to swimming and/or lower intensity running and cycling instead.

Adapt for Ironman

Do this session in the latter stages of a longer ride so your legs already have a few miles in them when it comes to increasing the pace. Alternatively, try a double ride day and do a longer ride in the morning then a shorter session later on which includes these intervals.

THREE sub-15min SETS


Time taken: 5mins

Place a band around your knees. Keeping them slightly bent, take a step to the side and then step with your trail leg, performing a squat each time you step. Take 10 steps sideways, rest for 30secs, then take 10 steps in the other direction. This helps activate and strengthen your glutes.


Time taken: 5mins

With a band around your knees, keep it tight with your knees slightly bent and take a step forward with one foot then the other. Be sure to push your knees out as you step. Try to keep your hips square. Take 20 steps in total, 10 with each leg. You should also feel this in your glutes.


Time taken: 5mins

Holding a weight, do a set of calf raises, pushing up off your toes and slowly coming back down. Repeat 10 times. Then point your feet out Charlie Chaplin style and repeat. Finally, bring your toes in so you’re pigeon-toed and repeat the exercise. This works both your calves and glutes.