We're definitely not talking about just cruising along in spin class. Today's drills are all about consistency. Just like your car maintains a steady speed through hills and flats when you set it to cruise control, we will be doing the same thing for several of tonight's drills. On the bike, this translates to holding the same steady pedal stroke over flat roads, up hills, in the seat and out of the saddle.
One great way to challenge yourself on the bike is to try to go the same speed even as you add resistance. We're not talking about climbing the Great Wall here, just adding a hair of resistance at a time and pushing your body to keep the same cadence. With monitors, this is easy. Just keep that number at 60 rpm or above - if you're going much slower because the resistance is too heavy, you'll lose cardio benefits and possibly damage your bike. Since the bikes in my room don't have monitors, it's my responsibility as an instructor to set the example of how fast or slow to go and provide the right tunes to give people something to pedal to.
Another challenge is to pick up the pace to a fast run that is at the edge of your aerobic zone. The goal here is to get out of your comfort zone: Your legs should ache a little and should be breathing hard but able to answer a question. At the top end of your aerobic zone, you can hold this faster pace for at least 3-5 minutes if you had to, but if you feel like you could keep going all day you're not going fast enough! If you're panting and gasping for air and your legs are on fire, then you're anaerobic and you need to back off the pace.
As always, you are the best judge of how hard you are working. Adding a couple drills like these to your cardio routine will certainly help you improve endurance as well as blast calories (and, let's face it, that's what a lot of us are out to do!)
10/4 - Cruise Control
1. warm up - flat road; pedal with both legs for first 2 minutes, right leg (leave other on the pedal, just focus on using one leg at a time) for 30s, left for 30s, then pedal evenly 'til end - "Ants Marching" Dave Matthews Band
2. warm up cont'd - 3 position run, add a gear, start in pos 1 on verse, pos 2 for the bridge, and pos 3 for the chorus; on last run through, add one more gear - "Let's Get it Started" Black Eyed Peas
3. cruise #1, run - keep whatever resistance you've added on, find the edge of your aerobic zone and try to stay their for the duration of the song - "Block Rockin Beats" Chemical Brothers
4. cruise #2, climb - add another gear and slow it down, when you stand on the chorus add a couple gears to keep the same cadence, take it off when you sit - "When I'm Gone" 3 Doors Down
5. jumps - back it off to light to med resistance, jump on an 8 count, then 4, then 2 - "A Little Less 16 Candles..." Fallout Boy
6. cruise #3, run - start at a flat road, find a pace that feels about 70% of your max effort (this should feel kinda easy to start, that's the point), every minute add a gear, it WILL get harder, TRY not to slow down! Stand for the last minute to keep up a strong pace - "Climbatize" Prodigy
7. cruise #4, climb - keep the resistance where it's at, start in pos 1 for the verse, pos 3 for the chorus; when you stand and run, add a gear then take it off when you sit (again, maintaining cadence) - "Ready to Go" Republica
8. recovery! - flat road, flush it out - "Here it Goes Again" OK Go
9. cruise #5, heavy climb - heavy resistance that you can still sit and pedal smoothly through (keep at 60 rpm), breathe deep and climb it out; this is kind of a meditative song so try to let go of all your thoughts and tension and just climb - "Purify" Balligomingo
10. standing runs w/ recovery - light resistance, pos 1 verse, pos 2 bridge, stand and run in pos 3 - "Like a Pill" Pink
11. jumps - light resistance, 8/4/2 - "Do You Want To" Franz Ferdinand
12. run it out - flat road (+ for control), sprints on chorus - "The Pretender" Foo Fighters
13. cool down - "Beyond" Balligomingo
total time ~ 56 minutes