Friel Workout Terms


E2: Endurance

    Ride in heart rate zone 2.  Use rolling hills to keep you in zone 2.  Remain seated on any uphill portions to build and maintain force while pedaling at higher end of your normal candence range.


M1: Tempo

    Flat road course or on a trainer, ride in HR Zone 3 for 20 to 60 minutes.  Stay in aerodynamic position.

M2: Cruise Intervals (foundation for most of the muscular endurance workouts).

    Flat road course or on a trainer, do 3 to 5 intervals that are 6 to 12 minutes long.  Intensity in HR Zone 4 to Zone 5.  Time trial cadence.  Recover for 2 to 3 minutes between intervals.  Recovery intensity is extremely low.   Can be done twice weekly and combined with another workout (do second if you combine them).

M3: Hill Cruise Intervals

    Same as M2 except intervals are done on a long 2 to 4 percent grade.  Do 2 to 3 intervals on flat terrain first.

M4: Criss-Cross Threshold

    On flat road course, ride 20 to 40 minutes alternating between HR zone 4 to zone 5 every 3 to 5 minutes.  Use TT cadence and an aerodynamic position.

M5: Threshold

    Mostly flat road course, ride 20 to 40 minutes nonstop at HR Zone 4 to 5.  Stay in aerodynamic position.  TT cadence.

M6:  Shifting Cruise Intervals

    Same as cruise intervals except shift between higher and lower gear every 30 to 60 seconds.  Maintain HR Zone 4 to 5 for 60 seconds then shift to a higher gear and hold high HR Zone 5 for 30 seconds.  Repeat throughout cruise interval. Use TT cadence and aerodynamic position.   The MAXIMUM interval time for this workout should not exceed 30 minutes.


A1: Anaerobic Endurance Interals

    Mostly flat course (or trainer) do 4-6 intervals of 3-5 minutes duration each.  Very high cadence, higher than you’d normally use.  Heart rate zone 5.   Recover several minutes between intervals.  

A2: Pyramid Intervals

    intervals of 1-2-3-4-5-4-3-2-1 minutes long with recovery equal to the current interval duration.  Cadence is very high (105+) and with a HR Zoen 5 target.   Recover at lowest possible effort.

A3: Hill Intervals

    Go to steep hill (off road if possible) that takes about 3 minutes to climb and do 4 to 6 climbs.  Stay seated with a cadence higher than you normally climb with.  HR Zone 5.  Recover by spinning easily down the hill for 3 minutes.  Do 9 to 18 minutes of total climbing time per workout.

A4: Lactate Tolerance Reps

    Do this to prepare for fast starts.  Find a slight uphill grade or do into the wind.  After a long warm-up, do 3 to 5 sets of 30 to 40 second repetitions.  Cadence is high and recovery is half as long as preceeding interval.  After each set, recover for 5 minutes.  Total repetitions should not exceed 12 minutes.   This is a stressful workout so make sure you get 48 hours recovery between workots.  This is confusing so Friel gives an example workout:

    3 sets of 30 second reps done 4 times with 15 second recovery.   Then rest 5 minutes.

A5: Long Hill Reps

    6 to 8 percent grade do 4 to 8 reps of 90 seconds each.  The first 60 seconds are done seated in HR Zone 5.  In the last 30 seconds, shift to a higher gear, stand and drive the bike to the top in high HR Zone 5.  Cadence is high but higher in the last 30 seconds.  Reover for 4 minutes between reps.

A6: Race Simulation

    Ride with a group that is appropriate for your ability and simulate a race.  Practice monitoring your HR and power zones.  Also work on race tactics.

A7: Time Trial

    Find an off-road loop that takes 10 to 20 minutes to complete.  Terrain should be similar to your next top priority race.  Complete 2 to 4 TT on this course, trying to decrease your time with each attempt.  Do up to 40 minutes of total TT time.  Recover for 5 to 10 minutes between attemps.


P1: Jumps

    5 sets of 5 jumps for a total of 15 to 25 jumps.  Each jump is approximately 15 seconds long with a 1 minute recovery between jumps and 5 minute recovery between sets.  Cadence is very high as well as intensity.  Heart rate is not applicable.

P2: Hill Sprints

    4-6% grade hill (on or off road) do 8 to 12 sprints of 8 to 10 seconds each.  Take 5 seconds to make a flying start while standing on pedals.  Continue to stand while climbing.  High cadence and high intensity.  Heart rate is not applicable.

P3: Crit Sprints

    Go to off-road, short loop course with several tight corners.  Do 6 to 9 sprints of 25 to 35 seconds with one or more tight corners on each sprint.  Concentrate on powerful pedaling while taking the most effective line.  5 minute recovery between sprints.   I also do this on a trainer/road, although you don’t get the explosive power training you do on a trail with the tight corners.  


F2:Big Gear Climbs

    Find hill with steep grades (+8%) that takes 2 minutes to climb.  Select a gear that is higher than you’d normally use.  Stay seated during the climb.  Cadence of 60 rpm or higher.  Heart Rate Zone: 4-5 Do as many climbs as you want.


S1: Spin-Ups

    After warm-up, gradually increase your cadence to maximum candence every 5 minutes over a 30-second period.  Maximum candence without bouncing.  Recover 5 minutes between spin-ups.  Repeat Several Times.

S2: Isolated Leg:

    Pedal with only one leg at 80-100 rpms concentrating on a smooth pedal stroke.  Change legs when fatigued.  Repeat several times.  HR and power are not important.

S3: Fixed Gear

    Appropriate gear for you to maintain 90 rpms or higher when riding comfortably on a flat course.  Use small chain ring and large cog.  Gradually add gently rolling hills.  Heart rate zone: 2-3.  

 S4:Form Sprints

    Do 6-10 sprints on downhill or tailwind.  Each sprint lasts 10 seconds with a recovery of 2-3 minutes.  Focus on form and technique.  Do these alone in a workout.