Bike TrainingTraining

Workout Wednesday – Hill Training for Flatlanders

Contributed by Ian King

Mountains are obviously what make mountain biking fun, right? Unfortunately, some of us live in places where the only “hill” within a 2-hour drive is a highway overpass. Instead, we have to find some less than conventional ways to go about training, especially for races with lots of climbing like the upcoming XTERRA Beaver Creek on July 15th.

Ian King Hill Training Photo: Ian King
Feeling hard core? Push your brake so it’s rubbing to get extra resistance. Photo: Ian King

It’s probably a safe assumption that most of us training for cross triathlons have a preference to ride trails, but sometimes a road or trainer ride is necessary to get in a higher quality workout. For this workout, we are looking to get the same sort of torque on flat ground or a trainer that you’ll see climbing. This workout is probably best performed on a trainer with resistance set fairly high, but I’ve done it on my road bike as well, even bumping my rear brake over to rub a little bit. It’s great to have a power meter or at least heart rate monitor for it, but you can go by effort level if that’s all you’ve got.

Ian King Hill Training Photo: XTERRA Chile
Ian King at XTERRA Chile Photo: XTERRA Chile

Warm Up

  • 15 minute easy spin. Keep it light.
  • 5x [30 seconds on /30 seconds off], fast legs 100+ rpm, hard enough to wake everything up, but not an all out max effort.
  • 5 minutes recovery, mentally prepping for the main set.

Main Set

8 to 12 times through the following. All of this will be at or above your race effort/heart rate/power. A key part of this is to stay seated for the whole effort.

  • 30sec 70-80 rpm
  • 30sec 60-70 rpm
  • 30sec 50-60 rpm
  • 90sec recovery
Ian King Hill Training Photo: XTERRA
Ian King suffering up the hills at the XTERRA Pan Am Championship in 2016 Photo: XTERRA

Cool Down

  • 15 minutes. Spin those legs out to help them flush out.

Again, the key is to stay consistent and just continuously load your legs with more and more torque throughout each interval. Ideally, we would all live in places with awesome riding, but this workout is one of the keys that my coach Jon Mason of MP Multisport has given me quite a few times for my own racing while I’ve lived in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

About the author:

Ian King Photo: XTERRA

Ian King is a second-year cross triathlon elite living in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Ian’s most notable results include 8th at 2016 XTERRA Oak Mountain, 4th at the Armed Forces Triathlon Championship, and 7th in the XTERRA Pan American Tour. In addition to triathlon, Ian serves on active duty in the United States Coast Guard. You can follow Ian on Instagram and Twitter.




Will Kelsay

Will Kelsay is one of the top cross triathletes in the world with a 10 year career spanning 5 continents competing in more than 18 countries. He has 20 career wins and more than 70 top 5 finishes. Anyone who has met him knows his passion for the sport is only overshadowed by his huge smile & his appetite for fun.

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