Criterium Workout of the Week: 30-30s

What good is any criterium racer who can't do high intensity interval training (HIIT)? We like to use these 30-30s or Tabata intervals to really engage an athletes anaerobic system. The explosive efforts are short and unsustainable and coupled with a rest that's incomplete (too short) this workout really quenches the big power thirst of criterium racing.

As the name suggests the 30-30s are 30 seconds at 130-140% functional threshold power (FTP) and 30 seconds of recovery.  The number of efforts in a set will vary depending on the goal of the workout and the athlete fitness level. When it's done the ride file should look like this:

30-30 ride

This athlete was supposed to emphasize the first few seconds with a "pop" before targeting a 130-140% power for 12 minute sets.

Looking at the same workout in a heat map tells you exactly how hard it is....

30-30 heat

Lots of zone 5 and 6 here. Considering this athlete would typically perform 16 minutes at zone 5 or higher in criteriums we'd probably look to add one more set to his progression at some time.


Finally, let's take a look at how this workout affected the anaerobic capacity or dynamic functional reserve capacity (dFRC) as it was being completed.

30-30 dFRC

As you can see these sets were very challenging for the athlete. The dFRC drops from nearly 100% to nearly zero in the model.  That's a really big "match" to burn in training and a few weeks later this athlete was able to add 2kJ to his dFRC in large part because of this workout.


The caveat to 30-30s is that they are HARD. Physically, they push you to your limit. Emotionally, they push you to the precipice of cracking.  Because of this we use them systematically, but sparingly.  A little bit of dose here goes a long way.