EPC Tips - Anaerobic Power Intervals

Jun. 4, 2015

This is a personal favorite session of mine to build the top-end anaerobic power required for off-road racing. The nature of off-road racing requires very hard efforts well above our steady state "race pace."  These hard efforts in a race where anaerobic power is required are frequently the crucial points in the race that make or break your finishing position. Being able to go into the "red zone" for brief periods of time and recover between them is critical to racing success. This type of training is also beneficial for steady-state on-road racing as well because it pushes you out of your comfort zone in a controlled environment to improve your overall fitness and efficiency.

By training the anaerobic power zone (120-180% of threshold power) you will become accustomed to the efforts making them more manageable on race day and making effort levels under this power much more tolerable.

Heart rate is not useful when training this energy system as the intensity is very high for very relatively short periods of time. Your heart rate will lag behind the effort/intensity you are putting forth. Training with a power meter is the most effective way to perform these types of intervals. Perceived exertion is next best option. The effort is not an "all out" effort, but rather a very hard controlled effort for the interval duration. Notice that the intervals are set at 25% of the duration of the max power/effort for the energy system being trained (accompanied with relatively large recovery intervals). This makes the intervals feel relatively tolerable despite the high output.


  • 10:00+ easy
  • 5:00 build to threshold power
  • 3:00 easy


1-3 Rounds* of the following set:

  • 4x [0:15 @ 1:00 maximum power (appx. 170-180% of threshold power), 0:45 recoveries]
  • 5:00 easy
  • 4x [0:30 @ 2:00 max power (appx. 140-150% of threshold power), 1:30 recoveries]
  • 5:00 easy
  • 4x [1:00 @ 4:00 max power (appx. 120-130% of threshold power), 2:00 recoveries]

* if doing multiple rounds, take 10:00+ easy between rounds


  • additional riding to meet volume goals
  • 5-10:00 easy spin
Written by Cody Waite, professional endurance athlete, endurance sport coach and founder of Endurance Performance Coaching. Looking for help with your training for 2015? Check out EPC’s Personal CoachingGroup Coaching, and Custom Training Plan options created to fit your needs and budget. Don’t forget to ‘LIKE’ the EPC Facebook Page and follow Cody on Instagram
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