Pro-Worthy Workout: 8 x 10 with Laura Siddall

By Laura Siddall, Professional Triathlete

One of the sessions I used several times in the last few months combines a mix of cadence, power and the relative HR response and stresses. I have a love/hate relationship with this workout, because the higher cadence is not natural for me and can be really uncomfortable.

Yet, doing this work is key to developing and expanding my tools for riding, and is something I can implement through terrain and physical resource management on race day.

The workout is a series of 10-minute pieces:

  1. 10 minutes, broken into 2-minute blocks with a cadence increase/decrease pyramid.
    • For example, 2 mins at 95 RPM, 2 mins at 105 RPM, 2 mins at 115 RPM, 2 mins at 105 RPM, and 2 mins at 95 RPM.
    • The aim being to generate the most amount of power possible at these cadences.

  2. 10 minutes of recovery. Stay strong and smooth, rather than just spinning (unless you are completely cooked).

  3. 10 minutes, broken into 2-minute blocks maintaining a set power (e.g., half iron-distance watts), whilst increasing your cadence in the 2-minute pyramid. (e.g. 95, 105, 115, 105, 95 RPM)

    This image shows the 10-minute block keeping watts constant with a cadence pyramid
    This image shows the 10-minute block keeping watts constant with a cadence pyramid. Aim for 2-minutes at 95, 100, 105, 100, 95 RPM. My actual average cadence for each 2-min section was 97, 99, 105, 99, 94 RPM. I then transitioned into a minute or two of reset before 10 minutes of smooth recovery.

  4. 10 minutes of recovery. Stay strong and smooth, rather than just spinning (unless you are completely cooked).

  5. 10 minutes, broken into 2-minute blocks maintaining power (e.g., above half iron-distance watts), whilst decreasing cadence. I tend to use a gradient for this (e.g., 2 minutes at 75, 65, 55, 65, 75 RPM).

    Average data for one 10-minute piece of work
    Average data for one 10-minute piece of work, holding constant power with cadence pyramid, 2-minutes at 75, 65, 55, 65, 75 RPM with comparative HR.

  6. 10 minutes of recovery. Stay strong and smooth, rather than just spinning (unless you are completely cooked).

  7. Repeat the same 10-minute structure as #3 above.

  8. Finish with 10 minutes at full iron-distance effort.

The first time I did this workout it was a shock. Trying to maintain power along with the higher cadences was a challenge, while the low cadence pyramid was fine. The second time I did this workout, it was still a shock. However, the second time around there was a notable and immediate improvement in power and heart rate response.

It's worth noting that this session is supported by preparatory training, specifically around good pedaling skills, strength endurance work and high cadence work.

The aim is to be building the tools and skill sets that enable you to ride the terrain and manage your body's resources on race day.


Laura Siddall

Laura Siddall is a truly global athlete, from Nottinghamsire, England, originally, she's spent several years in Sydney, Australia, before a couple of years in San Francisco. She now splits her time chasing summer between the Southern Hemisphere, in Christschurch, New Zealand, and the Northern Hemisphere in Europe and the USA. A mechanical engineering degree holder, Laura has been involved with sports for most of her life. 

Laura tried triathlon back in 2009 and hasn't looked back since. She made the leap to Pro ranks, moved to San Francisco to train under the guidance of coach Matt Dixon and chase the Pro Triathlete life. You can follow Laura over at her website@lmsiddall on Twitter and Instagram.





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