Guide to Athlete Lab

What sessions should I do?

In order to get the most out of your training, the Athlete Lab Coaching Team have put together a Recommended Session Guide to help you select the right sessions depending on your training goals or upcoming events. They have been summarized into four categories: Long distance; Middle distance; Short distance; and Overall fitness.

In order to maintain your bike handling skills as well as enjoying the great outdoors, you should also be aiming to ride outside at least once per week as well.

This is to be used as a guide only – if you wish to know more about how you can train more effectively, please speak to one of our coaches about a personalised training program.
Rider TypeEventsRecommended Sessions (Based on 3-4 sessions p/wk)
Overall Fitness• Weight Loss
• Social rides
• Charity rides
• Improve base fitness
2 x Ironmania
2 x Threshold or SSE* (x1 if 3 p/wk)
(1 x ride outdoors 1-2hrs)
Long Distance
(over 2 hours duration)
• Ironman/70.3
• Sportives
• Multi-stage rides
• Long road races/club rides
• Improve endurance
2 x Ironmania (x1 if 3 p/wk)
1 x Super Strength Endurance (SSE)
1 x Threshold Booster
(1 x long ride outdoors 3hrs+)
Middle Distance
(up to 2 hours duration)
• Olympic Triathlon
• Time Trials
• Sportives
• Short road races
• Improve FTP
2x Threshold Booster or SSE (x1 if 3 p/wk)
1 x Ironmania
1 x HIIT or Power House
(1 x ride outdoors 2hrs+)
Short Distance
(up to 1 hour duration)
• Sprint Triathlon
• Crit racing
• Track racing
• Improve overall speed
2 x HIIT (x1 if 3 p/wk)
1 x Power House
1 x Threshold Booster
(1 x ride outdoors/track 1-2hrs)

Completing the Functional Threshold Power (FTP) test

As we use power as the most effective form of measuring output, we recommend new members undertake an ‘FTP’ test as soon as possible before starting their program. The result of this test will give you a number in watts that is sustainable over 1 hour – your ‘FTP’. Once completing the test you will be able to train to an accurate percentage of power and heart rate that will determine the intensity of each session. The test includes a short warm up followed by a 20 minute effort by which your average power is calculated over, and multiplied by 95% to determine the FTP.

Athlete Lab session descriptions – What do our sessions achieve?

The sessions we offer at Athlete Lab are designed to work at different training zones, as advised by Shane Sutton, British Cycling Performance Director and Head of Coaching at Athlete Lab. Each training zone refers to a different level of intensity based on a percentage of heart rate, power, interval duration and perceived exertion. Each zone will have a different effect on the body, so it is important to structure your training accordingly and include appropriate recovery.

There are five key sessions on the schedule, each lasting from 45min-1hour in duration and varying in structure. Underneath each colour-coded session is a brief description of what it is achieving and the typical improvements you can expect to gain from them.

Session TitleZoneFTP%MHR%RPEInterval duration
Ironmania256‑75%<65%1‑310‑30minCan be used as a lower intensity session with reduced FTP – spinning the legs out with a lower heart rate Improves: Base fitness, aerobic capacity, preparation for next session
Ironmania376‑90%66‑75%4‑610‑30minLonger sustainable aerobic efforts at a tempo pace Improves: Aerobic capacity, pedalling efficiency, muscle glycogen storage, weight loss
Super Strength Endurance491‑100%76‑85%5‑710‑20minAerobic efforts around FTP focusing on building bike specific strength Improves: Aerobic capacity, lactate threshold, strength, climbing ability, pedalling efficiency
Threshold Booster495‑105%76‑85%6‑810‑20minLonger intervals just below and above FTP (threshold) requiring sustained leg effort Improves: Lactate threshold, sustainable race-pace power, cardiac output, pedalling efficiency
Power House5106‑120%>85%7‑93‑8minShorter intervals at a sustained pace above threshold
Improves: Oxygen consumption (Vo2 Max), cardiac output, lactate threshold, acceleration
HIIT Hurt Box6‑7>120%Max8‑1010sec‑3minShort burst sprint intervals up to all-out effort, with high repetition and short recovery time
Improves: Anaerobic capacity, explosive power, top end speed, acceleration, higher cadence
MHR = Max Heart Rate, FTP = Functional Threshold Power, RPE = Rate of Perceived Exertion

Training Zone Descriptions – What do the numbers mean?

ZoneMHR % RangeFTP % RangeTypeRPEPhysiological Effects
1<55%<55%Recovery – Very Very Light1Extremely easy, minimal effort required, not sweating, social pace or warm up spinning
256‑65%56‑75%Base Endurance – Light2‑3Feels like can maintain for hours. Easy to breath and carry conversation
366‑75%76‑90%Tempo – Moderate4‑6Can maintain for long duration, breathing becoming deeper but can maintain comfortable conversation
476‑85%91‑105%Threshold – Hard6‑8Short of breath, becoming uncomfortable, continuous conversation difficult at best.
586‑99%106‑120%Vo2 Max – Very Hard7‑9Difficult to maintain, very hard to breath, don’t want to talk. Longer recovery needed.
6N/A>120%Anaerobic – Extremely Hard8‑10Completely out of breath, can’t talk. Longer cool down and substantial recovery needed.
7N/AN/ANeuromuscular – All OutN/AAll-out effort.

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