This week, we reached out to power guru Hunter Allen for his off-season riding wisdom in the hope of helping your transition to the great indoors training and build on the momentum from your steady summer riding.
Hunter is a legendary cycling coach, co-author of Training and Racing with a Power Meter and Cutting-Edge Cycling, co-developer of TrainingPeaks’ WKO+ software and founder of Peaks Coaching Group. You can download his free How to Start Training with Power ebook.
“I got into cycling because my parents didn’t want to get me a motorbike,” laughs Hunter who made his early beginnings in BMX at the age of 11 and later joined the professional Team Navigators where he raced for 17 years in Europe, South America, the USA, and Canada, and accumulating over forty career victories.
Here’s one of Hunter’s favourite indoor routines: Sweet Spot with bursts and Tractor pulls
- Warm up
- 15 minute warm-up (60% of FTP) with 1 x 3 minute effort at 100% of FTP watts to wake up the system
- 5 minutes easy at 60% of FTP
- Main segment
- Nail it at 88-95% of FTP for 2 x 20 minutes, do a burst every 2 minutes to 120% of FTP, hold for 10 seconds, come back to 88-93%
- Rest at 60% of FTP for 5 minutes between each 20 minute effort
- 10 x Tractor Pulls! These are big gear intervals (53:13) – starting at 50 rpm at a slow speed of 8-10mph. Stay seated for each one, and keeping abs tight and hands on the drops. Try to rip the handlebars off the bike!!! STOP the effort when you reach 85-90 rpm. Recover at 80% of FTP between each for 3 minutes.
- Cool down
- 10 minutes easy spinning at 60% of FTP
Since retiring from professional cycling, Hunter has become a USAC elite-level coach, a certified nutritional consultant, a certified yoga and tai chi instructor, personal trainer and a fitness and wellness entrepreneur. To date, this Bedford, Virginia resident has coached more than 400 athletes spanning Olympic, pro and weekend warrior levels, with a philosophy based on leveraging power output.
“Power has really revolutionized how we train for cycling,” says Hunter whose cycling training business includes more than 50 coaches across the United States. “Nowadays, athletes can be very sophisticated about their preparation to ensure the highest level of efficiency. With power data, its possible to train for specific races, courses and even isolated trail features.”
While Hunter sees tremendous performance benefits in using power meters, he also believes power makes riding more fun.
“What’s neat about riding with power is that, in addition to helping cyclists improve, it also adds a very fun dimension to biking,” he tells. “Just when you think you’ve got everything figured out, you add a power meter to your bike and all of a sudden you discover a whole other world. This invigorates a lot of cyclists because it makes things new again.”
When asked what one tip he’d like to share, Hunter is quick to say: “Invest in yourself. We can all spend money in a lot of different ways but to invest proactively in your fitness and seek good advice makes a lot of sense,” tells the coach who frequently leads winter cycling camps in California and Spain.
“Many people think that having a coach is unattainable and limited to the elite but really, it’s probably the best investment you can make in yourself if you want to see meaningful results,” he concludes.