I’ve found the best way to keep riders focused in a steady-state endurance or tempo ride indoors is to vary the cadence while varying the intensity slightly. I call this concept “Ebb and Flow.” The “ebbs” are slightly slower cadences and the “flows” are somewhat higher cadences.
I first came up with the concept for this profile in 2017 and posted it here on ICA. Since then, I’ve had great success with it and have done many different variations of this ride. I tend to use songs and coaching from the endurance/tempo profiles on ICA, such as Reverie, The Delicious Ride, Aerobic Intervals 3X15 Minutes, and this 90-Minute Endurance Ride, as well as some of the coaching concepts in this article on mantras for endurance.
I created a new Ebb and Flow playlist this week that was a big hit with my riders. It was actually requested by one of my participants last week—I taught it back in December and he wanted more of that steady-state work. He’s a rider who enjoys rock and roll so I made sure to include some classic rock (and rock remixes) along with indie, D&B, and other mainstream tracks.
I loaded this profile into the Stages Studio system which you can see in the diagram below. In the Stages Studio system, blue is Zone 1, green is Zone 2, Yellow is Zone 3, and Orange is Zone 4 (threshold). [Missing from this ride is red, Zone 5, maroon, Zone 6, and purple, Zone 7, or maximal effort.] There are a few leg surges to Zone 4 early on to wake up the legs, but you can see the entire main set of the ride is in the yellow (Zone 3) moderate zone. You can see the subtle ebbs and flows of intensity from one song to the next. I tell my class, “you can see there is no red in today’s ride…but, that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Note that the is also no blue in the main set of the ride!”
I hope you enjoy this profile and new playlist. Make sure to download the original Ebb and Flow profile to get more specific details about how to coach the ride. If you need additional coaching ideas for steady-state and aerobic rides, download the other linked profiles above—they are filled with great cues.
Used Ebb and Flow this morning and everyone loved it!!
Thanks so much for another great profile!
Isn’t it great, Mary? Every time I’ve used it, even at a new studio where I was a little apprehensive about the class accepting a steady-state aerobic effort, my class has loved it. I had no reason to be worried!