Workout of the Week: Acceleration Intervals

Rev your legs with this versatile bike workout.

lauren vallee picture
Lauren Vallee in action at the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, October 2022. Photo: Justin Luau

This week’s Workout of the Week comes from endurance coach and athlete Lauren Vallee and is a session that can serve one of two purposes. It can either be used as a prep ride the day before a high-intensity intervals bike workout or it can be used after a tough ride or run to help flush the legs and expedite recovery.

Sometimes active recovery and prep workouts are like the vegetables of a training week. They’re not super sexy and sometimes, strangely, they can be hardest ones to get excited to execute. This workout allows an athlete to crack out 60 minutes of prep or active recovery with more focus and benefit than simply spinning for an hour. If you want to make this session higher intensity—simple, just increase the intensities of each interval.

You’ll begin with a smooth 20-minute warm-up, riding at your optimal cadence. Once well warmed up, it’s time to hit the main set, which involves seven rounds of five minutes of work, done at varying intensities and cadences, all outlined below. Wrap up the workout with a five-minute easy cooldown.

Workout of the Week: Acceleration Intervals


20-min. smooth warm up, self-selected cadence

Main set

7 rounds of:

90 sec. moderate effort (RPE 4/10) @ 5-10 RPM under your racing cadence

60 sec. strong effort (RPE 6/10) @ your racing cadence

30 sec. very strong effort (RPE 8/10) @ 5-10 RPM over your racing cadence

2 min. smooth/easy


5 min. smooth pedaling