Outdoor Interval Essentials: 10 Tips for Seamless Cycling Workouts

Strava Tips

Embarking on interval training outdoors presents its own set of challenges, from navigating traffic to contending with changing terrain. To ensure your outdoor intervals are as effective and safe as possible, it’s essential to carefully plan your route and workout. Here are our top 10 tips to help you match your route to your workout seamlessly:

Plan Ahead: Decide where you want to do which intervals before you head out the door. Waiting until mid-ride to decide can lead to frustration and compromise your workout. Ensure that you choose wide roads with good pavement and minimal traffic.

Mind the Wind: Take note of wind direction and plan your intervals accordingly. Opt for intervals against the wind to maximize resistance and challenge yourself, but also mix it up occasionally for variety.


Embrace Repeats: Don’t shy away from cycling the same stretch of road back and forth (Yes, sometimes going against cycling fundamentals is ok). While it may seem repetitive and boring, it allows you to focus on your intervals without distractions and facilitates easy comparison of your efforts.

Adjust Rest Intervals: Lengthen your rest intervals slightly to ensure you’re fully recovered for the next effort. Avoid shortening them, especially during micro-intervals, to maintain consistency in your training. For micro-intervals, such as 30-15’s or 40-20’s make sure you keep the rest exactly 15 or 20 seconds.

Timing Is Flexible: Aim to place your intervals roughly in the middle of your ride, but don’t stress over precise timing. Variability in timing can add diversity to your training and keep things interesting. An interval earlier in the training, when you are fresher or later in the training is also fine. However, make sure that you cycle at least 10 minutes in and out.

Master Your Device: If you choose to upload the workout to your device (like Garmin or Wahoo), familiarize yourself with pausing or fast-forwarding intervals as you never know what is ahead of you on the road. Make sure to accommodate real-world conditions. Nothing is more frustrating than being prompted to start an interval at an inconvenient moment.

Buddy Up: Training with a partner can be highly motivating, especially for interval sessions. Ensure your training companions are aware of your plans or coordinate intervals ahead of time to stay in sync.

Consider Indoor Alternatives: When time is tight or conditions are less than ideal, indoor trainers offer a convenient solution for intense workouts. If you add a nice variety of Vo2max training, an hour-long workout is not as boring as it may sound.

Adapt to Conditions: Adjust your interval approach to suit the demands of the terrain and conditions. Opt for longer efforts into headwinds or take the lead in a group to mimic race scenarios.

Explore Alternatives: Interval training isn’t the only path to progress. Zwift races, club rides, or even leisurely group rides can offer valuable training stimuli and keep you motivated year-round. Find what works for you. JOIN takes this into account and adapt to your needs to get you the most progress.

Always remember to stay safe on the road. Find what works for you so you can stay motivated all-year-round.