5 Workouts That’ll Make You Feel Like a Badass – Triathlete


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It’s that funky time of year when race season is (kinda, almost) over, yet the next one seems like a faraway land, daylight feels like an increasingly rare treat, and training mojo can be hard to find. While we never advocate you forcing it (rest and recovery are real, folks!), we thought it might help to gather together some of our readers’ go-to, feel good workouts, which we’ve collated here. We asked a few different athletes to give us their favorite workouts that leave them whooping for joy, ready to crush life, and feeling like a badass. Give them a go—we hope they have the desired effect!

Workout 1: HIIT Run Repeats

This run workout is a favorite of Michelle Friedrich, who lives in Erie, Colorado, and has been racing tri for some 20 years. Her preferred race distance is sprint, so perhaps it’s no surprise that her badass workout is a HIIT one. Here it is:

Warm-up

5 min. walk

10 min. easy jog

Main set

6 x (30 sec. ALL OUT run, 30 sec. walk recovery)

5 min. easy jog between sets

Repeat 3x

And why does this workout leave you feeling a badass?

It doesn’t take a lot of time, but it really delivers a good effort of work. The 30-second efforts don’t seem long, but when you’re running all-out for that time it really takes a bit out of you. I’ve never been a fast runner, but with these intervals, I felt like I was flying! I did them during a 10-week block of HIIT workouts, and by the end of that time I had dropped my interval speeds from a 9-minute/mile pace, to a few times at sub-7-minute/mile pace, with the majority of the intervals at a 7 to 7:30-minute/mile pace. I was also doing bike interval HIIT workouts, and ended up raising my FTP (Functional Threshold Power) by 20 watts over the 10-week period.

Michelle Friedrich embarks on her HIIT run reps.

Workout 2: The Wrecker Brick

The bike-run brick workout comes from 34-year-old age grouper Craig Taylor and his coach Jim Lubinski. Taylor said you’ll need your bike on a trainer and either a treadmill or a one-loop marked out nearby. The workout consists of:

Bike

Warm-up

10 min. gradual build into 4 x 30 sec.  @ 105% FTP, 30 sec. off @ 55% FTP, followed by 3 min. recovery @ 55% FTP

Main set

5 x (8 min. @ 90% FTP + 2 min easy @ 55% FTP)

As soon as you finish the last 8 min. interval, transition to running ASAP

Run

5 x 1 mile starting at 10K pace for rep #1, building to 5K pace for rep #5

Upon finishing the final mile repeat, you transition back to the bike as quickly as possible and recover on the bike with the final 2 min. @ 55% FTP

Cool-down

Spin easy on the bike, jog an easy mile, or, as Taylor said: “Just lay on the floor of your garage.”

And why does this workout leave you feeling a badass?

This workout makes your legs feel like jello, teaches you how to transition quickly, and forces you way out of your comfort zone. I love doing this workout with a group where we will typically blast some classic rock on the speakers in the garage. I’ve learned not to be scared of this workout—just embrace the fact that the next 90 minutes are going to hurt and lean into that.

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Craig Taylor lays down the power after crushing his workout, The Wrecker. (Photo: Eric Wynn)

Workout 3: Feel the Burn Strength Sets

This workout is from 70.3 athlete Claire Vecchio, who lives in Granville, Ohio, and prefers to turn to the gym for a workout that leaves her feeling a badass. Here’s her go-to strength routine that she does after a swim, bike, or run (so there’s no warm-up included, but please warm up well with a light jog/cardio to raise your heart-rate before doing this!): 

Set 1: 3 x 8-10 reps

Hip thrust with band around knee

Bulgarian split squat into single leg deadlift 

High to low kettlebell swings

Lat pull down

Lateral bend arm raises with dumbbell

Leg lifts with butt raise

Set 2: 3 x 8-10 reps

Back squat with barbell

Fire hydrant into donkey kick with band

Goblet squat into deadlift with dumbbell or kettlebell

Alternating front arm raise with dumbbell

Push-ups: advance from knees to standard to spider

Side plank: add dips, side crunch, or toe-tap to make more challenging

And why does this workout leave you feeling a badass?

I love this routine because it hits all the major muscle groups, some of the accessory and stabilizing muscles, and there’s even some cardio thrown in there. I tend to get very bored, very easily, but with the variety and combo moves, this workout keeps me engaged the whole time. It can be a very challenging routine if you want it to be, or you can remove the bands and make it easier with lower weights, but it should take 45 to 60 minutes if done properly. I always walk away from this feeling amazing—and nothing makes me feel like more of a boss than being exhausted from an hour of weights! 

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Claire Vecchio says that work in the gym, like her Feel the Burn Strength routine, translates to better power and speed on the bike.

 

Workout 4: Sweet Spot Special

“This workout leaves me feeling like Superman!” said New-York based Reyn Cabinte, whose preferred race distance is Ironman—and he specifically loves this set because it allows him to “crush strong power numbers for a long time and it doesn’t really hurt until the very end.” The main set involves three rounds of 10 minutes at a mix of Zone 3 and 4 (or ~75-105% of FTP for those riding with power). The total workout takes 60 to 70 minutes. Here it is: 

Warm-up

10 min. easy

1 min. @ Zone 3

1 min @ Zone 4

1 min. @ Zone 5

2 min. easy

Main set

3 x 10 min. @ Sweet Spot as:

2 min. @ Zone 3a

3 min. @ Zone 4a

3 min. @ Zone 4b

2 min. @ Zone 3b

2-3 min. recovery 

3 min. @ Zone 3a

2 min. @ Zone 4a

2 min. @ Zone 3b

3 min. @ Zone 4b

2-3 min. recovery 

3 min. @ Zone 4a

2 min. @ Zone 3a

2 min. @ Zone 3b

3 min. @ Zone 4b

Cool-down

4 min. @ Zone 2 

6 min. @ Zone 1 

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Reyn Cabinte reaping the rewards on the run course from his bike sweet spot special intervals. (Photo courtesy of Gina Maria Photography)

Workout 5: Run Hill Reps

Coming from the Isle of Man (home of pro cyclist and sprinter extraordinaire Mark Cavendish), John Barrett identifies well with the need for speed—and he finds it with these hill reps, which he said are “all based on feel.” And while you can do it indoors on the treadmill, he far prefers to find a moderate gradient hill, unplug from any tech, and get outside. Here’s the workout in full:

Warm-up

10 min. very easy

Main set

3 x 90 sec. uphill running @ moderate to strong effort, easy jog back down

4 min. easy on the flat

4 x 1 min. uphill running @ very strong effort, easy jog back down

4 min. easy on the flat

5 x 30 sec. uphill running FAST, walk back down

4 min. easy on the flat

Cool-down

5-10 min. easy

And why does this workout leave you feeling a badass?

I love it because I do it free of technology (except for lapping my watch)—I don’t check heart-rate or pace, I simply put my head down and dig in, really working the hill each time—it’s just me, the hill, and the legs. I enjoy the freedom of working as hard as you feel on the day of the workout. I also find this session works well to activate your posterior chain, and helps develop good running form while also adding some sport specific strength.”

John Barrett
John Barrett finds his stride on the run course.



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