Modifying Your Profile On the Fly

Hey Five Spokes!  Have you ever created a profile that looked great on paper or seemed awesome in your head, but when you actually delivered it, your primary thought was: What was I thinking??

I’ve had several instructors ask me how to adjust profiles “on the fly”. It’s a great question and the answer starts with keeping options in mind as you design your profile. Let’s use the “Threshold See-Saw” profile shown below. It’s a hard ride designed for fit riders, and I have to admit I didn’t realize just how hard it was going to be for some of the riders. Fortunately, there are several ways to modify your profiles on the fly if any of your regular riders aren’t ready for that level of intensity or if new riders show up for class that day.

Option 1: Keep the structure the same and offer alternatives and coach sensibility throughout.

Yes, coaching sensibility is standard practice for all profiles, but with really challenging profiles it’s critical. For example, in the “Threshold See-Saw” profile, instead of the challenge being “just under” threshold in the later sets, coach riders to set a target below threshold that respects how they’re feeling and sets them up for the over threshold effort. For the over threshold effort, let riders know that one watt over threshold is over threshold or similar language that reassures them that it’s more important to be smart about the challenge you’re laying out rather than knocking themselves out to meet a goal that’s ultimately counter-productive for the condition they are in or how they are feeling that day.

Option 2: If you notice that your class just doesn’t have the right juice that day, change the structure on the fly.

For the Threshold See-Saw profile, here are five examples:

  1. Drop one of the “repeats” and extend the recovery time. So three sets instead of four and 2:00 recoveries instead of 1:00.
  2. Offer standing climbs instead of seated to get over threshold
  3. Use all seated efforts if standing is not in their toolkit.
  4. Suggest riding at threshold vs. over.
  5. For the second and third sets, extend the under threshold time by 30 seconds and reduce the over threshold time to 30 seconds.

There are lots of alternatives, but these are easy changes that will make a difference.

For experienced instructors, modifying on the fly can be second nature, but it’s also something that we can get lax about because we can get so committed to delivering the ride we have in mind. For newer instructors, modifying a profile on the fly can definitely be challenging. There’s so much to be tracking already that changing things up can be unnerving for sure. BUT, give it a try. You will get used to it and your riders will definitely appreciate your efforts!

Threshold See-Saw – 45 Minutes

Warm up

Find Best 2:00 Effort (BE)/Threshold: Seated, good form, steady cadence. Recover 2:00. Repeat.

1. Seated, 1:00 just under BE; 1:00 just over; 1:00 recover
2. Repeat for a total of 4 rounds.12:00
3. Standing climb, 1:00 just under BE; 1:00 just over; 1:00 recover. Repeat for a total of 4 rounds. 24:00
4. Rider’s choice: seated or standing. 2:30 under; 2:00 @TH; 30 sec over TH29:00
5. Full Recovery


Share this!

Leave a Comment

For security, use of Google's reCAPTCHA service is required which is subject to the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

I agree to these terms.