Profile: HIIT It Hard…Then Cruise!

I have a feeling this will become your new favorite profile. It’s got two different training objectives that work well together. The first half is a series of high-intensity intervals (60/60s and 30/30s) and the second half is a 22-minute steady-state effort at tempo. (“Tempo” is the name given to Zone 3, a moderate intensity.) 

There are a few obstacles you’ll encounter in the steady-state segment, however. Every 3 or 4 minutes, there is a short surge in effort to Zone 5, either through higher cadence or increased resistance. The goal is to immediately return to the tempo effort. The second half of the ride may in fact be the biggest challenge for some of your riders, even though ostensibly, it looks like it should be “easier.” Because the second half consists of steady output without recovery, one of the benefits is improved muscular endurance.

It’s an extremely rewarding workout. Even though it’s pretty hard, it’s also accessible to most people and not overwhelmingly difficult. When I taught this profile the other day, I told my riders at the end of class that they should consider themselves the luckiest people in this club because they showed up that morning and they got the best workout of anyone else in the four clubs of this community! I also told them that when they get their email summary of their workout, most of those calories burned that they see in that summary will have come from the second half of class, not the first, even though they worked at a higher intensity earlier in the ride. That is the benefit of steady-state work! 

While the intensity is given in power zones, if you don’t have power meters, it’s easy to teach this profile. I provide you with helpful perceived exertion cues to coach your riders through the workout so they can hit the target intensity and receive the same benefits as those training with power. 


  1. Thanks, Jennifer. I’m new to ICA and put together this workout for my class (45 mins with some song changes) using two 60/60’s, one 30/30 and a 10 minute Tempo ride (with recoveries in-between). My class loved it. They all agreed that the steady output was challenging. We have the Stages bikes but not the “Zones” chart so I use the RPE chart that we have in the room which is slightly different but it works. Thanks again and even though I have been instructing 30 plus years your website is so informative! Thank you!

    1. Author

      Thanks, Susanne, so glad you enjoyed the profile and are getting a lot out of ICA! If you have any questions about anything on ICA, don’t hesitate to reach out!

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