Sample Class: Biking the Boston Marathon

by Doris Dodge-Thews on Aug 16, 2010

Class Take-Out

Share a classic race plan with indoor cycling participants.

There’s something special about running a marathon. Why not bring the marathon indoors and give your cycling participants a runner’s high? In this class we’ll ride the Boston Marathon and create a unique and exciting experience from start to finish. Each stage is described in detail, offering rich visual imagery. By using these cues, you’ll help students feel that they are truly “in the race.” Interchange visual imagery with solid technical coaching (see the chart)—this is a proven method for making time fly by.

Biking the Boston Marathon Details

FORMAT: mixed-intensity cycling (rolling

hills, flats and intervals)

TOTAL TIME: approximately 60 minutes

EQUIPMENT NEEDED: indoor cycling bikes

MUSIC: see chart for suggestions

INTENSITY MONITORING: rating of perceived exertion

ZONE SCALE: (taken from The Schwinn® Indoor Cycling Instructor Training Manual, Stairmaster Inc.):

Easy (zone 1): warm-up, cool-down and recovery

Moderate (zone 2): challenging, but comfortable; training pace

Hard (zone 3): challenging and uncomfortable; “race pace”

Anaerobic (zone 4): not “max,” but breathless

Stage 1: Warm-Up (~6–10 minutes)

The start is lined with thousands of runners and fans. The national anthem has been sung, and the gun has started the race. Wrap your mind around the six stages ahead: warm up, rolling hills, flat, hills, the sprint to the end and the victory lap. The race plan is to bank your energy on the first half—the race really begins in the second half. When you approach Newton Hills, you’ll need to leave it all on the course.

Stage 2: Rolling Hills (~15 minutes)

The course is packed with runners, fans, and little kids handing out oranges and water. Remember: bank your energy, not your time. Fast, rolling hills start this race. Stay relaxed and comfortable on the downhills, and increase intensity on the uphills. Focus on conserving your energy. Can you keep this level of intensity? Save your legs, as you’ll need them later. Get your head and heart on the same page. What can you do to stay relaxed? Manage your breath patterns.

Stage 3: Flat (~8 minutes)

Catch your breath once you get past the rolling hills, and take it easy. Are you mentally ready for this flat? It passes through small towns and by the Charles River, where people are cheering you on! You hear a whistle in the distance. It’s a half mile to Wellesley College. The cheering gives you a second wind, and you are almost at the halfway point. Can you feel the excitement?

Stage 4: Hill Climb (~17 minutes)

This is the true start of the race. You face four hills (the Newton Hills). They get progressively more difficult, ending with the famous Heartbreak Hill. Did you follow your race plan and save your legs for the last half? People are moving to the side of the road. The Boston crowds are screaming, “Suck it up.” You feel strong on the uphill. Can you add more resistance and keep your cadence to increase your intensity without going breathless on the first three hills? Can you add more resistance to make each hill more difficult? In the last minute, kick it in and go breathless. Can you do it? Will your heart break today?

Stage 5: Intervals (~8 minutes)

While approaching the boisterous Boston College students, catch your breath and hydrate. You’re in the home stretch. Kids offer you popsicles as you make it to the heart of Boston. You pass Fenway Park, and thousands of screaming Red Sox fans are singing their favorite song, “Tessie,” as you recover on the bike. If you lack the breath to sing more than a few words, keep recovering.

You feel like a rock star as you approach the finish line. Thousands cheer you in. You hear the announcer’s voice as you approach the finish line. Dig deep to go breathless and pass three competitors in your age group. Go breathless two times in a seated sprint for 30 seconds or for a chorus of the song. During the last minute, go breathless in a seated sprint and pass your last competitor.

Stage 6: Cool-Down and Victory Lap (~8 minutes)

You did it! Did you follow the race plan today? Did you bank your energy on the first half and expend all you had on the back side? Is there something you will take with you from this ride that will enhance your future rides? Get your medal. You deserve it!

IDEA Fitness Journal, Volume 7, Issue 9

© 2010 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

About the Author

Doris Dodge-Thews

Doris Dodge-Thews IDEA Author/Presenter


Trending Articles

20 IDEA World-Renowned Presenters Share Advice on Success and Happiness

We asked some of this year’s most influential and motivating IDEA World Fitness Convention™ presenters to share the single piece of advice they would give another fitness/health pro to hel...

Smooth Move: Creative Additions to Consider for Smoothies

When looking for a quick breakfast or post-workout nourishment, almost nothing beats a smoothie. Whirl in the right ingredients and the blen...

Mindful Walking

Walking can be more than just moving physically from one location to another. It can be a metaphor for your larger life journey. Things you&...

Nuts and Peanuts Reduce Cardiovascular Risk and Prolong Lifespan

While there have been numerous studies in recent years touting the health benefits of nuts and peanuts, new research published online March ...

Cut Risk of Alzheimer’s with MIND Diet

Conservative adherence to a new diet, appropriately known by the acronym MIND, could significantly lower a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, according to a paper published o...

Yes, You CAN Develop Better Eating Habits

Analogous to laying out your exercise gear so it’s the first visual reminder you have of your commitment to exercise each day, imagine...

7 Ways to Help a Client Boost Adherence

Once a client has decided to make nutritional changes to support weight loss, you can play a key role in developing an action plan that is m...

Low Intensity vs. High Intensity: Which Is Best for Obese Adults?

The debate continues regarding the most effective exercise measures for reducing abdominal obesity and improving glucose measures.

The Reason Your Clients Don't Acieve Their Goals

Lots of people hire personal trainers or join group fitness classes hoping to lose weight. Yet many fail to meet their goals. New research suggests that “progress bias”—overestimatin...

Treadmill Performance and Mortality Link

nterested in predicting how long you’ll live? Hop on the treadmill. That’s according to researchers from the Johns Hopkins Unive...