It is not a long steady effort. It's long, but hectic at times, quad busting at others, steady at others... so only training for one kind of riding is a recipe for a long day!
One workout suggested in this article was a "tempo burst interval".
Basic idea: punctuate your tempo ride with all-out efforts.
My 40 minute work-out based on this:
- 0:00 - 5:00 Warm-up
- 5:00 - 14:00 Tempo (about 85% of max)
- 7:45 - 8:00 Burst! 100% effort, out of the saddle
- 10:45 - 11:00 Burst!
- 13:45 - 14:00 Burst!
- 14:00 - 19:00 Easy - nurse heart rate down, have a drink
- 19:00 - 28:00 Tempo
- 21:45 - 22:00 Burst!
- 24:45 - 25:00 Burst!
- 27:45 - 28:00 Burst!
- 28:15 - 32:00 Easy
Early season... 32:00-35:00 Easy and done!
- 32:00 - 35:00 Tempo
- 33:30-33:45 Burst!
- 34:45 - 35:00 Burst!
- 35:00 - 40:00 Cool-down
- 40:00+ Stretch and be glad it's over!
Tried this work-out for the first time the other day - it was awesome. I was actually surprised to find the tempo pace felt a lot easier than during some of my stand-alone tempo rides... might be psychological? In any case, it was a fun ride that felt hard and satisfying, highly recommend!