Hill workouts are probably the best short-duration, high-return workouts you can do. Hill workouts/repeats can have many different training stresses, based on the length and steepness of the hill. Whether the athlete tries to stay in the saddle for hip strength building, or is out of the saddle building anaerobic power and endurance, shows the many different possibilities to consider when choosing a hill or hill repeats session.
One of the favorites I created actually came from my mountain bike racing days:
"On your mtb, warm-up for one hour easy. Go to a challenging climb which takes 1 to 2 mins. Start in your middle ring, easiest cog, go to top. Ride down, up one gear, repeat. Go until you do not make the climb. Then go back and try that gear again. If you don't make, go back down, one gear at a time, back to the middle ring, easiest cog. Remember the highest gear you made it in, (we'll do it in the future again)."
@jimvance ur meals, perhaps, or your preparation for the big events...
I assume this question is about nutrition heading into a big event. I'm not a Registered Dietitian, so I would recommend if you want something specific to consult one of them. However, I can tell you I see a lot of athletes change their diet heading in a big event, doing things such as "carbo-loading". In my opinion, changing your diet right before a big event is a bad idea. You don't need to "carbo-load". If you've rested and prepared yourself properly, the body is likely ready based on the diet you normally do. The body doesn't respond to changes in diet very well in the short term, so keep this in mind.
@jimvance I'm interested in learning about pre-race and race day nutrition so I can practice during my training.
Doug, two books I would highly recommend, Paleo Diet for Athletes, and Metabolic Efficiency Training. You will learn a lot from these books about understanding timing, and amount of calories/nutrition needed for any event.
@jimvance Topic: how to stay mentally fresh and motivated through the entire season.
Use data, so you can track progress, and see how you're improving. Seeing improvement is the key to believing in what you're doing, and being/staying excited about it. Also, don't race too much. Being motivated on the start-line is usually one of the biggest factors of race performance. Can't go to the well too much, or motivation is lost, performance suffers.
@jimvance it would be interesting to hear your views on field testing & using self collected data in training vs. a trad method like hr/rpe
I believe in data, but mostly care about output data. Field testing is the cheapest and best way to get the data I want, and track athlete progress. On raceday, when an athlete has matured, I let them observe data, but I do not want them to let it control their decisions and RPE. On raceday, an athlete should be asking more from their body than they ever have, so seeing bigger numbers and values should be expected.
@jimvance could you go into more depth regarding weights after bike ride and neurological more demanding first?
A weight bearing exercise, like running, is more neurologically demanding than a non-weight bearing, like swimming and cycling. There is just more demand on the body physically, with moving joints, coordination, etc. Starting with a less neurologically demanding exercise, like weights, only fatigues the body and makes the higher-demanding exercises that follow it, all that much harder. Technical flaws become more evident, and poor habits can be ingrained.
That said, triathlon is the act of running in a fatigued state, from less neurologically demanding sports of swimming and biking. So on occasion, it might be best for an athlete to simulate this in their training. But this will vary from athlete to athlete, based on their skills and fitness.
Thanks for the great questions!