Question from a PRO member;

Hi John,
I hear you talk about your ninety minute endurance class and I would like to work up to a 90 minute class at our gym.  Could you give me the details of how your class is structured for the 90 minutes?  I have done some steady state rides in my class but this has been a difficult concept for my group to accept as some of them still feel that you have to "cough up a lung" to get a workout.  Thanks for all that you do.

Teaching 90 minute Endurance classes can be tough for many Instructors, dare I say impossible for those of you who don't understand what I'm calling an "Endurance State of Mind" (with apologies to Billy Joel).

So you have some background, I've been teaching winter endurance classes since 1999. My Instructor job with Life Time Fitness resulted from one of my students (who was also a Lifetime member) complaining to the department head about the lack of "cycling specific" classes offered at their Athletic Level clubs. His recommendation lead to my 90 minute Sunday endurance class being the first regularly scheduled class of it's type. Along they way I've developed a class that seems to play well to those who desire this type of class.

NOTE:  My class typically transitions to a full 2 hours in mid March. This year we will be starting March 11th - feel free to join us if you're in Minneapolis some weekend 🙂

So, what do I mean by an Endurance State of Mind?

Endurance is all about being able to endure something over time - and it's something you experience independently from others.

I can endure something along with you... but I can't endure something for you - that's for you alone to experience.

I talk frequently in class about the four components of Endurance:

  1. Muscular Endurance
  2. Cardiovascular Endurance
  3. Saddle Endurance - we spend a long time seated
  4. Mental Endurance

In a normal class your students are conditioned to look to you for direction, for the full time of the class. This isn't the case in my endurance classes; I'm trying to remove as much of me as possible from the class and teach everyone to look to themselves for direction, focus and motivation = Mental Endurance. It's very normal to find me riding in with the class and I may not speak for long periods of time, after laying out the basic profile. I see my role as creating the Place where we are all riding virtually. I find it helps to use structured video that includes a terrain profile.

Don't get me wrong, I'm still offering encouragement and cuing, it's just that it comes from a "we're in this together" rather than the "do do this" typical teaching mode many of us follow in a normal class.

Here's where this maybe difficult for you - having an Endurance Frame of Mind requires you to trust in the capabilities of your students.... and then let them run with it. By capability I mean viewing every student as a self-directed endurance athlete.  I actually tell them; I came here this morning believing each of you has the capability to successfully complete this class... now it's up to you to show that I was wrong.

How can you tell if you do or don't believe your students are capable? So many of us have spent our Instructing careers feeling as if we need to direct every minute of the class; every surge, hill, jump and recovery, or our class will become bored or lost.

Could you give them some short (yet specific) instructions and then let them do their own thing? Or create a place for them to be accountable for the time they are spending in your class... and then get out of their way?

Try this sometime: Lay out your plan in the introduction and explain that today everyone is doing what they feel they need. Then find a bike in the middle of the room, keep your cuing/coaching to the absolute minimum - and ride 🙂

Let me know what happens!



Originally posted 2012-02-21 18:15:54.


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