Motorpacing for Little 500? (6 week crit plan)

Hey guys,

I’m starting the 6 week crit intervals plan coming off the 18 week SSB, and was planning on doing some motorpacing before I listened to the Big 3 Intervals podcast! The event I’m training for is the IU Little 500! I felt that the Crit plan was the most race-specific.

The race itself consists of 200 laps (50 miles) on a cinder track with 4 teammates. Each “set” will generally consist of a 10-20 second sprint onto the back of the field, 6-15 minutes at Z4 with a few bursts, and a 20 second sprint to end the set.

With the uniqueness of the race, should I be motorpacing on this the bikes we use? Everybody rides the same 46x18t gear with coaster-brakes and flat pedals, and usually average 115 rpm in the pack. What motorpacing intervals should I be looking at doing (threshold, Vo2?)

You’ll have to go off of heart rate when you are motor pacing, but the best thing to do is go at race pace heart rate. Ideally the person driving the motor can see your heart rate so they know the effort you are doing and can maintain that pace. You could do sprints around the motor as well every so often like following an attack going faster and etc. But you should keep your heart rate at race pace for when you are in the race.

Since you are training for Little 500 and won’t be doing the whole race as you rotate in and out my guess is the effort is faster than what you could maintain for say an hour motor pace session. So you may have to vary the pace you do. 5 - 10 minutes really fast, then slow it down a bit, then back up. That is an idea. But really training comes down to being specific towards your event.

Practice safety as well!

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I’m from B-town and coached a few little 500 teams.
I would recommend 446 for motor pacing (you could do the worlds course), the other option is the forest TT out and back. If you do motorpace, do it on your road bikes for safety to have hand breaks. Target just slightly higher cadences then normal to simulate your gear ratio. You can even do this as a team and do rotations of each rider spending a minute or so behind the motor. But realize that the more riders you have the harder this will be and you will have to go off of the back rider.

Just some suggestions. Good luck at little five!


Hey Isaiah,

That’s awesome you’re from Bloomington. Were you ever affiliated with the Upland Team? I’ll be racing with them this summer for the first time. Thanks for the motorpacing advice, we’re going to use 446.

I have one more training question. For the 6 week Crit plan I’m following, the Tues workout is typically Tabatas, Wednesday is VO2 intervals, and Saturday varies.

I’m sure you know the race is a tad different than a crit (i.e. no corners so no sprints every 30-60 seconds). I’m planning on replacing an interval day with something more race specific like a 3x8 min criss-cross or threshold interval and doing a progression from 3x8 to 5x12 or 4x15 min for repeatability. With that being said, if I was going to replace the Tabata, VO2, or Saturday workout (kitchen sink, 4x1s) , which interval type would you recommend I replace?

Little 500 is currently 7 weeks away, hopefully these next 6 weeks will give us the bump we need to make the jump from top 10 to top 5!


I was. I raced for Upland for 1 year when they first started out years back. Say hi to Spencer for me! Fun team for sure.

Little 5 is for sure a bit more specific then the criterium plan targets. If you are going to trade out intervals I would suggest the tabatas. You will be doing hard jumps during the race but the nature of the race means that an over/under would be more accurate where the top end is capped a bit but you need to stay on it just slightly in the recovery.

So I would say leave the weekends the same and replace the midweek tabatas to specialize for the race.

Good luck and go get that top 5!