Combine high and low intensity in one training session?


New Member
Mar 13, 2019
Sorry if it has been discussed before. I've done a little searching, couldn't find it:

What would be the effect of (after warming up decently) doing high intensity (e.g. hiit style bike intervals for about 10-15 minutes or a set of somewhat longer zone 4 intervals) followed by low intensity steady state (e.g. 2-3 hours of zone 2) within one training session?

I've been reading the discussions about LISS training vs high intensity, tend to agree with the idea that it's good to have both in all periods of training. Of course, how much of each differs based on the period, the athlete, the time available, etc. All of what I've read seems to assume, though, that within each training session, you do either one or the other. Is combining the two detrimental to the effect of one or the other, or does it increase the risk of making the training stress too high? Or wil you get both effects to an acceptable degree?

If it does work, it could be particularly interesting for those weeks where you can fit in too few training sessions to do everything separately.
If I understand your question, you want to know if you will get the same training benefit from a set of high intensity efforts of mixed intensity/duration versus a set of high intensity efforts of the same intensity/duration. So, for example, let's say that your schedule allows you to train 10 hours per week and your goal is 50% L4 efforts and 50% L5 efforts (i.e., 5 hours per week of each). I think you want to know if you should do all L4s one day and all L5s one day rather than a mix of L4s and L5s on each day.

I have done both and have not noticed any particular advantage of one versus the other. Specifically, I train to a target number of minutes per week by level, from L4 to L7. I don't actually manage or care about whether I do the segments on the same day or different days. I only care about the total weekly volume by level. Due to the attributes of my training routes, I don't have many segments where I can maintain L4 power longer than 5 minutes. So, I end up doing a lot of L5 work even though I would prefer to be doing L4 work. It's just hard for me to find road segments where I can ride more than 5 minutes without stopping.

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