How to improve 1 minute power?



Blackie

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Feb 26, 2003
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Hi, I'm a UK 3rd cat and have recently started training with a PT. After base training, I've done my power profile using AC's numbers, and no surprise, I find I'm a 3rd cat rider! ie FT around 270W etc, and VO2max and 5sec power in the range. The one anomaly was my one minute power which was low, around 450W avg. I think its an accurate number after repeating on a different day.

My question is, do I need to worry at this point? Racing season starts in 6 weeks (crits and road races). I've started doing 2x20s, to improve FT. I expect this will also improve 5min power, as AC says VO2max is closely linked. But what about 1min power, which is more anaerobic? Does the relationship fall there, and you need to train it separately? If so, any advice on interval intensity, length, number and recovery time? Am also curious how long it takes to see improvements in FT/anaerobic capacity (though I know the answer could be - how long is a piece of string!). Thanks.
 

acoggan

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Blackie said:
Hi, I'm a UK 3rd cat and have recently started training with a PT. After base training, I've done my power profile using AC's numbers, and no surprise, I find I'm a 3rd cat rider! ie FT around 270W etc, and VO2max and 5sec power in the range. The one anomaly was my one minute power which was low, around 450W avg. I think its an accurate number after repeating on a different day.

My question is, do I need to worry at this point? Racing season starts in 6 weeks (crits and road races). I've started doing 2x20s, to improve FT. I expect this will also improve 5min power, as AC says VO2max is closely linked. But what about 1min power, which is more anaerobic? Does the relationship fall there, and you need to train it separately? If so, any advice on interval intensity, length, number and recovery time? Am also curious how long it takes to see improvements in FT/anaerobic capacity (though I know the answer could be - how long is a piece of string!). Thanks.

Lack of adequate anaerobic capacity will tend to limit your performance in races to the extent that the outcome is determined by relatively short, very high intensity efforts, e.g., bridging a gap, establishing a breakaway. IOW, you might be able to get by as it is if - but only if - all you do are time trials, stages races, or road races that involve long climbs, and/or if you're willing to take you chances and hope to "pop through" in the sprint on the basis of your apparently adequate neuromuscular power. Otherwise, though, you'll want to specifically address this weakness with level 6 intervals, as ordinary racing just doesn't seem to cut it (probably because 1) we're never fully rested in a race, so all efforts are more aerobic in nature, and 2) it's rare that you reveal your "soft underbelly" by going absolutely flat-out until failure, as usually you tend to hold something back to respond to a counterattack). As for specific intervals and when to start them, that's more of a coaching question...but in general keep the efforts short (e.g., 30 s to 2 min), the intensity very high (which means taking adequate rest between efforts), and realize that this type of training is very stressful, and hence must be done in moderation except when attempting to peak.
 

Blackie

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Feb 26, 2003
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Thanks Andy for the advice. I think your point about interval training being better than racing in so far as we are more rested is a good one. It probably has been a weakness for a while, as in the past I would, as you said often 'pop out' for sprints with relative degrees of success. Looking forward to analysing races with the PT. Cheers. :)
 

WarrenG

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Blackie said:
Thanks Andy for the advice. I think your point about interval training being better than racing in so far as we are more rested is a good one. It probably has been a weakness for a while, as in the past I would, as you said often 'pop out' for sprints with relative degrees of success. Looking forward to analysing races with the PT. Cheers. :)
Being more rested is of use for some types of intervals. For some types of intervals you'll try to simulate the fatigue and chemical environment (within your body) of a racing situation to make the intervals more appropriate. One of the best things about intervals is they give you the opportunity to focus on a specific weakness or ability you want to improve without "wasting" energy and time on less important (at the moment) aspects of your fitness.

For your one minute intervals this can be a useful consideration. When you need to go really hard for one minute during a race you are probably beginning such an effort when you are already at threshold, or maybe just below that, and afterwards you probably have to recover while still going near the pace you were before the hard effort. IOW, the chemical environment and maybe some fatigue that is affecting your ability for one minute is something you may want to mimic during your intervals.

As an example, you can go up a slight hill for 4-5' at, or just below your threshold and then increase your power for one minute. Recover for just 3-4', and repeat. I think you'll find you can do 4, or maybe several more of these in a session without having fatigue affect the efforts so much that they aren't effective for improving your ablility during hard efforts during races.

As you get closer to peaking you may want to shorten the rest periods to only a minute or so, or do 2-3 of these blocks in a row, then resting for 5' and repeating for another 2-3 blocks.

Other intervals more specific for ability around VO2max may end up working as well or better for you. They probably won't be one minute long but it's useful to look at your weakness in terms of what it really is and not be overly concerned about trying to mimic the exact racing scenario. As two examples at the extreme, the best match sprinters don't just do match sprints all the time and the best TT'ers don't just do TT's all the time. They work on the components (or contributing abilities) of those events in specific ways, and usually with a variety of stimulii.
 

acoggan

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WarrenG said:
As an example, you can go up a slight hill for 4-5' at, or just below your threshold and then increase your power for one minute. Recover for just 3-4', and repeat. I think you'll find you can do 4, or maybe several more of these in a session without having fatigue affect the efforts so much that they aren't effective for improving your ablility during hard efforts during races.

As you get closer to peaking you may want to shorten the rest periods to only a minute or so, or do 2-3 of these blocks in a row, then resting for 5' and repeating for another 2-3 blocks.

Training this way may better simulate what actually happens when racing, but it likely won't be as effective at improving anaerobic capacity as doing as I suggest. The reason is that the so-called "alactacid" component of anaerobic capacity is reduced in direct proportion to the intensity of preceeding exercise, and the "lactacid" component is as well (although not necessarily in the same quantitative fashion). The net result is that you can't generate as much power during that 1 min interval, thus resulting in less of a demand being placed upon the anaerobic pathways, and more placed upon the aerobic pathways. The latter is going to be especially true when you shorten the rest period all the way down to 1 min - under that situation, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to repeatedly elevate power above that requiring VO2max, much less raise it well into level 6.
 

WarrenG

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acoggan said:
Training this way may better simulate what actually happens when racing, but it likely won't be as effective at improving anaerobic capacity as doing as I suggest. ..

That's not necessarily a bad thing since during the context of a race the hard one minute effort will be a mostly aerobic effort anyway, or at least the second and third efforts will be. If the person really does want to prepare for an effort that is mainly, or at least mostly anaerobic then I would tend more towards the intervals I mentioned more specific for VO2max. Another approach for anaerobic capacity could be "ladder" or "pyramid" intervals.

I used to regularly do one minute intervals with about 4' of rest between each. When I started with my coach he showed me other protocols that helped me prepare better for this scenario during races.
 

whoawhoa

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WarrenG said:
That's not necessarily a bad thing since during the context of a race the hard one minute effort will be a mostly aerobic effort anyway, or at least the second and third efforts will be. If the person really does want to prepare for an effort that is mainly, or at least mostly anaerobic then I would tend more towards the intervals I mentioned more specific for VO2max. Another approach for anaerobic capacity could be "ladder" or "pyramid" intervals.

I used to regularly do one minute intervals with about 4' of rest between each. When I started with my coach he showed me other protocols that helped me prepare better for this scenario during races.
Why not just do anaerobic workouts to improve anaerobic capacity, and v02max workouts to improve v02max? What's the point of diluting both workouts by trying to accomplish too much?
 

frenchyge

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Note that the OP was hoping to improve a particular fitness element rather than fix a race-specific malady.
 

acoggan

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whoawhoa said:
Why not just do anaerobic workouts to improve anaerobic capacity, and v02max workouts to improve v02max?

Nah, it couldn't be that simple...could it? :D
 

Woofer

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acoggan said:
As for specific intervals and when to start them, that's more of a coaching question...but in general keep the efforts short (e.g., 30 s to 2 min), the intensity very high (which means taking adequate rest between efforts), and realize that this type of training is very stressful, and hence must be done in moderation except when attempting to peak.
What is adequate rest for repeats of these sorts of intervals?
 

acoggan

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Woofer said:
What is adequate rest for repeats of these sorts of intervals?

Well, you need at least ~3 min to resynthesize your phosphocreatine stores, but there's far more to it than just that. This is as evidenced by the fact that pursuiters often fail to reproduce their qualifying effort in the medal rounds even when there are many hours in between the two. Anyway, for routine training of anaerobic capacity I would recommend that recovery periods be *at least* 3 min long, and even longer when using the "go hard, puke, go home" approach (e.g., when attempting to peak).
 

whoawhoa

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acoggan said:
\"go hard, puke, go home" approach (e.g., when attempting to peak).
What is it about these types of intervals that helps one peak? Could they be expected to have an affect on fitness across other levels over the short term?
 

WarrenG

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whoawhoa said:
Why not just do anaerobic workouts to improve anaerobic capacity, and v02max workouts to improve v02max? What's the point of diluting both workouts by trying to accomplish too much?

A problem with limited conversation from the person asking and the people answering... A more complete answer from me would be that a person can be doing all three such training exercises, on different days, which is what I'm doing right now. 30/30 VO 2max intervals one day, intervals like I described at LT and then sprint/surge for a minute on another day, and some specific anaerobic capacity intervals-20-30" sprints uphill with limited recovery on another day.
 

WarrenG

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acoggan said:
Well, you need at least ~3 min to resynthesize your phosphocreatine stores, but there's far more to it than just that. This is as evidenced by the fact that pursuiters often fail to reproduce their qualifying effort in the medal rounds even when there are many hours in between the two. Anyway, for routine training of anaerobic capacity I would recommend that recovery periods be *at least* 3 min long, and even longer when using the "go hard, puke, go home" approach (e.g., when attempting to peak).

Phosphocreatine stores will get almost entirely replenished in a minute or two for the first few reps at least, but CP is a minor fuel source (6-12" at most) for a one minute effort during a race anyway.

Anaerobic capacity intervals can be done many ways-30" sprints with only 2-3' recovery, 4' @LT then 30-60" all out, ladders, pyramids, etc. When I'm really focussing on this aspect the recovery interval is always less than 3 minutes between intervals and then 6-8' between blocks/sets.

Are you training for a test of one aspect or training to race better?
 

Blackie

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Feb 26, 2003
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Me - training to race, nothing else. (Though the test ought to be reflective of possible deficiencies in races). But always looking for the best way to do things (ie evidence based).

There were a few questions around interval duration/intensity/recovery/no. times week etc. I forgot about this, and dug out an old copy of Smart Cycling, by Arnie Baker - he has a gem of a little table on this - suggesting eg 20sec interval/recover 20+sec/10-20 per session/x2 week or 60sec/3-5min recover/5-15x/2x week. It covers durations from 10sec to 2min. Good luck. :)
 

acoggan

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WarrenG said:
Phosphocreatine stores will get almost entirely replenished in a minute or two

Do the math: the half-life of phosphocreatine resynthesis following a sub-threshold effort is around 30 s, which means that it takes 2 min to achieve >90% recovery, 2.5 min to achieve >95% recovery, etc. When doing high intensity intervals, however, it will take longer than this, because the accompanying acidosis seems to inhibit mitochondrial respiration. As for the role of phosphocreatine as an energy source during high intensity exercise, you're overlooking its importance in metabolic regulation, e.g, as a Pi "donor" for the glycogen phosphorylase reaction.

WarrenG said:
Anaerobic capacity intervals can be done many ways-30" sprints with only 2-3' recovery, 4' @LT then 30-60" all out, ladders, pyramids, etc. When I'm really focussing on this aspect the recovery interval is always less than 3 minutes between intervals and then 6-8' between blocks/sets.

Are you training for a test of one aspect or training to race better?

Me, I'm always training to race better. You, OTOH, don't sound like you're training what you really think you're training, i.e., painful though they might seem to be, your "anaerobic capacity" intervals are far more aerobic than you realize.
 

WarrenG

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acoggan said:
Do the math: the half-life of phosphocreatine resynthesis following a sub-threshold effort is around 30 s, which means that it takes 2 min to achieve >90% recovery, 2.5 min to achieve >95% recovery,

I read somewhere that the 90+% takes around a minute and 10-30 seconds, for the first recovery, actually measured, not relying on a math estimate.

acoggan said:
Me, I'm always training to race better. You, OTOH, don't sound like you're training what you really think you're training, i.e., painful though they might seem to be, your "anaerobic capacity" intervals are far more aerobic than you realize.

The recovery interval is varied according to the season's progression and the intended emphasis on the ratio of aerobic and anaerobic. Since I'm not training to be a kilo racer the amount of anaerobic emphasis is working really well for the points races, criteriums, and sprints that I do.

I'm not interested in measuring my one minute power after a rest. I'm more interested in how well I perform during hard one minute periods during races. Training is aimed at that. My racing performance shows that it works well.
 

Roadie_scum

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WarrenG said:
I read somewhere that the 90+% takes around a minute and 10-30 seconds, for the first recovery, actually measured, not relying on a math estimate.

You got a source for this?
 

acoggan

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WarrenG said:
I read somewhere that the 90+% takes around a minute and 10-30 seconds, for the first recovery, actually measured, not relying on a math estimate.

Whatever you read, it was wrong (or you're recalling it incorrectly). I say that not only having read a significant amount of the scientific literature on the topic, but also having personally measured the rate of post-exercise PCr resynthesis in human muscle using 31P magnetic resonance spectroscopy (well, not me personally, a post doc ran the magnet - but I conceived the study, got a grant to help pay the $800/h fee, and did all the calculations).

WarrenG said:
I'm not interested in measuring my one minute power after a rest. I'm more interested in how well I perform during hard one minute periods during races. Training is aimed at that. My racing performance shows that it works well.

The topic at hand is how to improve anaerobic capacity, something that 1) isn't particularly important in match sprinting, and 2) isn't something that seems to be your forte - if it was, you'd be doing the kilo in addition to sprinting, and/or would be more of a "player" in points races than you've shown to date. For example, if your anaerobic capacity were higher you could have bridged up to the break at master nationals and helped Larry once there...as it played out, you might as well have dropped out of the race entirely once those four went clear, because it was obvious that there wasn't enough horsepower left in the field to bring it back. Greg Smith saw that as soon as Larry, Grant, and Bob sort of coalesced off the front, which is why he burned his one and only match to get up to them. After that, it was game over...