improving power at a given time interval



shortpull

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Feb 23, 2006
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say that i can do an 8 minute uphill interval and average 320 watts. if i wanted to improve my power ouput at that length of time, which would be the best way to go?

1. continue doing intervals at that length (or slightly longer?) and try and increase my power toward a goal wattage (say 350) over weeks/months.

2. do shorter intervals (4-5 minutes), but do them at my goal wattage. and then try and increase the length of the intervals over weeks/months up toward 8 minutes.

3. do something completely different?
 

kmavm

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May 16, 2005
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shortpull said:
say that i can do an 8 minute uphill interval and average 320 watts. if i wanted to improve my power ouput at that length of time, which would be the best way to go?

1. continue doing intervals at that length (or slightly longer?) and try and increase my power toward a goal wattage (say 350) over weeks/months.

2. do shorter intervals (4-5 minutes), but do them at my goal wattage. and then try and increase the length of the intervals over weeks/months up toward 8 minutes.

3. do something completely different?
It's kinda complicated. First, take a long hard look at this article:

http://www.midweekclub.com/articles/coggan.pdf

8 minutes is a particularly tricky length of time. You could improve your 8 minute maximal power by improving any or all of functional threshold, VO2Max, or anaerobic capacity. It is hard to know which of these three systems is "low-hanging fruit" in your case without some specific testing of those separate energy systems. However, as a compromise, intervals at about 3 minutes will to some extent improve VO2Max as well as anaerobic capacity.
 

peterpen

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Jul 29, 2003
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Another thing to bear in mind is - *why* do you want to improve your 8 minute uphill power?
Say you've been getting dropped on an 8' climb in an otherwise flat RR. Maybe raising your steady state power is actually your best bet, so you arrive at that climb in a more rested state. Or maybe you want to attack repeatedly up an 8' climb in a 8 lap circuit race, in which case working on your top-end power might be more effective.

oh and you forgot one option 4) same power, same time, more reps! ;) And all this depends on where 320w is in relation to your FT.
 

WarrenG

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Sep 8, 2003
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kmavm said:
You could improve your 8 minute maximal power by improving any or all of functional threshold, VO2Max, or anaerobic capacity. It is hard to know which of these three systems is "low-hanging fruit" in your case without some specific testing of those separate energy systems.

Ah... good stuff. Training aimed at the component of that 8-minute effort that offers the most opportunity for improvement...
 

lanierb

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Aug 12, 2004
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shortpull said:
say that i can do an 8 minute uphill interval and average 320 watts. if i wanted to improve my power ouput at that length of time, which would be the best way to go?

1. continue doing intervals at that length (or slightly longer?) and try and increase my power toward a goal wattage (say 350) over weeks/months.

2. do shorter intervals (4-5 minutes), but do them at my goal wattage. and then try and increase the length of the intervals over weeks/months up toward 8 minutes.

3. do something completely different?
I'm really interested in the answer to this question too (though for longer time periods like 20+ minutes). My guess is that if you want to maximize a one-time 8 minute all-out effort (CP8 I guess) you probably want to train intervals of duration 1-5 minutes, so my answer is (3). Maybe Andy or Ric will chime in and let us know the current thinking is on this.

Lanier
 

WarrenG

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Sep 8, 2003
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lanierb said:
I'm really interested in the answer to this question too (though for longer time periods like 20+ minutes). My guess is that if you want to maximize a one-time 8 minute all-out effort (CP8 I guess) you probably want to train intervals of duration 1-5 minutes, so my answer is (3). Maybe Andy or Ric will chime in and let us know the current thinking is on this.

Lanier

I'm not Ric or Andy but I can tell you some about what is "currently" used for training really good bike racers.

Your "guess" may be right or wrong. It depends what your weaknesses are within that effort. The posts above already provide possible answers to your questions.

In omre detail... Is the potential contribution from your slow fibers and related aerobic enzymes already near your potential, or could you use more training for this, like intervals at tempo for 5-30 minutes long? Or maybe you need to improve the contribution from your fast fibers and you could do training intended more towards them. Other approaches could be better still.

So, as KMAVM and I suggested, examine the various components of ability that contribute to the effort your aiming at, and determine which of those components have the most potential for improvement in ways that help you.
 

park

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Jun 16, 2004
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shortpull said:
say that i can do an 8 minute uphill interval and average 320 watts. if i wanted to improve my power ouput at that length of time, which would be the best way to go?

1. continue doing intervals at that length (or slightly longer?) and try and increase my power toward a goal wattage (say 350) over weeks/months.

2. do shorter intervals (4-5 minutes), but do them at my goal wattage. and then try and increase the length of the intervals over weeks/months up toward 8 minutes.

3. do something completely different?
I like your 4-5 minute interval idea but I wouldn't try to do them at 8 minutes in length. I've found it very difficult to be able to maintain that white hot, super intensity that I think you need to stimulate major adapation when doing intervals longer than 4 or 5 minutes. You can do longer intervals but then it seems your power always drops significantly and suddenly you aren't working as hard as you think. Over a 6 week period of doing 4-5 min intervals up that hill with only 4 min rest between would likely boost your power a ton.