Interval confusion

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by Cycle2100, Jul 27, 2006.

  1. Cycle2100

    Cycle2100 New Member

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    I've read enough to be convinced that intervals are a good way to increase my power and speed. But I'm confused on the method. I pedal around 19 MPH, all things being equal (flat surface). When I do my intervals (currently all-out sprints for 15 seconds), afterwards should I continue to try to pedal around 19 mph, or drop down to a lower speed that will allow me to recover more fully before my next interval?

     
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  2. whoawhoa

    whoawhoa New Member

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    True sprint training should be done with long, easy recoveries in between. That said, those aren't really typical interval workouts. You'll get much more benefit from much longer intervals, at least for typical roadies.
     
  3. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    High-intensity efforts (aka intervals) are used to target specific physiological adaptations. The "big 4" adaptations are aerobic efficiency (aka lactate threshold), VO2MAX, anaerobic capacity and neuromuscular. The high-intensity efforts that most effectively target these adaptations vary in both intensity and duration. The best single resource I can suggest for you to understand what it is you are trying to accomplish with high-intensity efforts as well as guidelines for doing them is the recent book by Hunter Allen and Andy Coggan, Training and Racing with a Power Meter. The title is a bit misleading. Even though the book's primary focus is based on riding with a power meter, all of the training levels are defined by both perceived exertion and heart rate as well. It's well worth the investment (~$20).
     
  4. Spunout

    Spunout New Member

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    For most interval sessions, recovery is very light in Z1.

    Of course, more advanced sessions may limit or bring up the recovery zone if that addresses the training goal of the session (ie: Over-Under intervals).
     
  5. Cycle2100

    Cycle2100 New Member

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    OK - I will try a lighter recovery zone. I have not and, as a result, my intervals have been suffering. My 'fear' though was to come in at a time less than what I would normally ride the course. I imagine that's a flawed way of thinking, but on the surface, if I can typically ride a route in say, 50 minutes, then even though I happen to be doing intervals, I still want to come in at 50 minutes. I know, I know, let go of that average mph number...:eek:

    I don't have a HRM or power tap.

    I picked 15 second sprints because of an article I read by Chris Carmichael. I'm sure there are many other routines out there, but it seemed like a good routine to try.

    I'll check out that book RapDaddyo.

     
  6. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    Well, here's the article that preceded the book http://www.midweekclub.com/articles/coggan.pdf. The book has much more than this article, but the tables at the end of the article illustrate my point. High-intensity efforts should have a purpose in the form of a specific physiological (or psychological) adaptation that you are targeting. Otherwise, one is sort of just flailing about, hoping for improvement but with no clear idea of what specifically we are trying to improve or why it will improve. The alternative is to understand the different forms of physiological adaptation (e.g., VO2MAX) and what sorts of efforts will effectively target that adaptation. Then, you aren't flailing about, you are executing a well-conceived plan. The results you seek are far more likely to result from a well-conceived training plan than from just randomly doing intervals. And, BTW, you do not need a HRM or PM to ride at specific pre-defined intensities. Cyclists have been developing tremendous power for decades without power meters. Is it helpful? Absolutely! Is it mandatory? Absolutely not!
     
  7. Cycle2100

    Cycle2100 New Member

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    Thanks for the article -- I'll read it today on the indoor trainer (it's raining today).

    I understand the importance of having goals but at least so far, I've not considered them in terms of physiological adaptations. I don't race, and my goals are general, but nonetheless important -- to ride faster, stronger, and enjoy increased cardiovascular health. Occasionally when I ride with a group I want to keep up with the rabbits, and when I hit the bottom of a hill I want to be able to climb it well. And when I go in for my annual physical (I'm 41), I want my doc to say, "Wow - your heart readings are similar to Lance Armstrong's." (OK, that last one is a stretch.) I know these goals are not concrete, but they describe the type of riding I do and therefore are the areas I wish to improve. And from what I've read, interval riding is better than steady-state riding in this regard.

     
  8. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    If you have a trainer, you can ride very precise high-intensity efforts based on speed. I am writing up an approach to this right now. It will be posted in the "It's killing me but ..." thread.

    Riding faster and stronger requires more sustainable power. It's what most of us want, increased sustainable power. Some use it to improve their racing performance. Others use it to ride with the faster group on their club rides. Others use it to set a PB on a century. There are lots of reasons to want it, but the way to get it is the same -- structured high-intensity efforts.
     
  9. Sillyoldtwit

    Sillyoldtwit New Member

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    Don't forget the volume RD - the volume is the thing!:D
     
  10. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    True dat.;)
     
  11. DJA

    DJA New Member

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    It sound like you just want to be able to ride faster and for longer. (don't we all):) . The 15s interval is probably not the best solutions this will just make you better at sprinting.

    To lift your cruising speed try doing 3 to 10 min intervals at speeds that is 1 to 3mph above your best average for your 50 min ride with 1 to 2 min rests. At the end of your 50 ride it seemed easy next time go a little faster.

    3min @ 22mph 1min rest @12-15mph 12reps
    10min @20-21mph2min rest @12-15mph 4reps

    These type of intervals will let do your ride close to your 50min target but if you ride 15s intervals properly you will go well over that 50min target because of the recovery level and time require between intervals
     
  12. Cycle2100

    Cycle2100 New Member

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    Excellent DJA! Just the kind of advice and explanation I was looking for. I'll ditch the 15 second intervals and give your routine a try.
     
  13. dm69

    dm69 New Member

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    Dont get too excited that "routine" won't turn you into Lance Armstrong. if you want to be quicker I suggest doing 2 times 20min efforts as absolutely fast as you can. plenty of 10 times 1km efforts, hill work, SE etc etc.

    Just riding a tad quicker than normal probably won't help you.

    Atleast get a cheap HRM and buy a training book: freil, boardman, coggan, or a coach.

    Getting faster is excruciatingly hard.
     
  14. Cycle2100

    Cycle2100 New Member

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    And here I thought I had found the Holy Grail to becoming Lance Armstrong.:D

    This routine will be a good start though, and provides good direction. As does your advice, which I can use as I progress.

    Also, getting faster can be rather easy when you're slow as molasses to begin with. ;)
     
  15. tdl123321

    tdl123321 New Member

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    Great thread, keeep the info coming! Cycle 2100 I couldn't have typed those goals any better myself. It's nice to know that others who don't plan to race have the same desire and motivation to improve.
     
  16. DJA

    DJA New Member

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    dm69 you've hit the nail on the head. It takes regular and consistent effort.

    No routine will turn you into Lance.

    My suggestion was only a starting point and I have found them to very productive and manageable. I agree with your 20min idea but you have to build up to doing 20min intervals. Riding at level that the body and the mind find difficult in maintain for the full interval session takes time to develop. Most people can handle 3min efforts to start with and build from there towards 20min.
    As for a tad quicker its about 12% faster than his best ave speed on his 50min coarse and as his ave improves he can lift the interval pace to suit.
     
  17. Cycle2100

    Cycle2100 New Member

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    TDL - I'd suggest that you read the PDF that RapDaddy posted. Some of it isn't relevant without a power meter, but there are a lot of fundamental principals that are worth going over. I've read it a few times.

    Have you tried any of the intervals? I've done some 5 minute intervals followed by a decent cool down period, and it's been a great workout. I'm going to mix it up too -- 3 min, 10 min, 20 min - and see how that goes.
     
  18. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    It's a good idea to do a mix of high-intensity efforts, but my advice would be to focus the majority of your efforts (e.g., 70%) on L4 intervals (10-30mins) early on, with the 2nd priority on VO2MAX efforts (~5mins). The L4 intervals will improve your aerobic efficiency and will benefit your sustainable power at virtually all durations. The main value of increasing your anaerobic capacity (L6) is for the short, high-power efforts on short hills, breakaway and bridging efforts in races, etc. For rides comprising a long, relatively steady effort, the biggest bang for the buck is L4 and L5 efforts.
     
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