Interval Training Needed?

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by Dansky, May 18, 2010.

  1. Dansky

    Dansky New Member

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    I've been riding for approximately a year and a half, minus the winter season (no indoor trainer yet). My schedule has allowed me to get out and ride about 2-3 times a week, doing approximately 125 miles total per week. My average speed (riding solo) is around 18 to 19 mph; through terrain that is relatively flat, with moderate hills.

    After trying group rides with both the local "intermediate" and "fast" groups, I believe that my level is somewhere in the middle. The intermediate folks were doing approx. 19mph for 65 miles, ---with drafting it was not quite as challenging as I'd wished; in fact, I ended up pulling in the front as much as they would allow, in order to make it more of a workout. Fine, no worries.

    The fast guys basically blew me away. Hanging in the back of the group, I got dropped after trying to sustain speeds with them around 28 to 30mph, and was able to finish the "loop" ride of 35 miles by cutting across and rejoining the main group for the last 10 miles or so, along with several others that got dropped as well. (There are Category 1 through 4 riders in this group, btw)

    After reading on this forum about "surge and recovery," I think it's time for some interval training. Regarding this, let's say I'm doing a shorter solo ride than usual, perhaps only 25 miles or thereabouts. After warming up for a few miles, I was planning to go ALL OUT for about 5 to 10 minutes, recover for 1 - 3 miles at about 15mph, then repeat this 4 times or more. I hope to do this type of riding twice a week for the next 8 weeks.

    Does this sound like an effective interval training plan? Any feedback, input or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
     
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  2. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    It all depends on how bad you're "failing".

    - If it's an "epic fail" where you just get shelled within a mile of the hammer going down then there's no shortcut. Do plenty of 2x20 or 3x20 sessions and watch the FTP slowly rise. The key phrases here are "there are no short cuts", "structured training program" and "sweat, suffer and recover"

    - If you find yourself just lacking "that little bit" where you're just able to hang but the little hills or micro accelerations just kill it for you then a specific interval training session may help.

    However, you gotta ask - why are you training to go better in training rides?
     
  3. jhuskey

    jhuskey Moderator

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    I suggest getting one of those faster guys to train with also.Staying with someone who is better is a great way to get better.
     
  4. Dansky

    Dansky New Member

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    I was able to hang with no problems for the first hard part of the ride, until we started hitting hills and the group did small accelerations...it was like watching a large group s-l-o-w-l-y pull away from me, and I kept feeling like I just needed a bit more speed to catch back up. At one point, I tried to re-enter the draft of riders in a single file at the back, and they simply would not let me in. Can't say as I blame them, the wind was about 23 mph with gusts that night, and we were on a hill going over the highway beneath. To answer your question about training for training rides, I met a couple of riders that night that told me they simply try to keep up as long as they can; it's as if they feel by staying with this group longer and longer each time, it represents some improvement in their abilities. The store that holds this ride actually refers to it as "race night," so I suppose it's actually an informal race of sorts.
     
  5. serra

    serra New Member

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    This worked wonders for me. I ride with someone who has an average speed about 2-3 mph faster than me. Forces me to keep up :)
     
  6. jhuskey

    jhuskey Moderator

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    The simple solutions are always the best.:cool:
     
  7. taricha

    taricha New Member

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    Since they call it "race night" the guys up front are trying to drop the group. So you have to be ready for the fact that you have more skilled riders who are actively looking to leave you.
    If they use short (~1 minute) hills to create separation, then they are going to significantly up their power and since it's on a hill the wheel sucker's discount is less and much less significant. This means you as wheel sucker could easily be required to double the power you were using to draft on the flat in order to stay on their wheels up the hill.
    Intervals of 5-10 minute length are going to help, but they still don't reach the intensities required. You will need to do some training at L6 in order to prepare for those moves.

    The other important part is that you can't be in distress while drafting on the flats before the hills, you have to be riding comfortably in order to be ready to follow when more skilled riders up their power significantly. This is where 2x20s and 3x20s come in. This L4 training should remain the staple of your routine, even as you throw in some higher intensity intervals.

    Good luck.
     
  8. Dansky

    Dansky New Member

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    Taricha, thanks for the info! Do you recommend a particular book that outlines this type of training? It's all a bit new to me at this point.
     
  9. CalicoCat

    CalicoCat Member

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    Strategy is going to be a huge factor on "race night". To begin with, the riders in the strung out train wouldn't let you in because they could tell that you were struggling and if they let you in and you let a gap open in front of you, they would have to put out a huge effort to bridge, or more likely, their "race" would be over.

    You need to employ strategy too. First of all STAY NEAR THE FRONT but not AT the front. This will protect you from the accordian effect through corners, and will protect you from having to deal with the micro surges that occur near the back when someone touches their brakes or opens a gap. In short, it's steadier near the front, meaning fewer accelerations, meaning less energy expenditure, meaning you are more likely not to get shelled.

    In terms of training, 2X20s are great for boosting FTP. I also do some 3x3min/3x2min intervals to increase VO2 max. Hill reps are good too.
     
  10. taricha

    taricha New Member

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    Honestly, this forum is the book that I would recommend. Read the link I gave you and the spreadsheet from the "HR Zone calculator" thread to look at how other people define the zones, and what each zone is supposed to accomplish. Pay special attention to the physiological adaptations that training in each zone produces. The adaptations are what we are after and they are produced best in ways that are sometimes not intuitive (e.g. you don't have to ride at or above your threshold in order to raise your threshold).
    To see how the process of determining your current fitness, analyzing your workout scheme, adding what's needed, measuring progress etc. works in practice check out the first pages of the "It's killing me... but" thread. Just search this forum when you run across workouts, zones, or other training concepts you want to read about more in detail.
    Maybe someone else can point you to a better thread that encapsulates this forum's training philosophy, but hopefully you can find enough to help you figure out how to best help yourself improve.

    One more note on the "getting dropped on the hills." Most riders hit that shortly after riding with a better group. It's not always the case that the hills are really their weakness. More often it's that the hills reveal their basic weakness - their FTP is too low - while drafting on the flats can hide that.
     
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