Microintervals?



Las Montanas

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Dec 19, 2005
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Hello All,

A friend of mine has prescribed microintervals in addition to the standard 2x20min workouts and such to help get me ready for the racing season this late February though September. He basically said that the 15s on/15s off until failure workout is a good place to start with microintervals.

About myself: smaller guy, 21y/o, Cat3, approaching my second season of racing (want to be a 2 at the end of the summer), like hills and crits with elevation changes. I have a PT Pro but do not have cyclingpeaks at the moment.

Anyways, I enjoy the 15s on, 15s off workout, as it hurts pretty good. I've been doing 400w/200w and can hold that from 15-20 minutes, depending on how I'm feeling and how warm the room is (training indoors, and I overheat VERY easily). With this workout and my 2x20mins, I feel myself getting stronger. However, I don't know the physiological adaptations that are making this change happen, and am curious as to what they are. What adaptations occur and what systems are boosted by these stresses?

Also, in theory I should average 300w, I usually get 310w at the end, probably due to not hitting the lower end soon enough. As I don't have the ability to determine normalized power at the end of a workout now, I was wondering, for those of you who have done this kind of workout with microintervals, was your normalized power at, below, or above the theoretical (or actual) average? Also, as I stated my preferences for types of races, does this workout strategy (at this point in the year) suit my likes and specific strengths?
 

whoawhoa

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Oct 28, 2004
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Las Montañas said:
Hello All,

A friend of mine has prescribed microintervals in addition to the standard 2x20min workouts and such to help get me ready for the racing season this late February though September. He basically said that the 15s on/15s off until failure workout is a good place to start with microintervals.

About myself: smaller guy, 21y/o, Cat3, approaching my second season of racing (want to be a 2 at the end of the summer), like hills and crits with elevation changes. I have a PT Pro but do not have cyclingpeaks at the moment.

Anyways, I enjoy the 15s on, 15s off workout, as it hurts pretty good. I've been doing 400w/200w and can hold that from 15-20 minutes, depending on how I'm feeling and how warm the room is (training indoors, and I overheat VERY easily). With this workout and my 2x20mins, I feel myself getting stronger. However, I don't know the physiological adaptations that are making this change happen, and am curious as to what they are. What adaptations occur and what systems are boosted by these stresses?

Also, in theory I should average 300w, I usually get 310w at the end, probably due to not hitting the lower end soon enough. As I don't have the ability to determine normalized power at the end of a workout now, I was wondering, for those of you who have done this kind of workout with microintervals, was your normalized power at, below, or above the theoretical (or actual) average? Also, as I stated my preferences for types of races, does this workout strategy (at this point in the year) suit my likes and specific strengths?
Here is a good chart of training adaptations by level: http://www.cyclingpeakssoftware.com/power411/levels.asp

Microintervals can be viewed as Lx (where x is the level the average power falls into) with a neuromuscular component.

If you do microintervals right, the AP will be the same as the NP, due to the 30 second rolling average used.

This workout sounds good for a crit specialist, because it provides l4 adaptations while getting some neuromuscular specificity in as well. I think, however, that neuromuscular adaptations occur relatively quickly so I don't know that they're necessary unless you are racing fairly soon.

Oh yeah, get Cyclingpeaks:D
 

acoggan

Member
Jul 4, 2003
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Las Montañas said:
Anyways, I enjoy the 15s on, 15s off workout, as it hurts pretty good.

Masochist! ;)

Las Montañas said:
With this workout and my 2x20mins, I feel myself getting stronger. However, I don't know the physiological adaptations that are making this change happen, and am curious as to what they are. What adaptations occur and what systems are boosted by these stresses?

Table 2 of this document should help answer your questions:

http://www.cyclingpeakssoftware.com/power411/PowerTrainingChapter.pdf

especially once you realize that the major difference between the microinterval and isopower efforts that you are doing is in the motor unit recruitment pattern, i.e., the microintervals will tend to "spread the load" over more motor units (and hence impact type II, or fast-twitch, more than would usually be true given the average power).

Las Montañas said:
Also, in theory I should average 300w, I usually get 310w at the end, probably due to not hitting the lower end soon enough. As I don't have the ability to determine normalized power at the end of a workout now, I was wondering, for those of you who have done this kind of workout with microintervals, was your normalized power at, below, or above the theoretical (or actual) average?

By design, the 30 s rolling average used in calculating normalized power will almost completely "steamroll" the flucuation in power during the microintervals, with the end result being that the normalized power will be essentially the same as the average power. If you want to know exactly, though, you could export your powermeter file to Excel and calculate it using it by hand or using various free sources, e.g., a trial version of WKO+ or the calculator provided by Ric Stern at his website: http://www.cyclecoach.com/pageID-downloadPages-Normalised_Power_TSS_IF.htm
 

acoggan

Member
Jul 4, 2003
3,047
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whoawhoa said:
Here is a good chart of training adaptations by level: http://www.cyclingpeakssoftware.com/power411/levels.asp

Microintervals can be viewed as Lx (where x is the level the average power falls into) with a neuromuscular component.

If you do microintervals right, the AP will be the same as the NP, due to the 30 second rolling average used.

Grasshopper,

You have snatched the pebble from my hand. I can no longer be your teacher, only your pupil.

:D
 

Las Montanas

New Member
Dec 19, 2005
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Thanks for the replies, guys.

Another question, with regards to progression with microintervals: in time, I'm thinking I'll get bored with the 15s/15s on, off rotation.

Would you:
a) increase the length of the repeat, or break it down into two shorter sections that have a greater length overall? I.e. from 20mins, to 25min, or 2x15mins?

b) increase the length of the individual efforts, to maybe 20s on, 10s off, or 40s on, 20s off?

c) stick with the same length, and increase the wattage on the high end?

I realize that all of these make sense, but will any of them yield greater adaptations in the long run? I guess it depends on the individual and his/her personal physiology but I'm interested to see if anyone has experience with this that could keep me from heading down the wrong path.
 

Speedskater

New Member
Nov 23, 2006
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Of your three options I would cut out #2. What IMHO makes micronintervals special is the additional neuromuscular component. Lenghtening the microintervall length from 15 to 20 s will reduce the amount of time you spend changing intensity and therefor also reducing the neuromuscular component of this workout. I must admit that this is pure theory since I will be doing my first microinterval workout this week...

Las Montañas said:
Thanks for the replies, guys.

Another question, with regards to progression with microintervals: in time, I'm thinking I'll get bored with the 15s/15s on, off rotation.

Would you:
a) increase the length of the repeat, or break it down into two shorter sections that have a greater length overall? I.e. from 20mins, to 25min, or 2x15mins?

b) increase the length of the individual efforts, to maybe 20s on, 10s off, or 40s on, 20s off?

c) stick with the same length, and increase the wattage on the high end?

I realize that all of these make sense, but will any of them yield greater adaptations in the long run? I guess it depends on the individual and his/her personal physiology but I'm interested to see if anyone has experience with this that could keep me from heading down the wrong path.
 

iliveonnitro

New Member
Mar 29, 2006
181
0
0
Las Montañas said:
Thanks for the replies, guys.

Another question, with regards to progression with microintervals: in time, I'm thinking I'll get bored with the 15s/15s on, off rotation.

Would you:
a) increase the length of the repeat, or break it down into two shorter sections that have a greater length overall? I.e. from 20mins, to 25min, or 2x15mins?

b) increase the length of the individual efforts, to maybe 20s on, 10s off, or 40s on, 20s off?

c) stick with the same length, and increase the wattage on the high end?

I realize that all of these make sense, but will any of them yield greater adaptations in the long run? I guess it depends on the individual and his/her personal physiology but I'm interested to see if anyone has experience with this that could keep me from heading down the wrong path.
I would choose a) break it up into 2x15min intervals, or 3x10min intervals w/5min rest between sets. I prefer 3x10 so I can focus on the intensity and focus on drinking more water (with which I've always had a problem).