Mixing intervals, ideas?



Doublebiker

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Oct 20, 2004
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Trainerseason....:D Intervals....:D Yes! :rolleyes: or...:eek:
Looking back, my trainer WOs follows this pattern (Ph d Coggan's levels)
DEC 2x20 (L4), tempo (L3)
JAN 6x5 (L5), 2x20(L4), tempo (L3)
FEB 6x5 (L5), 2x20(L4), tempo (L3)
MAR 10x1/4 (L6 1 min on 4 off), 6x5 (L5), tempo (L3), sprints

Three weeks on, one week off.

Seems reasonable, uh?

So, I work on different energy systems on different days, but have been thinking about trying a more "blocktraining" approach, like this:

For JAN & FEB: One week L5, one week L4, one week tempo in order to really overload targeted level.

Ideas? Experience?

Doublebiker
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frenchyge

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I started a thread about blocktraining a little while back (in the Training Forum, I believe), that you can use the search function to find. There was some discussion, but I don't recall any research references indicating that organizing your intervals into 'blocks' was more beneficial than just mixing them up. I got the impression that 'blocks' were more of a coaching philosophy than anything that has been shown to be beneficial.

I've just recently started interval sessions myself and the thing I found was that it took a couple workouts to find the right target power level, duration, and rest interval which feels sufficiently challenging but still allowed me to complete the workout (ie, L4 2x20 intervals at 95% FT? 100% FT? 105% FT?). I had a couple less-than-successful workouts (especially L5) because I set the initial power level too high and was unable to complete the workout. My concern with block workouts was that if you are only working a specific power level one week per month, then you potentially have that adjustment period to deal with during every block-week. If it takes 1-2 workouts of the week to dial-in the right power level and duration, then that's a decent chunk of the block that is less than optimal.

Combining the intervals in a weekly mix lets you keep good track of what works, and lets you make small tweaks from one week to the next to keep the level of challenge correct. Just a thought.
 

Smartt/RST

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"Combining" intervals, which I could take to mean a whole host of things (and thus this post), still comes down to whether or not you are focusing your training on a big picture level (i.e.: periodization). There is always some mix, eg: most road cyclists never stop doing some version of a low/moderate intensity long ride even while trying to increase supramaximal power/capacity. However, if "combining" becomes doing an even amount of (eg) subthreshold, VO2max/MAP and suprathreshold training, which can be measured in weeks, then you are likely to not train any of those systems adequately. J. Daniels likes to call it "shotgun" training, which I always thought was an excellent description.
 

Doublebiker

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frenchyge said:
I started a thread about blocktraining a little while back (in the Training Forum, I believe),

Yes, this belong in the Training Forum, but...:eek:

Your remark about working on each level only once a month is my main concern as well. My thinking goes like "rais your L5, use a greater part of it (L4) and then do a "big" training week (Tempo - "Sweet Spot training").

I usually have a pretty good idea of my abilities and usually work in "ergomode" so pacing is no problem.

I am also thinking of mixing all intervals in one workout, ala coogan 90/90/90, but not only as a maintance routine, more like trying to make steady progress.

Well, well, just thinking out loud, I'll probably end up doing as ususal...
but adding a week here and there with temporides just to add volume. Seems to me like volume is getting a better and better rep this days.

Doublebiker

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whoawhoa

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Smartt/RST said:
"Combining" intervals, which I could take to mean a whole host of things (and thus this post), still comes down to whether or not you are focusing your training on a big picture level (i.e.: periodization). There is always some mix, eg: most road cyclists never stop doing some version of a low/moderate intensity long ride even while trying to increase supramaximal power/capacity. However, if "combining" becomes doing an even amount of (eg) subthreshold, VO2max/MAP and suprathreshold training, which can be measured in weeks, then you are likely to not train any of those systems adequately. J. Daniels likes to call it "shotgun" training, which I always thought was an excellent description.
But what about "maintenance" training. I focus on threshold, then vo2max, then some event-specific stuff at the very end, but try to keep threshold intervals in for maintenance (but not as often) to avoid losing ft power.
 

frenchyge

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Doublebiker said:
I am also thinking of mixing all intervals in one workout, ala coogan 90/90/90, but not only as a maintance routine, more like trying to make steady progress.
That sounds like too little of a good thing to me. I think Andy says that is his quick, maintence workout rather than a building-up type workout, but I could be remembering wrong on that.

Doublebiker said:
Well, well, just thinking out loud, I'll probably end up doing as ususal...
but adding a week here and there with temporides just to add volume. Seems to me like volume is getting a better and better rep this days.
In reality, the L3-L5 zones aren't as distinct as they seem on paper, and they all stress and develop many of the same energy systems to one extent or another. It's not like doing a week of strictly Tempo work is going to neglect or de-train your oxygen delivery or lactate processing systems. Like I said, I didn't get a convincing response either for or against block training in the sense you've mentioned, so I'm guessing the effects are probably either small or largely unknown.
 

Smartt/RST

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whoawhoa said:
But what about "maintenance" training. I focus on threshold, then vo2max, then some event-specific stuff at the very end, but try to keep threshold intervals in for maintenance (but not as often) to avoid losing ft power.
Your point goes right in line with the last sentence of my previous post (well, before the Daniels bit). But I'll try to be more clear...
My point was that *generally* focusing (an oxymoron, I know, but it's all I have right now) on an aspect of performance for extended periods is how you want to approach your training for building your fitness. Maintaining fitness requires less of a training stimulus, and as such your comment makes perfect sense. And like I said, there is usually a mix of training throught the year, which was an allusion to maintaining one or more aspects of fitness while focusing on another.
 

whoawhoa

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Smartt/RST said:
Your point goes right in line with the last sentence of my previous post (well, before the Daniels bit). But I'll try to be more clear...
My point was that *generally* focusing (an oxymoron, I know, but it's all I have right now) on an aspect of performance for extended periods is how you want to approach your training for building your fitness. Maintaining fitness requires less of a training stimulus, and as such your comment makes perfect sense. And like I said, there is usually a mix of training throught the year, which was an allusion to maintaining one or more aspects of fitness while focusing on another.
Okay-now I understand. "Generally" focusing as opposed to exclusively focusing.
 

Doublebiker

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frenchyge said:
That sounds like too little of a good thing to me. I think Andy says that is his quick, maintence workout rather than a building-up type workout, but I could be remembering wrong on that.


In reality, the L3-L5 zones aren't as distinct as they seem on paper, and they all stress and develop many of the same energy systems to one extent or another. It's not like doing a week of strictly Tempo work is going to neglect or de-train your oxygen delivery or lactate processing systems. Like I said, I didn't get a convincing response either for or against block training in the sense you've mentioned, so I'm guessing the effects are probably either small or largely unknown.
So, conlusion - business as usual. Have a plan, now where you are (tests) make sure for steady progression with "general" focus, don't try do micro manage to much, well that's what I'm been doing and will do.

Thanks for everyone's input, it's always educating to try put your thinig on paper (screen).

Ride well

Doubelbiker
 

frenchyge

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Doublebiker said:
So, conlusion - business as usual. Have a plan, now where you are (tests) make sure for steady progression with "general" focus, don't try do micro manage to much, well that's what I'm been doing and will do.
Yeah, what I settled on was a mini-block of higher level stuff during the week Tues/Wed/Thurs and a mini-block of lower level stuff on weekends Sat/Sun, with Mon & Fri as days off. That was my compromised attempt at using "blocking" rather than taking a day off in between the mid-week workouts like I did last year. But like you said, that's probably business as usual for many people, so nothing necessarily new there. Good luck.