Understanding the training effect of 2 minute efforts

Discussion in 'Power Training' started by hrumpole, May 24, 2011.

  1. hrumpole

    hrumpole New Member

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    I just finished reading the long VO2 max thread. Right now, the plan I'm on (carmichael/time crunched) calls for 2 sets of 3x2 on 3 min rest. These are described as "all out" efforts. In a couple of weeks, I have found that the 8 min AP used as a baseline (the all-out test) has been reached during "steady state" intervals (or rather, come within 5w of) without undue suffering. So what I have been doing is simply going as hard as I think I can hold these two minute intervals via guesstimate after looking at the previous workout. (I was so addled when I finished the second set that I thought I had missed a turn on a loop that I've ridden many times, and ended up riding an extra 10 minutes in the wrong direction). I'm not so concerned with FTP for this purpose (or rather, a percentage of the baseline test) as it seems that I've raised that value somewhat. Am I doing them wrong if I do this? My instinctive reaction would be "no", but I thought I would ask. Would the training effect be considerably different if they were 3 minutes long?
     
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  2. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    From a physiology standpoint 2 minute intervals are on the cusp of either very long Anaerobic Tolerance intervals or very short traditional VO2 max intervals assuming in either case they're done very near your best effort for the duration.

    Many folks go longer for their VO2 Max work and there are differing theories as to whether it's more important to rack up time near you VO2 Max or to hit VO2 Max intensity as frequently and as many times as you can. Either way hurts a lot as it hurts a lot to achieve maximal cardiac output (which is not just maximal HR) which is what happens at VO2 Max. So if you work the short end of VO2 Max intervals at 2 minutes per interval you'd better be hitting them very hard such that you achieve maximal cardiac output before the end of each interval.

    Similar discussion if you're doing these as anaerobic tolerance work. They've got to be hard to force you to rely heavily on anaerobic glycolysis and to drive your blood lactate very high during each interval. They can be great as peaking workouts or for working on your endgame for crits and other bunch sprint situations where you need to be able to drive hard for the final kilometer or more to stay up front.

    So whether they're good intervals for you to be doing depends a lot on your race goals, strengths and weaknesses and where you are in training relative to upcoming races. But as to how you should be doing them, it sounds about right you're seeing double and working very close to your limit on these but still somehow finishing the session. That's about right for these regardless of your reason for doing them.

    -Dave
     
  3. hrumpole

    hrumpole New Member

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    Dave-
    Thanks. Basically, I'm doing them because the plan says I should be doing them. This is my first experience with a structured plan (which calls for me to do them again today) that is intended for me to hit a ceiling in 8 weeks. This is my final week before a "rest" week, then 3 more "on" weeks and I should supposedly peak out, and should switch to endurance miles before hitting week 11. The plan, entitled "experienced century" is designed to raise LT and cruising speed on longer rides on 6 hrs per week, and goes in 2-day blocks (VO2-AT one day, then 1 day at LT, rest 1 day, then V02, then longer endurance ride, rest 2 days). All the programs in his book go on 4 week mesocycles, so I may switch from this to a true "racer" program just to see what it feels like for the final four week session. The main difference is that V02 times are 1 min longer w/ 1 min shorter recoveries, and there's more over/under work.

    My goal event is months away and since this is my first season with a PM, I'm just trying to figure out how I respond to the various stresses created by a structured plan. Once I get to week 8, there's a local "attack and chase" ride on wednesday nights that I figured I would try to go to and see how long I could hang on and that would give me a picture of the practical gains that I've made. As of now, all my riding is solo.
     
  4. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    There are lot's of ways to skin the training cat, but FWIW even on 6 hours a week I wouldn't prescribe two days per week consisting of 2 minute long VO2 Max intervals, especially not for improving performance in century rides.

    I'd swap one of those VO2 max days for another SST/L4 day either with structured 2x20 (or 3x20, 3x15, 4x15, 1x60, etc. but try to make them at least 12 minutes long per interval) style L4 intervals or with less structured SST riding up in the 85-95% of FTP range.

    Yeah I know you bought the plan and suspect you'll give it a go as written. Just pay attention to your progress on this plan and consider something with a bit more SST/L4 emphasis during your next mesocycle and compare the progress you make towards your goals using differing approaches.

    -Dave
     
  5. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    I am about to start my 3rd time through of time crunch in a couple of weeks. First time around I used RPE and Chris C's assigned 10 "all out" had me riding them too hard and usually unable to complete the entire set.

    If you are cursing your god after the last couple of efforts, missing well known routes home, and waking up mildly feverish, you are at the correct intensity. If you are unable to complete the set you've gone too hard. Pretty much like Dave said... if you are seeing double you are probably on the right track./img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif

    The maintenance period at the end of the Competitor plan is brutal, and by week 10 imo it's not the body that says enough, the mind is saying oh god no not another interval session. It's easy to burn out mentally and I'd recommend doing your planned event before then. Last year I tried holding onto the fitness for a late season race a few weeks after the plan ended. I ended up doing ok but had essentially eliminated all the intensity and was only going out and messing around on the bke during that time. Btw, in the Competitor plans the PI's start at 3 mins but then later in the plan some get reduced to 2 minutes while the frequency goes up.

    One thing in general I did notice, I got into shape faster than I've ever known before but it was what I would call fragile fitness. I was off the bike a bit in the middle due to ilness and lost more fitness than I believe I would using a big base plan, or from what I recall of past training patterns on the bike. During the 2nd time through I found adding a long weekly ride (3+ hours) really supplemented the plan very well... even though it kinda defeats the purpose of "time crunch". If you can squeeze in one of his endurance blocks before starting it will also compliment nicely. One thing I actually liked about the Century plan was that there was more threshold work (which I have added in my own kitchen sink version) but ultimately it's just a tough call getting everything one needs for real fitness into just 6 or 7 hours a week on the bike.

    Please let us know your thoughts at the end of week 11.
     
  6. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

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    What does an "attack and chase" ride have to do with doing a century? What do 2 minute intervals have to do with a century ride? What sort of condition are you in? What is your century goal?

    I think you should be more concerned with longer efforts - 30-60 minutes at least. Get rid of the 2 and 3 minute intervals. (I have seen too many riders in survival mode after 30 miles into their first century to believe in "time crunched" plans.

    Try to have fun.

    ----

    I was doing 50 miles each day last month. I am at the start of a 3 week vacation. When I get back, I will do a 25 mile day, a 50 miles day and then start alternating 100 and 50 mile days. I expect I will see a lot of people in survival mode on the local 100 mile routes - most of them "time crunched."
     
  7. bgoetz

    bgoetz Member

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    Depends how fast you want to do the century in /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif. We have a couple of annual century rides that are more like races where the goal is to be the first one back. These things turn into blazing a pace line at 30+mph for miles on end, sometimes in and out of crosswinds. In these situations a high anaerobic threshold definitely could not hurt, as the first one back is usually the last one left, LOL.

    I do think that 20min LT intervals would help significantly too...
     
  8. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    Attack and chase sound like a good way to build lactate tolerance, and the capacity to attack (survive?) the occasional set of rolling hills. It even sounds like FUN!

    There are 2.5 and 3 hour group rides built into the OP's plan throughout, the initial three weeks are mostly endurance rides and sub-threshold sessions of the 3x12 minute variety as part of 2 hour workouts and then also sprinkled in here and there in later weeks along with similar length over/unders. The plan has 2 and 3 minute intervals in the middle and end weeks, an accepted way to build fitness under the right circumstances, especially in a relatively short amount of time.

    Hrumpole good for you picking up a plan with a goal in mind. Not everyone has the good fortune to put in twenty hour weeks on the bike. EPO notwithstanding, the coach who brought home LA in yellow so many times can probably get you home in one piece./img/vbsmilies/smilies/wink.gif
     
  9. hrumpole

    hrumpole New Member

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    Was this in addition to the endurance miles on the weekends, or did you just make the rides longer?
     
  10. hrumpole

    hrumpole New Member

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    This is a joke, right? There are those that have the time to ride 50-100 every day, but that's unfortunately not me as I'd like to stay married and employed. But good for you--with that much time, you're sure to be able to ride farther and likely faster than folks who don't.

    For other people, power meters are really helpful in budgeting time so that they efficiently produce gains from specified levels of effort. The reason I'm asking questions here it's because it's a power training thread and how to perform that training. How does your response help with that? "ride lots," unfortuntately, isn't a plan.
     
  11. InPursuit

    InPursuit New Member

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    What is your goal ? is it actually a century ride or something else. Be specific please. thanks.
     
  12. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    I just made them longer. Bumping up just one of the weekend rides from 2 hours to 3.5-4 hours seems to be working nicely.

    I read a good article in ROAD called ' What is the Next level?' which talked about the importance of having a long leg shattering ride every few weeks or so to really breach the next level of fitness. This is nothing new, It's been conventional wisdom since my first race in '82 but I've also recently been reading about Interleukin-6, and how longer, glycogen draining rides are particularly effective at stimulating an increase in this hormone (also found in abundance in cancer patients however there secreted by T-cells, and not muscle cells) which is great for utilizing fat as fuel at higher intensity levels. Longer leg shattering is of course relative to ones current level of fitness.

    Another reason I've added more miles is the plan to do a few 60 mile races in the 4's this year (Tour of Catskills YES!), a diversion from the usual 30 mile distance we race in my local park. Though TC indicates it's "good for up to 60 mile races" and Carmichael does showcase some successful Cat3 level case studies with this plan, miles are really the foundation of any good plan and NYC has got some serious local talent.
     
  13. hrumpole

    hrumpole New Member

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    Four events:
    1. 3d week in july: 2 100 mile rides in a week (Sat and Sat) with a friend who does iron distance tris. Quickly. I just want to finish them. These are (B) or (C) events.
    2. An olympic distance tri in early Sept. A event. Would like to get the bike split down to 1 hour.

    3. A 100 mile gran fondo that is supposed (?) to take place in DC in Sept/Oct, but has not yet been advertised.

    I am using the time crunched plan to build up a base level of fitness, and will use testing numbers after it's over to form the baseline for the rest of my summer's training. The hours on the bike may likely go up, but won't be as fast.

    Dan-
    I like your idea. Next week is week 4, so I think I'll tack on extra miles this Sunday and see what I've got left. Once you get about 10 miles from DC, it's all rolling hills.
     
  14. CalicoCat

    CalicoCat Member

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    Well, actually, in a way it is a plan. And it is actually the plan that I would advise for most newer riders. Most people who have been riding for less than a couple of years, or who just haven't been very consistent with their riding, are nowhere near their potential and will see gains very quickly if they just 'ride lots.' They don't have the mileage base to really start doing intervals, and hours in the saddle will do amazing wonders for their FTP (and average speed).

    For most of these people, 50-100mi/day is much too much for their bodies, let alone, like you say, work and family. But 150mi/week is a reasonable goal that will serve many people very well. 50-60mi rides on saturdays and sundays and 20-25mi rides twice a week during the week.

    Once a mileage base has been established and threshold stops going up, then it is time to start incorporating intervals into the training program, to continue to see progress. To do those intervals right, a power meter is a pretty invaluable tool. . . but even then, I stick to a diet of intervals once or twice a week, and at least one fast group ride, and one endurance day (plenty of hours in the saddle). I've said it a thousand times on these boards, and I'll say it again - I swear by endurance miles, year round and even during the racing season, for building fitness.
     
  15. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    One way to get at least some long rides in is to get up very early on Saturday and Sunday mornings. I don't think you significant other will complain too much if you're back by 10:30 or 11 and if you leave at 6am that's a nice chunk of time. OK, if you have kids and soccer/baseball/softball etc etc practise it may be an issue but you know what I'm getting at. If you don't want to get that many hours in per day at the weekend then adjust accordingly... but it's always a good "time crunch" option.

    Combine that with a one session of 2 or 3x25 and a session of "go hard for as long as you can go out for - aka go till you blow" (L4 for 1hour or less L3 for upto 2.5 hours) during the week and you'll be in fairly good shape.

    As you get closer to the events in question reduce the long rides and replace with shorter harder intervals at, or above, race pace - done on your racing bike.

    Of course most of this training should be done in the position you intend to race in.

    For the 100miler, it's mostly about pacing and feeding. The powermeter is your friend and you should use it in that instance to stop yourself from going too hard. The big mistake that most make is going by how they feel, which for most in the first 30 miles is too hard, unless you have a massive base of L2 and L3. Getting plenty of 2 to 3.5hr rides at a mix of L2 and L3 will help immensly and for the rides closer to 2hrs keep them in L3 as best you can and grind it out. As time progresses squeeze that out to 2.5hrs and so on but you'll still need some shorter harder efforts during the week if you want to build power as well.

    Use these longer, harder efforts to determine how well your position and your feeding strategy really works - you have to train the gut too ;) Have a look to see if your longer distance target events provide food and energy drinks and if they do then try them out before the event. For example, I don't really dig Gatorade or Cytomax - but that's what was on offer on the Davis Double that I did this past weekend. I know from experience that means at best I get bad gas and at the worst it's "the runs" after 4 to 6 hours on either of those if I stick to drinking soley those - so it was one bottle of sports drink, one of water and drink alternately then supplement the calorie deficit by eating food.
     
  16. hrumpole

    hrumpole New Member

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    I'm with you on that. I feel like the best "breakthrough" days come after longer endurance efforts--the kind of 3-plus hour grinders where I'm just glad to be back before the cramps start. In the time that I have now (7hrs max till next week), this interval program seems to be working. I am getting stronger-it just hurts. Once I make it through 8 weeks, I am going to switch up to something that looks a lot more like what you just described. In doing this, I find three interval days per week is mentally difficult. 2 interval days per week is a lot easier, even if there are two more longer rides built in.
     
  17. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

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    My point was not that one needs to ride 50-100 miles a day. Rather that many of the racers can do 50-100 miles a day in comfort. A lot of them actually have time to ride a lot. It is rather hard to compete against those people while doing "time crunched" plans.
     
  18. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    There is no substitute for miles, that's a given. However I am only aware of the one Time Crunch plan devised by Chris Carmichael and it will take up 8 hours of your week, involve threshold intervals (12 mins+), speedwork (3 minute intervals) and multiple weekly endurance miles (rides of 2-3 hours). I am sure there are other "time crunch" plans posted in the pages of Bicycling, Men's Health, Cosmopolitan, or wherever, that likely consist of 3 or 4 weekly workouts lasting an hour each. Those plans are neither here nor there and are non sequitur to OPs post.

    These miles will not take you to Nationals or even neccessarily past Cat4, they will do very well for beginning racers and folks who want to occasionally stretch their legs with the big boys. Time Crunch is there to bridge the gap between racers doing big base miles, build and peak periods and riders who need to get faster than just several hours of weekly riding will do. Riding 8 hours a week will get one in shape, riding 8 focused hours a week will get one in much better shape.

    Bottom line I think we all agree... wanna upgrade to Cat3? Gotta do Cat3 miles. Doesn't mean fun can't be had in the 4's while working days as a desk jockey or meeting familial obligations.
     
  19. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

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    danfoz ---

    As you say there are a lot of "time crunched" plans including plans with titles like: ride a faster century in 12 weeks.

    The OP wanted to ride a century later this year. Doing sh.ort intervals may be effective for racing, but I do not believe it is effective for 100 mile rides.

    Most of finishing a century is mental. Most of finishing a century in comfort is having done a lot of rides of near century length at near century power output.

    ---

    As for having fun. Everyone should have fun riding a bike.
     
  20. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    Old guy you got that about the mental bit, and I agree lots of miles. The miles imo make the mental bit.

    I usually advocate for Carmichael's version especially for racing as it worked well for me getting back into racing fitness on limited time. I also like it because it swims against the current... and works. Looking at the plan it's also probably useful to get someone up to speed preparing for a Century fitness relatively quickly, we'll have to wait for the verdict. Finishing in comfort may be another thing.

    I'm prepping for 2 consecutive 60 mile days of Catskills racing with lots of climbing (one is 3+ miles w/grades ranging between 15-22%) in early August and having a good day is going to involve weekends between now and then of long days, some stacked, climbing on similar terrain. No time crunch about it. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/wink.gif
     
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