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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK. I'm a pretty fit rider (recent power/weight has me in between Cat 3/4) with a lot of winter miles underneath me. I'm looking for an interval program to do once a week. The catch is, I've only got about an hour (you know, have to work, love my kids and wife, etc...)of on the bike time to do it in. I'm in Denver and will be riding on flat road. Suggestions?
 

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Goals?

LyncStar said:
OK. I'm a pretty fit rider (recent power/weight has me in between Cat 3/4) with a lot of winter miles underneath me. I'm looking for an interval program to do once a week. The catch is, I've only got about an hour (you know, have to work, love my kids and wife, etc...)of on the bike time to do it in. I'm in Denver and will be riding on flat road. Suggestions?
What are your goals? The type of riding/racing you want to do will determine the type of intervals you should do. Your statement that "power/weight has me in between Cat 3/4" makes me wonder if you are quoting your USCF category or just doing some math. There can be a big difference. At any rate, there are basically three types of intervals - 30 seconds at all out effort with roughly 1 minute recovery, 2-5 minutes at very high effort with 2-3 minutes recovery, and 10-20 minutes at time-trial pace with 5-10 minutes recovery. With a one hour ride, you have only slightly more than 30 minutes to do the intervals since you need time for a full warmup and some cool down. Your goals should determine which intervals you choose.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Kerry Irons said:
What are your goals? The type of riding/racing you want to do will determine the type of intervals you should do. Your statement that "power/weight has me in between Cat 3/4" makes me wonder if you are quoting your USCF category or just doing some math. There can be a big difference. At any rate, there are basically three types of intervals - 30 seconds at all out effort with roughly 1 minute recovery, 2-5 minutes at very high effort with 2-3 minutes recovery, and 10-20 minutes at time-trial pace with 5-10 minutes recovery. With a one hour ride, you have only slightly more than 30 minutes to do the intervals since you need time for a full warmup and some cool down. Your goals should determine which intervals you choose.
My goal is to go as fast as I can with the limited time that I have to train. Most of the events that I do are endurance (100 mile mountain bike, 100 mile road etc...). I just do a couple a year. I got the Power/Weight ratio from a lab in Boulder. I just dug up the data from October and it shows a 3.1 pw/weight (weight is in Kg). I'm pretty much in the same, potentially a little better shape than then. For intervals, I'm thinking 1 on 1 off, 2 on 2 off, 3 on 3 off, 4 on 4 off, 3 on 3 off, 2 on 2 off, 1 on 1 off. That gives me 16 minutes to warm up and 16 minutes to cool dow. The on being between 102%-105% of my LT. The off being around 65%-70%. The warm up and cool down periods being around 80-85% of LT.

Thoughts?
 

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Kerry and some others will have more insight, but it sounds to me that doing Time Trial or LT intervals-the long ones would give you the most benefits. When you say "ride as fast as you can", I assume you really don't mean "speed"-balls out for 15-30 seconds, but improve your ability to ride "X" mph for a sustained period. That calls for the long intervals of 10-20 minutes. Do you want massive power for a very short period, or impressive, sustainable power for a long period?
 

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simplistically, short, hard intervals will make you stronger and faster, and longer intervals will increase endurance at speed. to improve at a distance event, you'll need both. If you had to focus on one, though, you probably need the steady state intervals more than the short, hard ones. You probaly need the endurance more than the top end, and, while the short ones will help some with everything, it comes at high recovery cost.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
bill said:
simplistically, short, hard intervals will make you stronger and faster, and longer intervals will increase endurance at speed. to improve at a distance event, you'll need both. If you had to focus on one, though, you probably need the steady state intervals more than the short, hard ones. You probaly need the endurance more than the top end, and, while the short ones will help some with everything, it comes at high recovery cost.
What are "steady state" intervals? How long? At what percentage of LT? I'm definately more interested in power over the long haul than the ability to sprint to a finish. Also, as part of my current training I do tempo training one day a week. I ride at 95-102% of LT for about 30-40 minutes.

I do the Tempo ride on Tuesdays and want to work the interval in on Thursdays. On Monday,Weds, Friday I do easy recovery. On Saturday/Sunday I try and mixin some long rides 3-4 hours (60-75 miles).
 

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LyncStar said:
What are "steady state" intervals? How long? At what percentage of LT? I'm definately more interested in power over the long haul than the ability to sprint to a finish. Also, as part of my current training I do tempo training one day a week. I ride at 95-102% of LT for about 30-40 minutes.

I do the Tempo ride on Tuesdays and want to work the interval in on Thursdays. On Monday,Weds, Friday I do easy recovery. On Saturday/Sunday I try and mixin some long rides 3-4 hours (60-75 miles).
Since you aren't racing, I don't think that one or two minute intervals are really what you need -- those are great for developing short term pop (i.e. the last lap in a crit), but I can't see much value in a 100 mile mtb race. I'd say do something like 5min on 2 off x 6. That's 40 minutes of work start to finish. Warm up for 10 and cool down for ten and there's your hour.

The effort should be the same on each one and be calculated so that you can just finish the last one. Don't go too hard the first couple of times that you try 'em... you'll be surprised how hard it is to finish the set, but finishing is where you get the benefit. By the same token, these should be harder than your 30 minute steady state stuff.

How much harder? Well, till you have a power meter it's hard to give you a quantifiable goal...

These would basically be VO2max intervals.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
shawndoggy said:
Since you aren't racing, I don't think that one or two minute intervals are really what you need -- those are great for developing short term pop (i.e. the last lap in a crit), but I can't see much value in a 100 mile mtb race. I'd say do something like 5min on 2 off x 6. That's 40 minutes of work start to finish. Warm up for 10 and cool down for ten and there's your hour.

The effort should be the same on each one and be calculated so that you can just finish the last one. Don't go too hard the first couple of times that you try 'em... you'll be surprised how hard it is to finish the set, but finishing is where you get the benefit. By the same token, these should be harder than your 30 minute steady state stuff.

How much harder? Well, till you have a power meter it's hard to give you a quantifiable goal...

These would basically be VO2max intervals.
Thanks for the tip! I'll give that a go.
 

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bill said:
6 x 5 min VO2 max intervals with 2 min's recovery? that is very, very, very, VERY hard work. VERY. IMHO.
Ho ho, yes it is. VERY HARD. Fo sho. I would personally find it very difficult to complete this workout.

With only an hour for the session and only doing it once a week, though, I can't think of better bang for the buck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
shawndoggy said:
Ho ho, yes it is. VERY HARD. Fo sho. I would personally find it very difficult to complete this workout.

With only an hour for the session and only doing it once a week, though, I can't think of better bang for the buck.
If I did this workout on a Thursday and an hour or so recovery ride on Friday, would I be good for a long zone 2-4 ride on Saturday?
 

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shawndoggy said:
Ho ho, yes it is. VERY HARD. Fo sho. I would personally find it very difficult to complete this workout.

With only an hour for the session and only doing it once a week, though, I can't think of better bang for the buck.
why work on vo2 intervals when he is competing in a 100 mile mnt bike race??

a race of that length is more endurance & endurance at LT more than anything else...
if you only got an hour, spend as much of it as possible at you LT power.
warmup then do 3x15mins... or 2x22mins... cool down, then you are done..

for me, LT intervals are the best bang for the buck.... in fact a recent article in Velownews by John Verheul states (paraphrased), "power at LT is the single most important part of a bike racer"....(going from memory.. but he isnt the only one to say that)
 

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argylesocks said:
for me, LT intervals are the best bang for the buck.... in fact a recent article in Velownews by John Verheul states (paraphrased), "power at LT is the single most important part of a bike racer"....(going from memory.. but he isnt the only one to say that)
100% true. But, IIRC, it's possible to show a last little burst of improvement to your FT power through doing a few weeks worth of the VO2max work, since you're still within the aerobic system. Really, there isn't a hard demarcation between FT and VO2Max... it's a continuum, and the more you push into VO2Max, the more likely you'll be able to squeeze a bit more out of your FT. But it is not going to substitute for a big base of FT work. Here, our OP says that he is (and presumably has been) already doing the FT work.

I ride at 95-102% of LT for about 30-40 minutes
Since the FT work is already being done, the VO2max is there to put the razor's edge on the meat cleaver. The icing on the cake. The sesame seeds on the Big Mac's bun. you get the idea :) :)

To some degree I think that the VO2Max work is good mentally too -- because it accustoms the racer to suffering. FT work for less than an hour by definition is less than "max" effort, even for the longer duration, since FT is the max one can hold for an hour. So while hard, the efforts are do-able. VO2max, on the other hand, that stuff's hard. Like "oops I threw up a little bit" hard. Getting used to that feeling, for me, is helpful at squeezing a few percent out of my FT power... if only because I know I can hurt a little more.
 

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shawndoggy said:
100% true. But, IIRC, it's possible to show a last little burst of improvement to your FT power through doing a few weeks worth of the VO2max work, since you're still within the aerobic system. Really, there isn't a hard demarcation between FT and VO2Max... it's a continuum, and the more you push into VO2Max, the more likely you'll be able to squeeze a bit more out of your FT. But it is not going to substitute for a big base of FT work. Here, our OP says that he is (and presumably has been) already doing the FT work.



Since the FT work is already being done, the VO2max is there to put the razor's edge on the meat cleaver. The icing on the cake. The sesame seeds on the Big Mac's bun. you get the idea :) :)

To some degree I think that the VO2Max work is good mentally too -- because it accustoms the racer to suffering. FT work for less than an hour by definition is less than "max" effort, even for the longer duration, since FT is the max one can hold for an hour. So while hard, the efforts are do-able. VO2max, on the other hand, that stuff's hard. Like "oops I threw up a little bit" hard. Getting used to that feeling, for me, is helpful at squeezing a few percent out of my FT power... if only because I know I can hurt a little more.
good point, i missed that. however, only 1 day/wk of LT/FT work is not very much. if he wants to add another hard day of intervals, i would still choice a 2nd day of LT work.

additionally, if you can do 30-40mins of LT work... extend it! do 2x25 or 3x20, or 2x30 mins
aint nothing fun about 60mins of LT work :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
argylesocks said:
good point, i missed that. however, only 1 day/wk of LT/FT work is not very much. if he wants to add another hard day of intervals, i would still choice a 2nd day of LT work.

additionally, if you can do 30-40mins of LT work... extend it! do 2x25 or 3x20, or 2x30 mins
aint nothing fun about 60mins of LT work :)
I appreciate the info. For clarities sake, I do a tempo (basically average 99%-100% of LT for 40 straight minutes) ride on Tuesday and want to start my interval on Thursday. I'm leaning toward the recommendation of 4 on 2 off for 5 sets. For the on part of the interval I'm thinking 102%-105% of LT. Is that about right?

ON the "off" days, I usually do a light spin or work on the elliptical machine for about 50 minutes. On the weekends I try and get in some long rides 3-4 hours at least one of the two days.
 

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LyncStar said:
I appreciate the info. For clarities sake, I do a tempo (basically average 99%-100% of LT for 40 straight minutes) ride on Tuesday and want to start my interval on Thursday. I'm leaning toward the recommendation of 4 on 2 off for 5 sets. For the on part of the interval I'm thinking 102%-105% of LT. Is that about right?

ON the "off" days, I usually do a light spin or work on the elliptical machine for about 50 minutes. On the weekends I try and get in some long rides 3-4 hours at least one of the two days.

Well by percentages, I'm assuming that you mean percentage of HR? It's really hard to advise you on that... over four minutes, even going way over your one hour "LT" power output, that your HR won't catch up to your LT HR, even though you are working harder. By the same token, on the last one, it could be that your HR creeps up, but you aren't really putting out as much power.

For these you are probably better off using perceived exertion. Go as hard as you can and complete the set. If you are doing these outside, for control purposes, so them on the same stretch of road or up the same hill (I know, you said it's flat), and look at your speedo and try to hold the same speed over the same terrain. If you are doing out-n-backs, note the speed on the first one in each direction. Even perfectly flat roads usually aren't and there's always a head-cross-tail wind that will change things. Then make sure that you hold (or exceed) that speed for each repeat. Watch what your HR does, but don't let it define the interval set.

These take some practice to be able to complete. Generally people go WAY too hard on the first one because it feels so easy, then crack on subsequent efforts. Better to let the first repeat or two be where you let yourself learn what they feel like. And if they really are too easy you can pick it up on the later intervals.
 

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Not too short...

The intervals should be much longer than those you mention based on the types of races you will be doing. Pushing your LT pace is going to give you much bang for the buck in a 1 hour workout. I would do:

10 min warm up
20 min at LT
5 min easy spin
20 min at LT
5 min easy spin then stretch a bit

This is a great "bread and butter" time trial workout.

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
mprevost said:
The intervals should be much longer than those you mention based on the types of races you will be doing. Pushing your LT pace is going to give you much bang for the buck in a 1 hour workout. I would do:

10 min warm up
20 min at LT
5 min easy spin
20 min at LT
5 min easy spin then stretch a bit

This is a great "bread and butter" time trial workout.

Mike
How is this different (apart from the five minute break in the middle) from my 40 min at LT workout on Tuesdays? Is there any workout I should be doing where I go ABOVE LT for a period of time?
 

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LyncStar said:
How is this different (apart from the five minute break in the middle) from my 40 min at LT workout on Tuesdays? Is there any workout I should be doing where I go ABOVE LT for a period of time?
The workout that I gave you will be SIGNIFICANTLY above your LT power... but maybe yes and maybe no on HR.

HR is a very bad way to measure these very intense efforts. Just for sake of argument, let's say your max HR is 190, and your LT HR is 170. Let's also say your power at LT (i.e. what you can maintain, constantly, for one hour, or your avg over a 40k TT) is 250w. Well, that means that the power between zero and 250 watts is spread over that first 170 beats and that all of the power above is going to be compressed into the twenty remaining beats. In other words, you could be holding 350w for five minutes, and only see 180 bpm or so. Or, you could do a 30 second all out effort at 750 watts (3x your LT power!), but your hr never even gets above 160ish.

HR is a decent measure for longer intervals like the LT work you have been doing. But as the interval duration decreases and the intensity increases, it's going to become worse and worse.

Like I said before, the protocol I gave you should be done using a constant measure (speed) and perceived effort (i.e. the hardest you can go and still finish all of the intervals at the chosen speed). Put a piece of electrical tape over your HRM and look at the numbers once you are done. Don't let those numbers define the workout for you, though.
 

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I tried these 5 minute deals this am. I was doing similar workouts, but with more recovery. turns out that I needn't have been giving myself so much recovery.
that's a good one. I'm not sure that I was at VO2 max, but I just tried to pace myself for what I thought I could do for five minutes, six times. I was interrupted on the fifth interval by an elementary school kid who needed my help (my second-grader), but I'll do these again.
 
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