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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm a male, 46yo, 155lbs and have been riding 20+ yrs. Not a racer, but decent recreational rider, especially on hills. The outdoor season here in Maine has started again and I'm back riding with our club. The last few seasons have pretty much been the same: club rides on Monday and Thursday, Solo ride on Sat and/or Sun. Both club rides are fairly intense, ranging from 32-38mi and 1200-1850ft climbing. Pace is 20-22mph. We'll have our typical town line or other sign sprints, 12% hill climbs and of course flats.

I've never done any regimented HIIT and would usually rely on the club rides and my weekend tempo rides to increase my fitness levels. it works for me and I do get more fit, but I want to be stronger (more power) and be able to hold VO2, anaerobic for longer periods. I consider the club rides comparable to HIIT, realizing they are not structured nearly as regimented as a true training regimen, but week after week, we push the limits on the same stretches, then recover, then attack, etc. so i feel I'm benefiting through the season in terms of performance gain.

My biggest question has to do with my solo rides on wknds. I typically will go out and do 35-85mi rides, but they will be tempo only. It's pretty hillly where I live so climbing can be as much as 7000ft over 70mi depending on route. I usually push on hills, so closer to lactate threshold, but won't push harder for fear of blowing up and not being able to finish the ride. Plus, I like to reserve the wknd rides for more casual type riding. But, to get stronger and be able to keep up with some of the stronger club riders, am I making a mistake doing wknd tempo rides? Should I change to shorter HIIT rides? I've got to be realistic with myself knowing I'll only commit to riding 3-4 days/wk, so considering the two club rides counts as two HIIT rides, do I just stick with the wknd tempo rides or do them as HIIT?

I'll admit, I never really considered HIIT as a way to help improve my performance assuming longer mileage was just as good or better. Having read some HIIT articles, I can see that isn't the case anymore. I'm not crunched for time on wknds, so it's not like I need to cut my longer rides short, but if doing higher intensity shorter rides will help me make faster gains, then I'm all for it. Thoughts?
 

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Well, you aren't going to be able to hold V02 Max longer (it's kind of time bound) but you can raise it doing VO2 Max intervals. You can do those and add on endurance miles when done on one of your weekend rides - just make sure you do the V02 first. You probably don't want to do V02 Max back to back days though and you do want to do 2-3 times a week to see improvement.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Well, you aren't going to be able to hold V02 Max longer (it's kind of time bound) but you can raise it doing VO2 Max intervals. You can do those and add on endurance miles when done on one of your weekend rides - just make sure you do the V02 first. You probably don't want to do V02 Max back to back days though and you do want to do 2-3 times a week to see improvement.
Thank you. Would a power meter be essential for the VO2 intervals? I've been debating whether to get one, but keep holding off.
FYI, here is stravas estimate of power distribution for last night's ride. Looks like I was maxed out for 30% of the time.
 

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I follow a similar structure as you. Two interval training and shorter but faster rides during the week (Tuesdays and Thursdays), and then a 50-60 miles ride at a high pace, but somewhat of a constant pace, on the weekend (usually Saturdays).
I read somewhere that is good to do a bit of both, HIIT training and endurance rides.
 

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Thank you. Would a power meter be essential for the VO2 intervals? I've been debating whether to get one, but keep holding off.
FYI, here is stravas estimate of power distribution for last night's ride. Looks like I was maxed out for 30% of the time.
Higher intensity is harder to do well without a powermeter although they can be done - Traditional approach probably best done on hill repeats where you can do the same section over and over at a particular speed once you find out how long you can go at a certain pace.

Typically V02max intervals will be 2 to 4 minutes in length with an equal amount of recovery between them and at high cadence - like keep it over 100 rpm. 5 repeats of 3 minute on and 3 off would be a good place to start - the first one should feel pretty hard, and the last make you feel like you are going to croak if you are doing them right. This is all done at target output for power, so without a power meter it's going to be difficult.

Another way to do VO2 Max work is to go all out for 2 to 3 minutes, then repeat after the same amount of recovery. You will slow down as you go through the 2 or 3 minute blocks which is by design - just make sure you are throwing everything you have at each one all the way to the end of each. This you can do without a power meter, because it's all out and you don't have to keep it in a zone.
 
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