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Interval Suggestions Needed(4 posts)

Interval Suggestions NeededFred2000
Apr 12, 2002 10:35 AM
Hi, I am starting to ride more seriously and I am thinking about starting an interval routine. I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions for either routines that work well or a routine that is a good place to start for someone with decent base miles but little interval experience.

Thanks, Jon
re: Interval Suggestions Neededeschelon
Apr 12, 2002 12:23 PM
I don't claim to be a guru of training...but one thing I have learned from listening to other people's advice is to not follow them literally. Everybody is different and their bodies respond differently to training...so you have to really listen to what they tell you and objectively apply the advice to your needs.

Anyway, doing intervals are supposed to hurt like hell. It's supposed to hurt so bad that you should be afraid of doing them. But you have to constantly tell yourself: 1. although it's going to hurt like hell, it's temporary; 2. doing it isn't going to kill you (unless you have some medical condition); 3. if you aren't screaming inside your body during the effort, you aren't going hard enough; 4. the best advice that I never really got until recently: rest hard on the easy days, and train hard on the hard days.

Here's my sample schedule:
Mon: Easy zone1 or zone2 ride for ~2 hours
Tue: Interval day: 8x 1 minute intervals...all out pain...75 percent recovery
Wed: Easy zone1 or zone2 ride for ~2 hours
Thu: Interval day: 8x 1 minute intervals...all out pain...
Fri: Easy zone1 or zone 2 ride for ~2 hours
Sat: Race day...otherwise interval day (see Thursday)
Sun: Race day...otherwise easy zone 1 or 2 ride...~4-5 hr ride

This is just something that I feel I need to be able to handle racing. I'm still racing like crap right now because my intensity phase just started 3 weeks ago...but hope to peak around late July. One more thing: Keep your easy days really really easy...and ride yourself hard on the hard days.
another version...lonefrontranger
Apr 12, 2002 2:44 PM
I agree wholeheartedly with eschelon - you have to do what's right for you. A lot of us have fine-tuned our workout plans to train our specific weaknesses, so you'll have to figure out what those are before you target them.

BUT..(t) If you're just starting out, how do you KNOW what's right for you? :o) Here are some suggestions from my big world o' fun.

The trick with starting interval training is do NOT do too much or too high intensity without sufficient base. What is sufficient base you ask? Well, depending on what your athletic background is and/or how many years you've been cycling, it can be anything from 500 to 2000 low-to-moderate intensity miles since midwinter. The less base you have, the fewer reps you should do, and the longer you should wait before really hitting the highest intensity stuff. The good news is that it's April; many of us still have a good 6 to 8 weeks to finish putting in a solid base before the serious money crits or stage races occur.

In absence of further info, start with 2 or 3 x 3 sets of each type, and work up from there. The shorter the duration, the higher the intensity. From highest intensity downward, these include:

* 8-second jumps; these are pure sprints done at MAX effort to tune your speed and jump.

* 30/30s; essentially a max effort workout for 30 seconds, with 30 second recovery. This teaches your body how to respond to demands while your muscles are still loaded with lactic. There are a variety of ways to do the 30 second effort; read my "aaargh..." thread further down for more detail. You can either do these in sets or to "failure". I do these on Tuesdays. Later in the season I switch to spinups (limited gear sprints) and big-gear windups on the road, or do a Tuesday night crit.

* VO2MAX intervals; can be the vVO2MAX stuff mentioned in the below thread, or my personal fave (not!) 2 minutes on, 2 minutes off. The 2 minutes on is a lactic-drenched 90-95% of MHR effort. I do sets of these with 8-10 minutes of FULL recovery in between. These make me want to sell my bikes and take up needlepoint. I do these on Thursdays, then later in the season switch to a Thursday night hard group ride.

* "Cruise" or TT intervals; these are where you train your LT; typically 10 minutes on with 5 minutes recovery in between, done at LT or ~80-85% of MHR. I do cruise intervals on a 2-mile long climb near my house, since one of my weaknesses is blowing up (going too hard) on climbs; ideally doing this will help to train my system for doing sustained climbs faster and more efficiently at a lower HR.

There are a bunch of other kinds of intervals I've done, including ladders, pyramids, Fibbonaccis (sp?), speedwork (slight downhill / tailwind or motorpaced) and tempo, but the ones I highlighted are the ones I use the most, because they target my specific weaknesses.

Good luck!
variation on a theme...merckx56
Apr 13, 2002 3:03 AM
one day every other week, i do ten sets of two minutes on at LT and five minutes off to recover. it'll take you over an hour to complete the workout and about two days to recover fully! warm up fully before doing any intervals and stretch when you get home!