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Am I training too hard, or not hard enough??

Gav888Gav888 Posts: 946
Hi

Im trying to increase my distance speed by doing interval training, and ive had 5x5 and 2x20 recommended as a good way to do this.

I believe you need to ride these at LT so you only just complete the interval. Ive only just started doing these and at present I cannot complete the 5x5, more like 5x3 at the moment! LOL

I dont have a HRM or power meter to gauge my effort, so any idea what it should feel like riding at LT and should I be ending each interval with burning legs?

Also, after completing my intervals my legs dont ache or hurt when I get in, so even though ive been riding till they burn and breathing heavy, am I going hard enough if by the time I get home I could go out again???
Cycling never gets any easier, you just go faster - Greg LeMond
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  • nmcgannnmcgann Posts: 1,780
    Generally, if you can't complete the series of intervals in a session you are doing the individual intervals too hard.

    What other riding are you doing?
    --
    "Because the cycling is pain. The cycling is soul crushing pain."
  • Gav888Gav888 Posts: 946
    Im training 4 times a week, Tuesdays 5x5, Thursdays 2x20, Fridays 5x5 and on a Sunday distance riding, normally 40+ miles at least. Last weekend was 80 miles, weekend before that 50 miles. I try to ride my sunday rides at a bit above comfortable pace, so im breathing a bit heavier than normal for the whole ride.
    Cycling never gets any easier, you just go faster - Greg LeMond
  • IMHO you should be doing such hard intervals at this time of year although you dont say when you expect to start racing. Lots of miles this time of year, intervals later on nearer racing season.
  • Gav888Gav888 Posts: 946
    3 times... lol

    Does it matter if you are doing this type of training all year round?

    Im training for general speed and fitness, but also for some sportives next year and some 10 TT's, first sportive is in May, 100 miles and I would like to do this in at least 6 hours. At present I can do 80 miles in 5hrs 20 so im a little way off at the momemt hence the training.
    Cycling never gets any easier, you just go faster - Greg LeMond
  • InfamousInfamous Posts: 1,158
    Gav888 wrote:
    Am I training too hard, or not hard enough??
    Gav888 wrote:
    Im training 4 times a week,
    Not hard enough.

    I don't think there's much point in doing 5x5 at this time, save that for after feb. 2x20 is good, as are long steady (not slow) rides.

    I think you should get the miles in now, while the weather isn't too bad, when you are limited by weather over winter, you can do some shorter intense rides.
  • BronzieBronzie Posts: 4,927
    Gav888 wrote:
    I believe you need to ride these at LT so you only just complete the interval. Ive only just started doing these and at present I cannot complete the 5x5, more like 5x3 at the moment!
    Just to clarify, the 5 min intervals should be at a higher intensity than the 20 minute intervals - ie at an intensity that is above your "threshold"

    Are you doing the intervals on the road or turbo?

    If on the road, then you can only go by feel if you don't have an HRM or powermeter. The 20 minute intervals should feel maybe just a bit easier than a flat out 10 mile time trial pace. The 5 minute intervals a bit harder, certainly at a pace that you can't maintain for much more than 10 minutes solid.

    If you are using a turbo, use rear wheel speed as a proxy for power output and get a feel for the intensity of both with reference to speed.

    If you are doing them right, you should certainly feel the effects the next day (heavy legs).

    I sometimes find the first 30 secs to 2 minutes of a 5 minute interval feels incredibly hard (especially on the turbo) and think there’s no way I can complete another 3 minutes, but I can usually push through this to complete it.
  • 2*20 is really too short for this time of year, if you're looking to start racing in the spring.


    Longer sessions, longer and harder, mostly mixed UT2 UT1 to build your base fitness.

    If you can only fit in shorter sessions, 2*20 and say up to an hour at a time in the week then training morning and night for four days and have friday off before the weekend.
  • Gav888Gav888 Posts: 946
    Bronzie wrote:
    Gav888 wrote:
    I believe you need to ride these at LT so you only just complete the interval. Ive only just started doing these and at present I cannot complete the 5x5, more like 5x3 at the moment!
    Just to clarify, the 5 min intervals should be at a higher intensity than the 20 minute intervals - ie at an intensity that is above your "threshold"

    Are you doing the intervals on the road or turbo?

    If on the road, then you can only go by feel if you don't have an HRM or powermeter. The 20 minute intervals should feel maybe just a bit easier than a flat out 10 mile time trial pace. The 5 minute intervals a bit harder, certainly at a pace that you can't maintain for much more than 10 minutes solid.

    If you are using a turbo, use rear wheel speed as a proxy for power output and get a feel for the intensity of both with reference to speed.

    If you are doing them right, you should certainly feel the effects the next day (heavy legs).

    I sometimes find the first 30 secs to 2 minutes of a 5 minute interval feels incredibly hard (especially on the turbo) and think there’s no way I can complete another 3 minutes, but I can usually push through this to complete it.

    Im doing a mix of road and exercise bike (not bought a turbo yet) and time wise im normally limited to an hour 3 times during the week and a long ride over the weekend.... familiy commitments.

    Alot of people refer to 10 mile TT pace, but I have no idea what this is... but the 5x5 pace is something that was confusing me, ie doing 5x5 at LT but also the 2x20 at LT, your not getting the gains on the 5x5... now I know its supposed to be above LT thats fine :)

    I want to make sure im doing them right, as even today my legs are ok and I was riding until it hurt each interval yesterday, surely that is hard training?

    ride_whenever - what on earth are UT2 UT1?? but as mentioned above I am limited on time during the week so I may not get chance to do these, I normally get 6 or 7 hours max per week, which is why I thought my routine was the best I could do with the time given.
    Cycling never gets any easier, you just go faster - Greg LeMond
  • Doing only long and slow during winter months is a myth.

    Yes, long miles are required to build base fitness at this time of year, but intensity work is still required during this period. Later on when the base is built, the long slow tail off and the intensity work increases.

    Unfortunately too many people misread this and drop the high intensity work at this time of year.

    To try to answer the OP, you need to be careful not to plateau with 2x20s and you may be right with your original effort level for this time of year. Doing the same 2x20 (or 5x5s) from now until next season will not give any real benefit as there's no progression. If you can start at a level and then increase it over time, by speed or power measurement then great.

    Another way is to start how you were at a high intensity for 3 reps, then progress by increasing the time on, rest or reps over time.

    The thing about heavy legs next day is also a mistake. You should be maintaining pace and progressing. If you are breathing out of youre censored and have lead legs the next day, then you are overtraining in the session and won't be of as much benefit. Once you've hit the point where you can maintain speed, power or cadence, then stop and warm down. Aim to progress next time. You will move forward quicker this way.
  • Gav888Gav888 Posts: 946
    mackdaddy wrote:
    Doing only long and slow during winter months is a myth.

    Yes, long miles are required to build base fitness at this time of year, but intensity work is still required during this period. Later on when the base is built, the long slow tail off and the intensity work increases.

    Unfortunately too many people misread this and drop the high intensity work at this time of year.

    To try to answer the OP, you need to be careful not to plateau with 2x20s and you may be right with your original effort level for this time of year. Doing the same 2x20 (or 5x5s) from now until next season will not give any real benefit as there's no progression. If you can start at a level and then increase it over time, by speed or power measurement then great.

    Another way is to start how you were at a high intensity for 3 reps, then progress by increasing the time on, rest or reps over time.

    The thing about heavy legs next day is also a mistake. You should be maintaining pace and progressing. If you are breathing out of youre ars* and have lead legs the next day, then you are overtraining in the session and won't be of as much benefit. Once you've hit the point where you can maintain speed, power or cadence, then stop and warm down. Aim to progress next time. You will move forward quicker this way.

    Interesting answer..

    With 2x20, once I can manage the intervals, say I do 18mph for the 2x20min intervals and im knackered at the end and just complete them, I will then increase this to 19mph and then 20mph and so on, that way you are making gains and your still only doing 2x20. Thats right isnt it?

    FYI Im using speed as an example, but things like wind will have an effect on that so I need to learn how my legs feel rather than looking at the speedo to judge my effort, hence the original questions.

    Would it be easier to do the 5x5 and 2x20 on the exercise bike and stick with long stead distance riding on the road bike on Sundays, that way its more consitant training?

    I want to be sure im not overtraining (or undertraining) to make the best gains with the time I have regardless of weather.
    Cycling never gets any easier, you just go faster - Greg LeMond
  • eheh Posts: 4,854
    I'm dubious about doing much interval work at this time of year, after all you have to get through to your main goal May and (a) not get ill (b) still have some enthusiasm left.

    For October I'd be tempted to do some steady rides as base, plus some one legged work to improve pedalling technique. Then November on you can start the intervals gently at first and work up over time.
  • BronzieBronzie Posts: 4,927
    Gav888 wrote:
    Im doing a mix of road and exercise bike
    Can you set the resistance on the exercise bike accurately so you can replicate it next session? If yes, and you have a speed readout on it, then you can use this instead of power.
    If you can't replicate the resistance each time then you will struggle to make your sessions meaningful on the exercise bike. Maybe time to invest in a turbo.
    Gav888 wrote:
    A lot of people refer to 10 mile TT pace, but I have no idea what this is
    It's the sort of effort you could sustain for 20-30 mins flat out...........but not much more!Have a read of this to get an idea of what each training level should "feel" like.
    http://home.trainingpeaks.com/articles/ ... oggan.aspx
    Gav888 wrote:
    I want to make sure im doing them right, as even today my legs are ok and I was riding until it hurt each interval yesterday, surely that is hard training?
    If you are doing them right, then there should be at least a bit of residual fatigue the next day.
  • Gav888Gav888 Posts: 946
    Bronzie wrote:
    Gav888 wrote:
    Im doing a mix of road and exercise bike
    Can you set the resistance on the exercise bike accurately so you can replicate it next session? If yes, and you have a speed readout on it, then you can use this instead of power.
    If you can't replicate the resistance each time then you will struggle to make your sessions meaningful on the exercise bike. Maybe time to invest in a turbo.
    Gav888 wrote:
    A lot of people refer to 10 mile TT pace, but I have no idea what this is
    It's the sort of effort you could sustain for 20-30 mins flat out...........but not much more!Have a read of this to get an idea of what each training level should "feel" like.
    http://home.trainingpeaks.com/articles/ ... oggan.aspx
    Gav888 wrote:
    I want to make sure im doing them right, as even today my legs are ok and I was riding until it hurt each interval yesterday, surely that is hard training?
    If you are doing them right, then there should be at least a bit of residual fatigue the next day.

    Yeah its a York 2950HP, nothing special but you can set the difficulty level and it has a speed display so its possible to replicate resistance.

    And thanks for the link, that is the sort of thing ive been looking for to work out my effort :)

    Also, Is it a problem doing intervals at this time of year, maybe the risk of getting a cold is slightly higher but surely you can do a mix of interval and distance riding all year round regardless of weather, rather than increasing the intensity as the event gets closer and working on LSD now? If you do intervals and LSD now through to May wouldnt you end up a quicker rider come May, or am I missing something?
    Cycling never gets any easier, you just go faster - Greg LeMond
  • mackdaddy wrote:
    Doing only long and slow during winter months is a myth.

    Yes, long miles are required to build base fitness at this time of year, but intensity work is still required during this period. Later on when the base is built, the long slow tail off and the intensity work increases.

    Unfortunately too many people misread this and drop the high intensity work at this time of year.

    To try to answer the OP, you need to be careful not to plateau with 2x20s and you may be right with your original effort level for this time of year. Doing the same 2x20 (or 5x5s) from now until next season will not give any real benefit as there's no progression. If you can start at a level and then increase it over time, by speed or power measurement then great.

    Another way is to start how you were at a high intensity for 3 reps, then progress by increasing the time on, rest or reps over time.

    The thing about heavy legs next day is also a mistake. You should be maintaining pace and progressing. If you are breathing out of youre ars* and have lead legs the next day, then you are overtraining in the session and won't be of as much benefit. Once you've hit the point where you can maintain speed, power or cadence, then stop and warm down. Aim to progress next time. You will move forward quicker this way.

    Not sure I agree with all of this, the idea of doing say a 2*20, is you're capped by your physiology, so as you train you put out more power for the same amount of effort judged by say %maxpower or MHR. Generally I find MHR easier to work with as it wont change much at all and is more applicable to the type of training.

    In my experience, if you spent a year doing 2*20 UT1/LT you'll be a lot fitter than if you were doing intervals as well, however you wont have the top end power and strength to really pick up the pace, so you bring in the intervals closer to racing to bring on the top speed and bursts. Generally strength and endurance are opposing processes, so the idea is to have enough of both for racing once the season starts.
  • beatsystem wrote:
    IMHO you should be doing such hard intervals at this time of year although you dont say when you expect to start racing. Lots of miles this time of year, intervals later on nearer racing season.
    On what is your opinion based?
  • Generally strength and endurance are opposing processes, so the idea is to have enough of both for racing once the season starts.
    While your opening statement is true, strength is not a limiter in endurance cycling (the forces are simply too low) and so it is an irrelevant consideration. If strength was a limiter, then you probably couldn't walk up stairs and you'd need more than basic assistance to get about, let alone ride a bike.
  • Bronzie wrote:
    Gav888 wrote:
    I believe you need to ride these at LT so you only just complete the interval. Ive only just started doing these and at present I cannot complete the 5x5, more like 5x3 at the moment!
    Just to clarify, the 5 min intervals should be at a higher intensity than the 20 minute intervals - ie at an intensity that is above your "threshold"

    Are you doing the intervals on the road or turbo?

    If on the road, then you can only go by feel if you don't have an HRM or powermeter. The 20 minute intervals should feel maybe just a bit easier than a flat out 10 mile time trial pace. The 5 minute intervals a bit harder, certainly at a pace that you can't maintain for much more than 10 minutes solid.

    If you are using a turbo, use rear wheel speed as a proxy for power output and get a feel for the intensity of both with reference to speed.

    If you are doing them right, you should certainly feel the effects the next day (heavy legs).

    I sometimes find the first 30 secs to 2 minutes of a 5 minute interval feels incredibly hard (especially on the turbo) and think there’s no way I can complete another 3 minutes, but I can usually push through this to complete it.

    OK - a couple of points (not all specific to the quoted post).

    Riding at LT is a pace that one could sustain for several hours. So I'm not sure what all this LT = hard mythology is?

    LT occurs at a power level ~ 15% less than what we might term Functional Threshold or 1-hour (25-mile) TT power (FTP). Cetainly a lot less than 10-mile TT power which can be 3-10% higher than FTP.

    Doing 2x20-min efforts, one can achieve excellent fitness gains by doing these at 90-95% of one's FTP. They remain sustainable and power is gradually increased as one notices they are doing them more easily. Doing them at between FTP and 10-mile TT pace is OK occasionally but I wouldn't advocate that for many people as it is far less sustainable. The fitness benefits are not that much greater than simply doing them near that level.

    Speed on a turbo is a reasonable proxy for power, however it does have two limitations:
    - it is no where near as sensitive as power, such that a tiny speed difference can equate to quite a large power difference
    - the power-speed relationship can readily vary from session to session depending on set up, tyres pressures, even warming up a tyre can change things a lot.

    Any interval set that can't be completed has been ridden too hard. The only time that's not the case is when you are so fatigued that maintaining the power was not possible in the first place (and doing the intervals would be counter-productive).
  • Bronzie wrote:
    Gav888 wrote:
    I believe you need to ride these at LT so you only just complete the interval. Ive only just started doing these and at present I cannot complete the 5x5, more like 5x3 at the moment!
    Just to clarify, the 5 min intervals should be at a higher intensity than the 20 minute intervals - ie at an intensity that is above your "threshold"

    Are you doing the intervals on the road or turbo?

    If on the road, then you can only go by feel if you don't have an HRM or powermeter. The 20 minute intervals should feel maybe just a bit easier than a flat out 10 mile time trial pace. The 5 minute intervals a bit harder, certainly at a pace that you can't maintain for much more than 10 minutes solid.

    If you are using a turbo, use rear wheel speed as a proxy for power output and get a feel for the intensity of both with reference to speed.

    If you are doing them right, you should certainly feel the effects the next day (heavy legs).

    I sometimes find the first 30 secs to 2 minutes of a 5 minute interval feels incredibly hard (especially on the turbo) and think there’s no way I can complete another 3 minutes, but I can usually push through this to complete it.

    OK - a couple of points (not all specific to the quoted post).

    Riding at LT is a pace that one could sustain for several hours. So I'm not sure what all this LT = hard mythology is?

    LT occurs at a power level ~ 15% less than what we might term Functional Threshold or 1-hour (25-mile) TT power (FTP). Cetainly a lot less than 10-mile TT power which can be 3-10% higher than FTP.

    Doing 2x20-min efforts, one can achieve excellent fitness gains by doing these at 90-95% of one's FTP. They remain sustainable and power is gradually increased as one notices they are doing them more easily. Doing them at between FTP and 10-mile TT pace is OK occasionally but I wouldn't advocate that for many people as it is far less sustainable. The fitness benefits are not that much greater than simply doing them near that level.

    Speed on a turbo is a reasonable proxy for power, however it does have two limitations:
    - it is no where near as sensitive as power, such that a tiny speed difference can equate to quite a large power difference
    - the power-speed relationship can readily vary from session to session depending on set up, tyres pressures, even warming up a tyre can change things a lot.

    Any interval set that can't be completed has been ridden too hard. The only time that's not the case is when you are so fatigued that maintaining the power was not possible in the first place (and doing the intervals would be counter-productive).
    Thanks Alex. This is what I was trying to say, but as always you are far more professional and have written it far better.
    Lee
  • BronzieBronzie Posts: 4,927
    So I'm not sure what all this LT = hard mythology is?
    My bad - I was referring to functional threshold not the strict definition of lactate threshold
  • Bronzie wrote:
    So I'm not sure what all this LT = hard mythology is?
    My bad - I was referring to functional threshold not the strict definition of lactate threshold
    It's totally understandable that people get confused though, since the power level which equates to riding at and near FTP is frequently called LT - that's because it is descriptive of the type of physiological change it primarily targets, rather than the actual physiological level itself.
  • "IMHO you should be doing such hard intervals at this time of year although you dont say when you expect to start racing. Lots of miles this time of year, intervals later on nearer racing season"

    Alex the above was a mistake, which was why i corrected it to "should nt" unfortunately I ended up with one wrong copy and two correct ones hence the three posts.
  • beatsystem wrote:
    "IMHO you should be doing such hard intervals at this time of year although you dont say when you expect to start racing. Lots of miles this time of year, intervals later on nearer racing season"

    Alex the above was a mistake, which was why i corrected it to "should nt" unfortunately I ended up with one wrong copy and two correct ones hence the three posts.
    I took it as reading shouldn't given the context.

    IOW, what I'm saying is there's nothing wrong with doing intervals over winter, and there's nothing wrong with doing miles either (as long as they are good solid miles). Suggesting that doing hard aerobic development efforts over winter is silly, is itself, silly. Indeed it's the perfect time to be doing such work given the weather/light is so lousy, you'll get great fitness gains and don't need to spend as much time on the trainer to do it.
  • Gav888Gav888 Posts: 946
    Noting that, im going to open a can of worms here.

    As I only have an hour spare 3 times a week, is it best to do 5x5 or 2x20 as im doing now or should I do something like this - http://www.trifuel.com/training/triathl ... ing/hit-me

    Sounds good, but is it worth doing these?
    Cycling never gets any easier, you just go faster - Greg LeMond
  • mackdaddymackdaddy Posts: 310
    On the information above, I would do the 2x20s and the Interval training (the link had some good suggestions) and do some base mileage work as well, if you can push the envelope a little on your times IOW one session of each per week, progressive.

    I'm assuming that the 3 times is not 3 consecutive days though. To perform the 2x20s and intervals effectively you ned to be well rested.

    If you can't push the hours for your base miles, I'd alternate intevals and 2x20s.
  • Gav888Gav888 Posts: 946
    Reading back over this post, it has now answered some other questions ive raised regarding LTHR. :wink:

    mackdaddy - to answer your question I was planning to do the below:

    Tues - 10 x 30
    Thur - 5 x 5
    Fri - 2 x 20
    Sun - LSD

    But ive been researching so much stuff recently im loosing track of reality LOL.

    I now have a HRM on order so now im going to be putting in the correct level or effort (as I dont think I was before but I will post my results once I get the HRM to confirm) but if my hunch is correct, ive been going either too hard, or not hard enough in training so the HRM will help me pace myself better to complete the intervals properly.

    Im now thinking of doing something more like:

    Tues - 10 x 30
    Thurs - 2 x 20
    Sun - LSD

    That way I get enough recovery from the intervals for the next session as I would imagine they will be hard work once I have the HRM as at present I have enough energy to complete intervals 2 days in a row and dont really feel that knackered after doing them....
    Cycling never gets any easier, you just go faster - Greg LeMond
  • chrisw12chrisw12 Posts: 1,246
    Take this with a pinch of salt but if I trained that little I'd be seriously undertraining, you might be different though.

    I particularly don't get the Lsd in your schedule, If you're only training three times a week then surely it should be 'ride as hard as I can for as long as I've got.'
  • Gav888Gav888 Posts: 946
    I would train alot more if I had the time, generally I have 3 hours during the week and a 3 or 4 hour ride at the weekend. :cry:

    I guess its what your used to and only training 6 or 7 hours a week probably explains why I cannot crack the 18mph average barrier and stuggle on group rides!
    Cycling never gets any easier, you just go faster - Greg LeMond
  • SBezzaSBezza Posts: 2,173
    Gav

    6 to 7 hours is fine training wise, earlier in the year I was doing about 3 to 4 hours if I was lucky, and some of that was racing, and I still progressed quite quickly. I admittedly improved more when I got back to training about 6 to 7 hours a week, again including racing, but if that is all the time you have, you just need to make the most of it.

    The 2x20 are probably the best given the limited time, but with regards to your suggested training week, why don't you do the Thursday at 60 mins of tempo rather than 5x5, at least that way you should still feel fairly fresh for the 2x20 on Friday, or perhaps swap those around.

    I am no expert though, and what works for me might not work for you.
  • simon tsimon t Posts: 132
    on 6-7 hrs a week,i'd advise 1 longish ride with 1 threshold, 1 tempo session in aswell.if you want to get quicker you need to work on your FTP.have you thought about a coaching plan from alex?
  • Just a thought, but if your just doing this for general fitness and to compete in sportives for next yr, is there any point doing these hard intervals so early, if at all!!??

    Wouldnt you be best to get yourself a good pair of lights and get some base miles in the week at night say 30-40 miles a night, then go out with a club/racing club and do some long tempo rides both sat and sun???
    Up hup hup hup.....fricking hate that!
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