Forum home Road cycling forum Training, fitness and health

Short intervals - fitting them in to a week

Tom ButcherTom Butcher Posts: 3,830
Any suggestions about whether it's worth dropping current sessions to fit some short intervals in.

I'm currently doing the club evening time trial, a hard chain gang, and a hard longer ride or race at the weekend. I do a recovery ride the day after the club time trial which is the day before the chain gang (Tues TT /Wed easy ride /Thur chain gang).

The evening TT series is a target for the season so I don't want to go into that knackered - currently Monday is either a rest if I raced on Sunday or else I go round the TT course fairly hard but ease off if my legs start to burn.

Fridays is off (due to time constraints - work and partner goes to running club), Saturday am is a long fairly hard group ride - though a bit mixed and with a cafe stop or if I'm racing Sunday is either a rest or a short ride early am - sometimes substitute a 50 mile solo hard effort trying to keep my average speed as high as possible. Sunday is either a race or more likely off take daughter to football am and go out as a family pm.

The only sprints I'm doing are maybe one for a signpost on the Saturday morning and one for a signpost on the chain gang if I get to the end of it. I'm doing no structured short intervals. The question is - should I try and fit some short intervals in somewhere or does the chain gang and the hard Saturday ride/occasional race provide enough intensity ?

Targets are club TT series - results have been pretty good so far with pbs on both courses (partly due to using a TT bike but my fitness is probably on a par with my previous best about 5 years ago). I'd like a top three overall which is looking realistic but depending on who completes a full set of rides I'd like a bit more off those times if possible. A couple of guys will beat me they choose to complete the series but at the moment I'm in the mix with 2-3 others, been just edging them so far but I think they have more to come.

Also doing some road racing targets are just to get some top 10s in vets races or maybe some 3/4s later on. I can live without having a great sprint as I don't fancy bunch sprints much anyway but I do lack top end which is noticeable on power climbs and closing small gaps. So far got one 9th and one where I got a bunch finish and deserved nothing more.

it's a hard life if you don't weaken.


  • Percy VeraPercy Vera Posts: 1,103
    I would drop the Chain Gang ride and do the interval session then.
  • Slow1972Slow1972 Posts: 362
    Depends how fast/hard the chain gang is.

    If you're not on the rivet riding it let yourself drop off the back and then force yourself to jump to get back on? The risk is you let too big a gap open, can't get back on and you're riding home on yer own :). Not always popular, but one way of slipping a few full efforts into the session.

    If you want to get some RR results later in the season I would have thought you should keep the chain gang though. If anything I'd cut my longer Saturday ride a bit short and/or stick half an hour or so of short but hard intervals on the end. Imho, short hard intervals aren't just for improving your sprinting in the RRing, they will help you to jump off the front and be able to bridge a gap across to a break that's already going away.

    Otherwise, how about a block of 3 hard days and fit a short intervals session in on the Wednesday. Survive the chaingang Thursday and you've then got full rest Friday and then either rest again on on Sunday after a long Sat ride if you're not racing or if you are, you'll have had another easy day on Saturday as well as full rest on Friday.
  • Tom ButcherTom Butcher Posts: 3,830
    No the chain gang is properly hard averages 25mph and that includes a long hill and losing momentum for the odd set of lights - I would be loathe to drop that and I think I'd have trouble pushing myself that hard for a solo effort.

    I suppose what I'm asking is not so much where could I fit them in but are short intervals really a necessity if you are semi serious about training for short distance TTs and RRing ? And if they are what kind of sessions should I be looking at - alternate minutes, 30 second flat out, 5 minutes * 5 ?? In the past I've always relied on chain gangs etc to get fit and done very little focussed stuff.

    it's a hard life if you don't weaken.
  • Percy VeraPercy Vera Posts: 1,103
    If you keep the sessions short ie 1mile repeats with 5min recoveries - start at what you think you can handle and build from there you should be able to get them done on a Monday (ideally morning as this will give you a longer recovery before the TT); if you don't race on the Sunday.

    Or as Slow1972 says do them on a Wednesday as the Chain Gang isn't a race (as such) and therefore not as important.

    Just be sure to get plenty of protein down you.
  • Slow1972Slow1972 Posts: 362
    I agree with Percy. If the chaingang is proper hard you are effectively doing either a threshold or over/under intervals session anyway and its as close to bunch riding as you get without racing. So to my mind, if I was going to bother with intervals at all they would be shorter, harder efforts which (for those who use power meters - I don't) would mean going over your usual threshold power and work on your top end a bit more.

    For instance, I have been doing a shortish intervals sessions of 1 min on/1min off or 90 sec, 90 sec off at a pace that is just sustainable for the interval period (may take a bit of practice if you are going off feel). My feeling is these help when jumping or responding/bridging in RRs (or just hanging on when the hammer really goes down) so are in effect working on that little bit of "extra" you need to jump off the bunch (bunch riding being covered by the chain gang work).

    For shorter full efforts of 10 - 20 secs sprint efforts, I just chuck half a dozen of 'em into a commute home

    Personally, I do think shorter int's help but that is a purely subjective opinion. Shorter harder efforts for the RRs, longer ints for your TTs I suppose. But there's other people on here (like Alex) who can probably give you a much better reasoned explanation of what should work best. I think you need to work out what the other sessions provide training wise and what you want to achieve to see what length of interval you'll benefit from most. I also think you can do them in a relatively short session and still get a benefit, I fit them in when due to work commitments I can't commute to work by bike and get up early for a blast on the turbo instead (i.e short warm-up, 15 lots of 1 on, 1 off, puke up, warm down :) - 45 mins inc getting changed and walking to/from garage).

    and yes, protein after hard ints for me too
Sign In or Register to comment.