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An experienced explanation please for interval trg

StillGoingStillGoing Posts: 5,207
I've done a few 50s now and am usually out for around 30 to 40 miles on average. I don't seem to be improving with my times and someone suggested interval training. I understand that it is a period of going at it full tilt followed by a period of rest etc etc, but what periods are we talking? Some have said 2 mins full tilt followed by 3 mins rest and repeat. Others have said find a fairly level stretch of road and go at it for 20 mins, rest for 15 mins then return leg for 20 mins at full tilt again. Do they both have the same effect or am I being told two completely different things?
I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.


  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    How about just trying 'going for it' on the uphills and recovering on the downs and going steady on the flats.

    If it's a flat ride, for the sort of riding you are doing, try this -

    Warm up, then do 3-4 lots of 10 mins steadily paced hard effort so you are breathing heavy and heart rate feels high (but not all out) with 5-10 mins recovery in between.
  • SBezzaSBezza Posts: 2,173
    If you just want to do longer rides, I would forget about short duration intervals. The best interval for increasing power at threshold is 2 x 20 mins, keep the rest period to half of that of the interval.

    Alternatively do as NapD says, use the hills as an interval session, or ride the 30-40 miles at a tempo pace, so after doing it, you feel tired but not exhausted.

    Best thing is just try and increase the effort you put in, and mix it up abit, if you go at the same pace/effort each time, you will plateau after a while. Also try longer distances, when you can do longer rides more comfortable, increase the pace of the shorter rides.
  • PokerfacePokerface Posts: 7,960
    Unless I way wrong on this - short intervals (like 30 second sprints or '2 minutes all out') will help you improve your times on shorter rides (like doing a 10 mile TT).

    If you want to improve your longer-distance riding, then need to work on longer intervals. Maybe start with 10 minute intervals and build up to 20 minute ones. As Bezza said - 2 x 20 is the traditional effort for improving threshold power.

    Someone else could perhaps tell you HOW to do a 20 minute interval? (describe the effort required without the use of a PowerTap, etc).
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,123
    I do what Nap D suggested and use the hills as intervals for my short sharp weekday evening rides. Round here most of the hills are climbable in 5 minutes, so I try to do them at a pace that sees me going into the red as I get to the top, and then spin down the other side. I'm now finding on my longer weekend rides that climbing hills at a more sustainable pace seems pretty effortless, and my stamina is much improved.

    I'm still putting off starting the Time Crunched Cyclist training plan. I have only got as far as doing the 'Continuous Field Performance Test', which establishes a baseline. I bought a cheap HRM for a tenner, but I struggled to find a gentle hill that would take me 8 minutes to climb flat out.
  • StillGoingStillGoing Posts: 5,207
    Cheers folks. My aim is to improve my time over the distance so longer intervals it is. Around here the routes are fairly undulating with nothing that you would call a long climb. The best we can muster is a long uphill gradient that kicks up in the last couple of 100 mtrs.

    I think part of my problem too was a habit of pushing big gears at a steady cadence instead of low gears at a high cadence. The result has been tiredness in the thighs early on preventing me pushing on where I can.
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.
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