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Interval Trainig for Dummies - any simple guidelines?

sparkins1972sparkins1972 Posts: 252
edited November 2010 in Road beginners
Hi - as title suggests I feel a bit like I am starting to plateau, plus I want to have some variety in my training. So having heard about the benefits of interval training, I want to give it a go. However, I have no idea where to start, what I need to do etc.

Does anyone have a link to a good guide or instructions a bit like Nap D's guide to Turbo training?

thanks guys

Posts

  • NapD's thread in the training section is an interesting read and probably a good place to get an idea training

    http://www.bikeradar.com/forums/viewtop ... t=12691101

    Worth reading all 19 pages of it even if it will take you all day
    FCN 7

    FCN 4

    if you use irrational measures to measure me, expect me to behave irrationally to measure up
  • reacherreacher Posts: 416
    in its basic form , pretty much as i understand it you pick a pace above your normal race leval and pedal untill you die on the bike , rest a short while and do it again , and again , and on and on ,
    hard to do properly , i'm doing it ,
  • BronzieBronzie Posts: 4,927
    Luckily, it's not necessary to die on the bike to get benefits from interval training (ie the intervals do not necessarily need to be "maximal efforts" each time).

    Interval training is just a way of riding at an intensity which would be impossible to maintain for a longer duration. The benefits of interval training will depend on how they are performed and at what intensity.

    The following link gives a very good guide to the relevant intensity levels referred to by many coaches:
    http://home.trainingpeaks.com/articles/ ... oggan.aspx

    Typical intervals and their intended benefits would be as follows:

    - 2 x 20 min @ Level 4 (with 5-10 min recovery between intervals)
    This is at a pace that is around or just below your 10 mile time trial pace - it should be taxing but not impossible to finish the 2nd 20 min interval.
    You can build up to these with 2x10, 2x15, 2x20 over a period of a few weeks and even go on to 3x20 etc, or just increase the speed / power that you do them at week on week.
    These are great for training your "lactate threshold" and building your sustainable power which will be a benefit in most forms of cycling.

    - 5 x 3-8 min @ Level 5 (with 3-5 min recovery between intervals)
    These are done at a level just above your 10 mile time trial pace and they focus on improving your maximal oxygen uptake. Hill repeats on a steady climb is a good way of doing these.

    - 10-15 x 30s-2min @ Level 6 (with 1-5 min recovery)
    Train your anaerobic power production and capacity. Might not be that specific to your training goals unless you are planning to do some road racing where they mimic the hard repeated accelerations you get in bunch races.

    So depending on what you are trying to achieve, and when you want to be in top shape will dictate when and how you do your intervals, but most people will find L4 intervals ("2x20's") very beneficial for improving performance at most cycling disciplines.
  • ShutUpLegsShutUpLegs Posts: 3,522
    Bronzie wrote:

    - 5 x 3-8 min @ Level 5 (with 3-5 min recovery between intervals)
    These are done at a level just above your 10 mile time trial pace and they focus on improving your maximal oxygen uptake. Hill repeats on a steady climb is a good way of doing these.

    - 10-15 x 30s-2min @ Level 6 (with 1-5 min recovery)
    Train your anaerobic power production and capacity. Might not be that specific to your training goals unless you are planning to do some road racing where they mimic the hard repeated accelerations you get in bunch races.

    Nice breakdown Bronzie, I do these and it does work.
  • Absolutely spot on - that is just the kind of thing I have been looking for - guess I need to develop a 10k time trial pace first to give me a starting point!

    I haven't had chance to look at the link yet but say I do 3 bike sessions a week do you think that if I dedicate 1 of these to intervals, it will start to have impact?

    cheers for the feedback
  • crakercraker Posts: 1,739
    Bronzie wrote:
    - 10-15 x 30s-2min @ Level 6 (with 1-5 min recovery)


    What's level 6?

    My HRM only goes up to 5 (6 being MHR).

    My HRM (Garmin) bases are Level 1 being 50-60% MHR, Level 5 90-100%.

    Ta.
  • BronzieBronzie Posts: 4,927
    if I dedicate 1 of these to intervals, it will start to have impact?
    For sure - start off fairly easy (ie 2x10 L4) and build week-on-week to harder, longer intervals.

    When you stop improving with these alone, you can either add more volume (2-3 sessions a week) or switch focus to harder intervals (ie L5s) to focus in improving a slightly different area.

    The key to it all is getting the intensity right - you can use heart rate (less so for the shorter intervals), perceived exertion (ie how hard it feels - although this tends to get better with experience) or power (if you have money to burn).

    But I'd suggest to keep it simple if possible - ride a few practice 10 miles as fast as you can and get used to how it feels (your breathing, the sensation in your legs etc) then gauge intervals off this.
  • BronzieBronzie Posts: 4,927
    mr_si wrote:
    What's level 6?

    My HRM only goes up to 5 (6 being MHR).
    You can't use an HRM for short intervals - your HR response is too slow.

    Check the link above:
    "Short (30 s to 3 min), high intensity intervals designed to increase anaerobic capacity. Heart rate generally not useful as guide to intensity due to non-steady-state nature of effort. Severe sensation of leg effort/fatigue, and conversation impossible. Consecutive days of extended level 6 training usually not attempted."

    Basically start with a not quite full-on sprint and hold that effort for 30 secs or so. Recover for a few minutes and then do it again.....and again.......and again. Feel the burn! :wink:
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