Forum home Road cycling forum Training, fitness and health

training to increase power for time vs. time for power

neebneeb Posts: 4,413
Let's say I have goal of (for example) being able to sustain 400w for 3 minutes. The standard way to train specifically for that would be to do lots of 3 minute intervals and increase the power until I can sustain 400w. But how about if I can already sustain 400w for 2 minutes and instead I do lots of intervals where I keep trying to increase the time I can sustain that power for?

Both approaches could be adjusted for repeatability - if doing sets of 3min intervals you wouldn't do each one at your current max sustainable 3 minute power, and if you sere doing sets of 400w intervals you wouldn't do neach one at your current maximum sustainable duration.

Posts

  • I'm not sure the premise is valid, i.e. that the standard way to train for such a goal is to do 3-min efforts until you reach target power.

    Not sure I'd necessarily be suggesting either of those approaches.

    I'd begin by ascertaining a bit more about your current and past physiological capabilities and phenotypes (power profile). That will then help address the question of what sort of training focus makes sense for attaining such a goal.
  • neeb wrote:
    The standard way to train specifically for that would be to do lots of 3 minute intervals and increase the power until I can sustain 400w.

    You've been on these forums long enough to know this is nonsense
    I'm sorry you don't believe in miracles
  • neebneeb Posts: 4,413
    I'm not sure the premise is valid, i.e. that the standard way to train for such a goal is to do 3-min efforts until you reach target power.

    Not sure I'd necessarily be suggesting either of those approaches.

    I'd begin by ascertaining a bit more about your current and past physiological capabilities and phenotypes (power profile). That will then help address the question of what sort of training focus makes sense for attaining such a goal.
    Thanks.

    Here's a Strava PP:

    38694569920_c2f2b62b46_b.jpg
  • neeb wrote:
    I'm not sure the premise is valid, i.e. that the standard way to train for such a goal is to do 3-min efforts until you reach target power.

    Not sure I'd necessarily be suggesting either of those approaches.

    I'd begin by ascertaining a bit more about your current and past physiological capabilities and phenotypes (power profile). That will then help address the question of what sort of training focus makes sense for attaining such a goal.
    Thanks.

    Here's a Strava PP:

    38694569920_c2f2b62b46_b.jpg
    While that chart per se doesn't really assist (in that it doesn't answer the questions at hand, amongst others required for provision of specific individualised training advice), what I'm describing is an approach to the issue, not what specifically you should do.
  • neebneeb Posts: 4,413
    OK.. So in general, what sort of targeted training would be good for increasing 3 minute power and in what ways could this vary for different individuals?

    I’m aware this is not the question I originally asked but it might address my underlying reasons for doing so, which are to some extent about personal psychology and how I approach interval training and motivation..
  • Physiologically, 3-min maximal power is still dominantly an aerobic effort, however the anaerobic energy contribution is not insignificant, representing in the order of a quarter to a third of the total energy demand.

    So a rider needs to improve both aerobic capabilities, which can be done via many different routes some of which may be more effective than others, as well as consider how best to improve anaerobic energy supply.

    Since there is quite a large variability between individual's anaerobic capabilities relative to aerobic and there is also variability in an individual's own relative capacities with training/fitness status, what's optimal is impossible to say. Hence why it is beyond the scope of a generic response.

    Layer onto that the different time courses involved in responses to various training stimulus and you begin to recognise it's more than simply what intervals should I do but:
    - what should the focus of training be,
    - for how long should that be the focus, and
    - how should it vary?

    From an execution POV, it also depends on how that 3-min power is to be used - some context also helps. Are we talking about a track pursuit, a hill climb, a road race with a particular attack point? Is it going to be needed once, or several times and if so, how often/frequently? Is it going to need a hard start and hang on for grim death, a hard finale, highly variable or or will it be a more steady state scenario?

    Psychologically people respond differently to hard interval work as well and the potential for psychological burnout exists. What are the motivations for and ways an athlete deals with such work?

    These are all rhetorical questions.

    As to what intervals one might include, well it may well involve efforts from long sprints to long threshold intervals and anything in between. Some with short recoveries, some with long recoveries, and when these are included and for how long will vary depending on the individual's specific capabilities, response and needs:

    In general you may want to consider at different times a focus on intervals that target:
    - threshold power development (e.g. 15-60 minute efforts at or near threshold)
    - maximal aerobic power / VO2max (e.g. 4-6 min efforts)
    - anaerobic work capacity (e.g. 30-60 second efforts)

    but they are by no means the only or optimal means of achieving such ends.

    There can be some overlap and getting the dosage, recovery and timing right helps.
  • neebneeb Posts: 4,413
    Thanks for the interesting and detailed response.

    So to put it (overly) simply, you might attack the problem from both ends given that the effort requires both anaerobic and aerobic contributions and these are each optimally trained at intervals less than and greater than 3mins respectively.
  • neeb wrote:
    Thanks for the interesting and detailed response.

    So to put it (overly) simply, you might attack the problem from both ends given that the effort requires both anaerobic and aerobic contributions and these are each optimally trained at intervals less than and greater than 3mins respectively.
    Hence why there are many ways to skin the training cat. Keep in mind you'd likely include 3-min intervals in the mix as well :wink:
Sign In or Register to comment.