Interval training for endurance?
So I have been riding since october '10. I ride a few (4+) times a week, however, I am always getting left behind, due to getting winded fairly quickly. I have just about decided that I want to make a serious, concentrated effort to increase my endurance. I have been told that interval training will help with this.
I am looking into HRM's to help with this and I figure I would like to get one that is compatible with the ANT+ iPhone. My main question is What would be the preferred app that will track zones, let you know when to increase or decrease effort, calculate calories burned etc.?
I tried looking up various apps, but wow, there are a ton.Anyone have recommendations?
My primary goal is increased endurance, secondary goal is weight loss. I'm 6'1" and about 210. I figure monitoring what I eat plus exercising, and the weight will take care of itself. I'd like to get in the 180's, but that is honestly a secondary goal.
For serious training an iPhone app isn't going to be much help. You should look into how to train. If you are training off of HR, there are plenty of inexpensive cycling HR monitors, or even a simple watch based Polar HR should do the trick.
Good reference materials:
The Time Crunched Cyclist: http://goo.gl/qW7UY
Joel Friel: http://goo.gl/fXfms
Intervals will definitely help, but doing them right will be a lot more affective and will help sustain fitness and condition the body. You need to first figure out what your lactate threshold is (roughly) and then do different levels of intervals below and above your threshold. If you just randomly do intervals, and the wrong types at the wrong time at the wrong efforts they will do less to condition your body and provide a short term affect rather than a long term affect (you'll probably just end up hating intervals and not see much improvements).
Herothedog has all the right advice if you are very diligent and want a very scientific approach.
On the other hand, if you want a more laid back approach that will get you 90% of the gains you would get following the above advice, here's what I do.
I have a hill that I couldn't ride halfway up a couple of months ago, so every Tuesday and Thursday morning for the last four weeks I have gotten up early and hit the hill. It is steep enough to get my heart rate through the roof. Takes about 15-20 minutes. Every day I did the hill I just wanted to make it further up then the last time. Tuesday I made it to the top. Next Tuesday I will ride it in my second easiest gear until I have to drop down to granny and I will keep trying to beat that each morning. I figure by the end of summer I should be able to middle ring it.
The effort should be hard enough to reach exhaustion and long enough that it's not a sprint. You can get the same effort out of a straight 20 minute time trial, the key is to push yourself to get a little faster each time.
At your fitness level, the improvements will come quick at first and then you may need to go to a more scientific approach but for right now, just pushing yourself hard a few times per week and getting in longer and longer rides a couple of more times a week will show great rewards.
You don't need HR montiors, lactate threshholds etc. Just two points and a watch, get from A to B faster than you did the last time.