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  1. #1
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    another intervals Q, 20s on a training loop; hard / easy / hard

    I've enjoyed reading a lot of the training posts here, I think I'm gathering that the 20 minute interval can be a great training tool, useful for improving the 'functional threshold power'. I typically ride a short loop in a local derelict city park, I have cranked out a sub 20minute lap, but I think I'm 'between peaks' at the moment, and a typical fast lap time is 21-22 minutes. The loop has 4 short hard hills, 1-2 minutes each, and a couple of shorter climbs (about 400' of total climbing), with lots of twisty narrow sort of rough trails. I have hit 190bpm running up (cx training), but my usual max is about 180bpm, I can keep my heart rate above 160 the whole loop if I'm hammering (probably between 162 and 178). I'm wondering what you more experienced guys think about doing laps as intervals?; one hard 22 minute lap, then an easy 28min lap, then another hard lap? The hills are hard enough on the easy lap that it's difficult to keep the heart rate very low. Is that range (160-180) close enough to call it an interval?, or are there too many downhill 'rests' in a loop like that? Would I be better off doing a hard lap, leaving the park for 10-20 min for the easy part, then returning to the park for a hard lap? How long between hard laps?, I could get 3 hard laps in if I did 10 min easy in between... I just upped from a podium regular cat2 to a low cat1, and my schedule allows for about 6hrs per week. -thanks for the input!

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimPacNW View Post
    Is that range (160-180) close enough to call it an interval?, or are there too many downhill 'rests' in a loop like that? Would I be better off doing a hard lap, leaving the park for 10-20 min for the easy part, then returning to the park for a hard lap? How long between hard laps?, I could get 3 hard laps in if I did 10 min easy in between... I just upped from a podium regular cat2 to a low cat1, and my schedule allows for about 6hrs per week. -thanks for the input!
    There are more educated people here when it comes to training, but I have a similar setup.

    What you said, is basically what I do.

    Ride your hard 20 minute lap, ride a rest lap, but keep your heart rate lower than 160. Crawl up those hills if you need to and then do another lap afterwards. I give a good 20 minutes or a little more between efforts. A quick google search turned this up from bicycling mag.



    Steady State Intervals
    After a good warm-up, ride 10 minutes at a steady effort, keeping your heart rate three to five beats below your LT heart rate. Recover for 10 minutes, then repeat two more times. "Once you're comfortable at this level, do two 20-minute steady-state efforts, recovering for 20 minutes between. Eventually, work up to one 30-minute effort,"suggests Kadlick. "This is the most effective way to increase power at LT."
    There is not much choice between rotten apples.

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    I'm no expert, but I personally found it extremely difficult to keep a steady output on MTB terrain, so I bought a trainer for that purpose.

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    Best way to improve LT power is to ride "at" LT power. After training with a PM for 5 years, I now realize that the best way to get steady LT power is to ride on roads with very little changes in grade.

    Best done by either by riding pancake flat roads, or very steady long climbs. I prefer the flat roads since I can use them while bike commuting, even though it's tougher to get the power out.

    Doing focused time circuits is great though, and it's even better when done in a group. Last year we used to get together and do an unofficial short track race on the trails with 5-7 people on Wednesday nights. 20 minutes balls out. Great stuff, but it's not really direct LT training. More like race simulation.
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    We have no real flat roads around here, just lots of rolling hills, but road is easier for maintaining an effort. I did some road racing long ago, I very much prefer mtb riding, I do have a decent road race bike and a good 1x9 cx bike. The only way I was able to get back into mtb is that I found trails near my house, I can get my workout with no travel time, so it wouldn't work for me to drive to a flat road area, or 20min+ hill area on a regular basis, the driving cuts too much out of my available training hours. My trails are tight and slow enough I can ride there all through the winter (without getting too cold like I would while road riding in winter), so I would prefer to figure out how to best use my local trail loop. I should add, the type of racing I'm training for is cat3 cyclocross with few short hills, and shorter course (with shorter hills) cat1 mtb. A riding buddy and I did 3 laps on Sunday; hard, easy, hard, - it felt pretty good.

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    Ponch is spot on saying that a flat ride would work better or a long steady hill. A 10 minute out and back with a few rollers would work great too if that's nearby.

    I just prefer the mountain bike and that look I ride is 4 miles from my front door. It's more "fun" than a LT ride on the road bike. A loop with larger hills and downhill would be more like a race simulation, but if that's what you have to work with then make it work. I would mimic your Sunday ride. Hard, easy, hard, and do a cool down.

    Edit: If you have a gym nearby, you could easily hop onto one of their stationary bikes. I was at a YMCA last week and some of those programs are tough. If it seems easy, just shift up a gear. I was pouring the sweat. You could easily get 20 minutes in there. No stop lights, downhills, traffic, people talking to you, etc. The bike I rode told me my watts, heart rate, and had a program that was timed with mileage. You could compete against yourself or others. 21 mph on the stationary bike program felt more like 27-28 in real life.
    There is not much choice between rotten apples.

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    As others have said, more consistent terrain will better yield the kind of data you're looking for. Carefully search your area for a moderate sustained climb, flat'ish stretch of road, bike path, adjacent river trail, highway, etc. The trainer is also an option - don't worry, you'll learn to appreciate it. ;-)

  8. #8
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    28 minutes is WAY too much rest between intervals. 5-10 minutes, then go again. 2-3 x 20 is supposed to simulate a hard hour; too much rest and you're just doing two independent 20 minute intervals.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    28 minutes is WAY too much rest between intervals. 5-10 minutes, then go again. 2-3 x 20 is supposed to simulate a hard hour; too much rest and you're just doing two independent 20 minute intervals.
    Good point. It's also likely that the 28-minute "rest" loop isn't easy enough. I find that I have to spin super easy in between intervals to maximize power average during interval time, especially when I go for an hour of work time (4X15 or 3X20).
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    Could you not break up the rest loop into shorter intervals? i.e. do 20 minutes on, 5 minutes off, 15 minutes on, 5 minutes off followed by another 20 minutes on... Your body will be screaming by the end of it.

    I've recently started working with steady state intervals more (LT & "Sweet Spot") and regularly do something like 15/10/15 with 5 minutes rests; this is more or less because I find I run out of straight flat road within those time frames. I also ride with a fast group one day a week when I can which might as well be a one hour long threshold interval!
    Cul is a regretted trademark of the CulBaire Co'op Pty Ltd, as are his random ramblings and associated ********.

  11. #11
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    Evidence suggests steady riding at or near "threshold" is not the only way nor the best way to improve your FTP. Lots of ways to do this. Mostly depends on your available time, experience, goal events, etc. I would either aim for intensities far below your FTP for long period of time or above it for short efforts. People dont always respond well to the steady, sweet-spot kind of training regime and some often fall into the trap of logging sessions over sessions at L3 and L4, burning the hell out of their body, always going at the same speed, never turning the turbo on. I disgress, this should be for another topic

    I agree though, the road is far better to train at L3 or L4.

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    Good stuff; there's a flat area at the bottom of the trails at/around the lake that would be perfect for the 5-10 recovery before another hard lap. I think the reason I did well racing earlier this year is that the loop I ride is very similar to the local shorter races (slower/tighter trails with shorter climbs). My loop has 4 pretty hard 1-2 minute low-gear climbs, hr is near max at the top of each especially if I stay in a harder gear. Apparently I'm responding well to those short hard efforts, I just hope to keep improving. I'm doing a 5:30am road ride with a couple of younger 30's road guys tomorrow (one an old friend, I have not ridden with them before), and they're doing 6min intervals mixed in as part of their training for an Ironman, we'll see how I hold up!, it should be more fun on the road with some other guys.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Devincicx View Post
    Evidence suggests steady riding at or near "threshold" is not the only way nor the best way to improve your FTP. Lots of ways to do this. Mostly depends on your available time, experience, goal events, etc. I would either aim for intensities far below your FTP for long period of time or above it for short efforts. People dont always respond well to the steady, sweet-spot kind of training regime and some often fall into the trap of logging sessions over sessions at L3 and L4, burning the hell out of their body, always going at the same speed, never turning the turbo on. I disgress, this should be for another topic

    I agree though, the road is far better to train at L3 or L4.
    Just curious, what is the "Evidence that suggests steady riding at or near "threshold" is not the only way nor the best way to improve your FTP"?

    I know that Hunter Allen suggests long rides 2-3 times per month to "enhance your endurance", then goes on to state "Focus on doing longer intervals at or very near your functional threshold power (FTP)."
    Hunter Allen Peaks Coaching Group: The Next Level

    But on the other end, with short anaerobic efforts, the gains come quickly and then level off:
    "the Tabata group improved for 3 weeks and then plateaued despite a continuingly increasing workload. Id note that anaerobic capacity did improve over the length of the study although most of the benefit came in the first 4 weeks of the study (with far less over the last 2 weeks)."
    Effects of Moderate-Intensity Endurance and High-Intensity Intermitten Training on Anaerobic Capacity and VO2 Max - Research Review | BodyRecomposition - The Home of Lyle McDonald

    Thanks in advance

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    The Hunter Allen statement is part of why a LOT of people espouse the threshold/sweet spot approach, that, and time crunched constraints.

    I would not rely on the Tabata paper to conclude anything about high intensity stuff. There are a whole lot of training manipulations that can be made to include HIIT in your trianing plan. Im not saying to avoid L3-L4 training, but I strongly believe they should not form the bulk of ones training plan. Why? Because at some point, they are taxing, induce significant metabolic, psychological, hormonal, neural and muscular stress. Are hard to recover from and dont seem to produce the gains they should for the efforts invested.

    http://fastforwardtriathlon.com/wp-c...e-Athletes.pdf
    Best Ways To Build Endurance
    Intervals, Thresholds, and Long Slow Distance: the Role of Intensity and Duration in Endurance Training

    I also have a few PDF on my laptop. Basically search for anything on elite athlete intensity distribution, high intensity endurance training, polarized training (80/20), etc.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Devincicx View Post
    The Hunter Allen statement is part of why a LOT of people espouse the threshold/sweet spot approach, that, and time crunched constraints.

    I would not rely on the Tabata paper to conclude anything about high intensity stuff. There are a whole lot of training manipulations that can be made to include HIIT in your trianing plan. Im not saying to avoid L3-L4 training, but I strongly believe they should not form the bulk of ones training plan. Why? Because at some point, they are taxing, induce significant metabolic, psychological, hormonal, neural and muscular stress. Are hard to recover from and dont seem to produce the gains they should for the efforts invested.

    http://fastforwardtriathlon.com/wp-c...e-Athletes.pdf
    Best Ways To Build Endurance
    Intervals, Thresholds, and Long Slow Distance: the Role of Intensity and Duration in Endurance Training

    I also have a few PDF on my laptop. Basically search for anything on elite athlete intensity distribution, high intensity endurance training, polarized training (80/20), etc.
    espouse [ɪˈspaʊz]
    vb (tr)
    1. to adopt or give support to - I had to look it up, and maybe help other readers. I had no idea what it meant.

    "I would not rely on the Tabata paper to conclude anything about high intensity stuff"
    OK, thanks for the advice - forget scientific papers.

    Second article you supplied would probably work great if you are an "elite endurance athletes, who typically train with 10-12 workouts and 15-30 hours each week" as article states. (It took me a while to figure out you had 3 different articles)

    I do not think a hour of intensity a week (20% of volume) would work well for me preparing for 1-2 hr mtb race. So far focusing on L3-L4 has solid results for me.

    My off-season
    Preparing for first MTB race of the season

    I hope this program works well for you.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Devincicx View Post
    Evidence suggests steady riding at or near "threshold" is not the only way nor the best way to improve your FTP. Lots of ways to do this. Mostly depends on your available time, experience, goal events, etc. I would either aim for intensities far below your FTP for long period of time or above it for short efforts. People dont always respond well to the steady, sweet-spot kind of training regime and some often fall into the trap of logging sessions over sessions at L3 and L4, burning the hell out of their body, always going at the same speed, never turning the turbo on. I disgress, this should be for another topic

    I agree though, the road is far better to train at L3 or L4.
    Agree.

    Basically what you're saying is...

    Variety of intensity is key.
    Adequate recovery is key.

    Knowingly seek the extremes of your training zones, and beware of the purpose of each.

    In a nutshell...

    Go SUPER HARD (when working power/strength, short/punchy hills, sprints, etc.).
    Go SUPER EASY (recovery - almost feeling guilty...).
    Go MODERATE (when working LT in 20 min intervals, etc.).

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    of course it all depends on your level, experience, objectives, time available, etc.

    I would not take the 20% as it is, i-e I would not hammer the crap out of myself doing 20% high intensity during a week.

    Riding at L3-L4 intensities will get you good at that: be fast arround threshold, thats it. You got to throw in some high intensity stuff. But, to each his own.

    FYI, I basically did no L3-L4 this winter, or very very little of it. All I did was L5 work, high intensity micro-intervals, a few short spins, all on a 8-12h training regime, on the trainer. My FTP got to an all time high. Of course, you might want to still do some L3-L4 work here and there, I just feel it is not worth the efforts, fatigue, recovery, mental stress, for the gains they will bring.

    Like everything else, you will probably see some gains doing L3-L4 work, but they will likely plateau relatively quickly. Variety is important.

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    Quote Originally Posted by brushman View Post
    Agree.

    Basically what you're saying is...

    Variety of intensity is key.
    Adequate recovery is key.

    Knowingly seek the extremes of your training zones, and beware of the purpose of each.

    In a nutshell...

    Go SUPER HARD (when working power/strength, short/punchy hills, sprints, etc.).
    Go SUPER EASY (recovery - almost feeling guilty...).
    Go MODERATE (when working LT in 20 min intervals, etc.).
    Yes, but dont do number 3 too often or dont make it the foundation of your training regime.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Devincicx View Post
    Yes, but dont do number 3 too often or dont make it the foundation of your training regime.
    Agree.

    ("3" being the venerable 'gray area'.)

    Friel, Allen, and Coggan all support this. And, from my 20+ years experience, I found it to be effective.

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    I did that early am road ride this morning, those guys were plenty strong on the road it seemed for non-racers; I was keeping up fine until about 2/3 through on a long steady hill, the HRM got above 180 and I knew the drop was coming, they were nice enough to wait up for me, and then backed off just a bit and I kept up fine after that. I have done very little road in a long long time, I can clearly see I need to ride more road with these guys, along with my short/hard efforts and intervals on my trails. I had a little tire-chainstay rub around the point of the drop, which did not make me faster (rear sqewer not quite tight enough), but I don't think I can blame too much on that. Apparently they felt it was a faster ride than usual, avg speed just over 20mph, -probably pushing the pace a bit to test out the new old-guy!

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Devincicx View Post
    of course it all depends on your level, experience, objectives, time available, etc.

    I would not take the 20% as it is, i-e I would not hammer the crap out of myself doing 20% high intensity during a week.

    Riding at L3-L4 intensities will get you good at that: be fast arround threshold, thats it. You got to throw in some high intensity stuff. But, to each his own.

    FYI, I basically did no L3-L4 this winter, or very very little of it. All I did was L5 work, high intensity micro-intervals, a few short spins, all on a 8-12h training regime, on the trainer. My FTP got to an all time high. Of course, you might want to still do some L3-L4 work here and there, I just feel it is not worth the efforts, fatigue, recovery, mental stress, for the gains they will bring.

    Like everything else, you will probably see some gains doing L3-L4 work, but they will likely plateau relatively quickly. Variety is important.
    What was your FTP when you started and where did you end up? Also, when did you start and end your winer training (time of year)?

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    Quote Originally Posted by jimPacNW View Post
    I have done very little road in a long long time, I can clearly see I need to ride more road with these guys, along with my short/hard efforts and intervals on my trails. ...avg speed just over 20mph...
    Yes, ride more road and everything improves!

    (20+ mph/ave is a respectable pace!)

    For me, I spend about 90% of my time training & racing on the road. Doing so allows for a more consistent and predictable environment in which to focus on the various physiological aspects of cycling.

    Of course, sharpen the technical off-road-specific skills and requirements as needed, but all of cycling is aerobic, anaerobic, etc., and these areas can be developed on the road where there is less potential for crashes and injury.

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    Quote Originally Posted by teamshredd View Post
    What was your FTP when you started and where did you end up? Also, when did you start and end your winer training (time of year)?
    I typically start my training around november and end it around early march. I gained 25-30W at FTP during that time.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Devincicx View Post
    I typically start my training around november and end it around early march. I gained 25-30W at FTP during that time.
    That's really good doing "All I did was L5 work, high intensity micro-intervals, a few short spins, all on a 8-12h training regime, on the trainer."

    What did you start at and end up with?

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    Quote Originally Posted by brushman View Post
    Agree.

    ("3" being the venerable 'gray area'.)

    Friel, Allen, and Coggan all support this. And, from my 20+ years experience, I found it to be effective.
    I am new at this compared to you guys.

    I figured if Allen promotes SST (high L3/low L4) and threshold in winter/off season, he would have you do it in season also.
    http://www.peakscoachinggroup.com/Ar...20Training.pdf

    http://roadmagazine.net/road_home/fe..._Power_Nov.pdf

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