Interval training discussion thread

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mikesbytes
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Postby mikesbytes » 19 Sep 2011, 23:47

There's a wide range of viewpoint as to what intervals are;
- 2*20, which is 20 minutes hard work, followed by typically 5 minutes rest then another 20 minutes hard work
- 12* 20 second maximal sprints with 40 second rests in between
- the list goes on

I'm a proponent of short high intensity efforts combined with base K's. But there are many different views and techniques. At the end of the day, its what works for you.

There are many articles on the topic, here is an example;


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Postby timyone » 20 Sep 2011, 13:36

I am firmly of the belief that an interval is a gap, or distance between two of some thing. I have been doing my intervals of 100 metres, followed by an interval of rest and talking. I really think it is working, as it has increased the amount of time that I get to catch up with different riders at the track.

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Postby wallman » 20 Sep 2011, 14:07

One of your best Tim!

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Postby timyone » 20 Sep 2011, 18:37

Oops I may have taken the discussion on intervals slightly too literally, thanks for the link though mike :)

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Postby Eleri » 20 Sep 2011, 18:58


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Postby krankee1 » 21 Sep 2011, 16:04

20/40's are the flavour of the month. But it depends on what you are preparing for. The main rationale for intervals is being able to spend more time in the zone per workout. eg if you blast out a 4K pursuit, you cant back up after 5 minutes and crank out another one. If however you know the load (wattage) you need to acomplish your target time you can do sets of 1min off 1min X 4 5minutes rest and repeat on with a rest between which can you 8 minutes in the required zone in the session.
The main thing is to measure the output and go for incremental increase. Different aims will need different intervals. Training is an experiment so you need to measure cause and effect.

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Postby mikesbytes » 23 Sep 2011, 09:22

Can anyone translate this one?


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Postby timyone » 23 Sep 2011, 10:53

lol that's what I was just coming in here to post! did you get that off my facebook!

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Postby mikesbytes » 23 Sep 2011, 10:59


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Postby wallman » 23 Sep 2011, 14:18

We engineers love our maths, but since a picture paints a thousand words, here's my chart for this season so far:

Does that help?

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Postby mikesbytes » 23 Sep 2011, 15:52

Ah, that's the stuff in that article. TSB = CTL – ATL

How did you calculate that?

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Postby weiyun » 23 Sep 2011, 16:09


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Postby wallman » 23 Sep 2011, 16:24


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Postby mikesbytes » 23 Sep 2011, 16:47

So calculated off the power-meter data.

Now you have the info, how do you use it to adapt your training?

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Postby weiyun » 23 Sep 2011, 17:06


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Postby andrewb » 23 Sep 2011, 18:22


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Postby mikesbytes » 23 Sep 2011, 18:31

Interesting Andrew, do you know the name of the "well-proven scientific linear analysis technique from the engineers"

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Postby weiyun » 23 Sep 2011, 18:48

Nice engineering take Andrew! Unfortunately and one you may already know, in medical/physiological research, it's often a case of conjuring up a mathematical model and then match it with a real life data set. If the correlation coefficient is >0.5 with p<0.05, then there'll be a celebration and proclamation in the affirmative. Some black box magic is part of the game and one that drives engineers crazy. ;)

Back to Mike. Don't obsess over it unless you are into academic research. You'll gain nicely if you just focus on what's already well established.

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Postby mikesbytes » 23 Sep 2011, 19:09

Yeh, but its still interesting.

The question I have, is once you have the data, how do you use it to refine your training?

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Postby patn » 23 Sep 2011, 20:04

Very interesting Andrew. But yes Im also interested in what the "well-proven scientific linear analysis technique from the engineers"
is? And Weiyun what are the bits that are already well established? Basically all research in the natural science involves conjuring up
a mathematical model and then match it with a real life data set. There's nothing inherently wrong doing that, I don't think. God
didn't wake up Newton and tell him g=9.8ms^-1, it had to be worked out/estimated from available evidence. The part that makes
the medical/sports science 'worse' is the limited data they use to make inference. When it comes to sports science I think the best
'evidence' is definitely not in the 'sports science' literature, its in the cumulated knowledge of experienced athletes/coaches. I'll take
their anacdotal evidence over some paper on 7 Swedish cross country skiiers any day. So yes I second Mike's question - I'd like
to know how you use that data to refine your training? That'd be really interesting to me.

PS: When did 'black box magic' ever drive an engineer crazy? Black box magic is the bread and butter of engineering! For example all
engineers say the 'know finite elements' (and usually just write FEA so it looks fancy), which translates to 'I used the Matlab PDE toolbox
in second year'. hehehe just teasing here by the way - the physicist has to have a bit of a go at the engineer right? :)

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Postby weiyun » 24 Sep 2011, 01:50

Of course there's nothing inherently wrong with the biological scientific methods, it's but a limitation of what we are given and trying to make the best of it.

Black box has driven many engineers "crazy". Approaching biomedical research with a strict engineering angle can lead to research impasses due to inherent limitations of biological research and variability. Seen plenty of it, and seen plenty of output that ultimately bore no relevance in practice. A researcher that can handle both hard engineering principles and biological conditions is hard to come by.

Going back to Mike's question. It certainly can be interesting, but you really need to at least read Coggan's book before you can consider any refining. You are not going to make any sensible refining with an yet to be verified concept.

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Postby Eleri » 24 Sep 2011, 10:24


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Postby patn » 24 Sep 2011, 11:23

I see your point Weiyun, might try and get a hold of that book and
have a read. Don't own a power meter though, which is probably
a slight problem....

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Postby weiyun » 24 Sep 2011, 15:13


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Postby krankee1 » 24 Sep 2011, 20:59

Patn is spot on. The reason that sports scientists are the coaches assistants and not the coaches is that it is the smaller part of the job. The key elements of coaching are observation analysis and communication. There is no majic bullet interval. I prescibe intervals a lot , generally two days a week. But like every other ride you do the first thing to get into your head should be what am I trying to improve today. The question should be what is the best interval to achieve a particular goal. You should also Design a test to monitor progress and get to work. Your benchmark should be data driven not how you go against another rider. There is good support for 40 on 20 off by 15 efforts. I like to start by breaking the efforts in three sets with 4 minutes between.You start can start out first week at 275W with the 4min rest , in the following weeks you can add 10watts a week and or reduce the rest between sets until it is 15 straight. The initial loads are not important. The work practice of a defined output with incremental gain is. These are very effective for increasing your 5 minute power which is key crit indicator.

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Postby krankee1 » 24 Sep 2011, 21:14

A power meter is just another tool. Fundementally the difference is you are measuring the output. I love the data they produce because it gets to be the same as riding with the athlete , I can check their average cadence, heart rate watch how they ride the race and monitor progress across a range of output parameters. The coaching doesn't change, groups like wattage on google groups disappear so far up their own backside(apart from the occasional pearl from coggan) as to irrelavent to coaches.
I would say read the book, get golden cheetah and play with it.

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Postby mikesbytes » 25 Sep 2011, 06:05

Do you think that different types of intervals address different objectives or not?

Sent from my HTC Wildfire using Tapatalk

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Postby krankee1 » 25 Sep 2011, 17:07

To clarify, Re intervals they are very important. Re training with power it can be used thesis as material or be no more complex than any other measure of work. In regards to intervals, lets say you are competing at the Heffron park world championships ( or so ES riders think). You can stay with the bunch but can never compete in the sprint. You need to work on two physical aspects one is your peak power, at heffron the sprint is usually about 350 metres after a lead in at about 80%. Your A grader like Grenfell will crack 1400-1450 watts there, you would still need about 1250 for B grade I would thnk. So If you need an interval to lift your power you would go out and do 12 second sprints, preferably on a rise. If you have a powermeter you dont have to worry about how you hit a max , you just have to hit it.If you pay attention to your powermeter it will show what rest eriod you need to avoid your maxs dropping off. If you struggle in the crosswind you will find that the peak load where you will get spat is typically, 25 seconds after that you are around the corner and recovering a bit so intervals like 20/40's flat out or the 40/20's with measured load will help. If you have trouble driving the bigger gears generally, you go out and do 1 minute in seat overgeared hill efforts, Hill efforts are very different to riding up a hill 5 times, you need to need enough recovery so that it is your muscles that become the weak link not your cardiovascular system. There are a heap of variations you can run to address different issues. As I said earlier the first thing to do is think of the problem and then come up with a solution to suit.

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Postby weiyun » 25 Sep 2011, 20:50

It's hard to discount the cardiovascular system. At the end of the day in a criterium, it's still all aerobic work. Hill effort equals to sustainable power and higher sustainable power means one is working at a lower percentage of maximum effort going around a Heffron lap, so there'll be more reserve left when it comes to the final 200-350m. For most amateurs, sustainable power development will remain to be the key for improvements.

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Postby krankee1 » 25 Sep 2011, 21:37

Weiyun you have missed the intent of the post. Identify the short coming then address it. The Cardiovascular system is addressed in one of the other sample intervals. But in the example of increasing max 1sec wattage, it plays no roll. You muscles need to be fully charged and primed for a purely anerobic effort repeats, to little rest will not allow them to perform at 100% which will not force the desired adaptation. If you are looking to increase your strength, you need to maximise the work your muscles are doing, which you cant do if you have run out of cardiovascular capacity first. The one interval is intended to address one issue

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Postby krankee1 » 25 Sep 2011, 21:43

When I am referring to increasing your strength , I am referencing the overgeared hill efforts

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Postby weiyun » 25 Sep 2011, 23:01


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Postby krankee1 » 25 Sep 2011, 23:26

Sorry you are plain wrong. Aerobic capacity is the dominant factor in tt results not road races.

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Postby mikesbytes » 26 Sep 2011, 06:34

Matt, does that graph include your racing?

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Postby weiyun » 26 Sep 2011, 07:52


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Postby mikesbytes » 26 Sep 2011, 07:58

krankee1, have I understood you?

- Sprint power, for example end of a crit: 12 second sprints, preferably on a rise
- Peak Load, for example in crosswinds: 25 seconds, perhaps 20 seconds on, 40 seconds off or 40 seconds on, 20 seconds off

Can we correct and build on that list

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Postby krankee1 » 26 Sep 2011, 19:19

For the sprint power the most important thing is do not exceed the 12 seconds and you must go 100% not 98 or 99%
The importance of lifting that peak power is shown once again in the world champs. Cavendish's Aerobic power output would be at best in the middle of the field, the determinent factor in his victory is his ability to produce good power at the end of race, if you watch the aerial view the decisive moment came down to about 6 turns of pedals hen he out kicked Goss. Your Aerobic capaity has to be sufficent to put you in the position to utilise your kick. But twenty blokes can do that.
The other advantage is lifting your power is you create a bigger power reserve. when you boot out a corner to get on the wheel, either your get there quicker or you havn't had to dig as deep.
If you have a power meter I would go 40/20's as described earlier.
I prefer to go for a higher wattage to start with and then add time or reduce rest
ie 40 seconds at 275w 20 sec rest repeat 5 times then rest for 3minutes and repeat . Do a total of three sets of 5 40second efforts. If the load is correct you should be struggling to complete the last set. Increase the load 10w a week. and gradually reduce the rest to 1minute
If you dont have a power meter the 20/40's are easier because you just go flat out. Again I would start by introducing a break of 2 minute between the sets of 5 start with 3 sets. I would use a gear to aim for a cadence of 100+-. Then I would go add 1 set after a couple of weeks , then another.
Strength is often confused with power.Find a hill where you do a 2 minute effort, stay in the saddle and from a rolling start do a 1minute effort in 1 gear bigger than you would use in a race. The idea is to burn your quads, then 1 minute rest and repeat, try for three efforts to start with and then try for a set of three with 5 minute rest and then build to a second set of three.. Do a benchmark TT over a set climb just like you are in race before you start and check your time after 6 weeks of efforts. This will help you to drive the bigger gears. This is a good one to do with a mate or two.

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Postby krankee1 » 10 Oct 2011, 20:53

Recently a question came up about what intervals to do with the new powermeter to improve aerobic power. I think the question is a little bit off target.
The goals you set need to be more concrete, like setting a time or achieving a particular power per time output. 5 minute and 60 minute power are both aerobic but very different.

For the riders I look after I sample a fortnights training to check out the value of every ride.
Generally you should start with higher wattage then add time, so if your 5minute power is the goal the first thing to do is go out and do a benchmark TT around the 5 minutes, the conditions dont matter that much because you will be measuring output not effect.
Then if you find your best 5 minute power is 250 watts do 1minute at 270 1minute 150 x 5 have 5 minutes rest and repeat for a total of 5 sets, next week add 10watts, once you have reached 300 watt repeats go to 1.20 on 1.20 off x 5 with 5 minute rest then keep adding week on week until you hit 3 miute efforts and then add wattage and start at 1 minute again.

You should also assess your training rides to see how they measure up , if your coming home from a two hour training ride with an average of 150 watts its a waste of time from a training perspective if you racing requires 250.

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Postby timyone » 11 Oct 2011, 14:10

All this power meter talk doesn't help most readers here, can we just swap that over to heart rate?

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Postby Lizanne » 11 Oct 2011, 14:43

my experence
for swimming i always did interval training to help with both my speed and endurance.
i did heaps of intervals when i was a long distance runner (it reduced injury and increased speed)
i also do lots of interval training now with my skating and on the bike.

so the usual is
w/up
endurance
short speed(10%)- 90% recovery 3x
drills

10x
speed 90% max effort (10% time) (90%time) recovery.
the recovery can consist of slow aerobic work or sitting still for a lactic acid set. (up effort to 95%)

then a cool down that is 60% effort for the same distance as the main set

followed by going home for a cry

no matter how much i hurt my self during intervals i love them when they are done!

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Postby weiyun » 11 Oct 2011, 17:01


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Postby krankee1 » 11 Oct 2011, 21:34

The train of thought is the important issue.The method is to establish the work load you can do, and find a way to make incremental improvement. Heartrate is measuring how hard your system is working, it can be effected by hydration level, fatigue level. You still use your heart rate in conjunction with a powermeter as part of the cause and effect picture.
A power meter is not essential, it is a simple way of measuring actual work done. If you in are in a controlled enviroment, ie In an indoor velodrome you don't need to train to power on the track, the data is collected but used more as a referance for intervals . Time is used as a consistent measure of work (you can allow for air density)
If you are doing max efforts like 20/40s You can do the drill on a wind trainer, just use the same gear and your speedo will let you know if your output is up.
For your longer efforts just see what speed you can hold for how long and apply the same methods as you would have with power.
An interval we ran tonight was 4 sets of 4lap efforts on a 17.5 second lap,to increase the load you can increase number of laps or increase the speed.

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Postby weiyun » 12 Oct 2011, 09:18

Agree with the above. HR is popular and cheap but as noted above, can be affected by various other factors and an indirect measure of work. Further, most people don't know or haven't done a proper HRmax test to establish reference levels for proper application.

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Postby mikesbytes » 12 Oct 2011, 14:02

This graph by Andy Coggin describes the basics pretty much, getting more out of your invested time is what we are looking for with determining intervals.


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Postby patn » 12 Oct 2011, 20:34

Mike - is that picture from the Coggin book?

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Postby mikesbytes » 12 Oct 2011, 22:11

Coggin posted it on FB

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Postby timyone » 26 Oct 2011, 15:37

this topic is getting more complex as we go, I cant imagine how much work and statistics went into that last graph there Mike.

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Postby orphic » 26 Oct 2011, 21:55

Interval training on a mountain bike is rad. You go for a ride with friends and smash a piece of singletrack, then stand around talking for a bit, then smash the next bit of singletrack, then repeat, then after a few of those someone gets a flat so you get a longer break, then you go for another set of smashing it and resting. And you don't even notice your heart rate is sitting at 95% on the hard bits cos you're having so much fun!


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