Bike: Interval Workouts

We all have those days or weeks in which our schedules are slammed and it seems impossible to fit our training in. This entry contains three types of cycling workouts that will help maintain your fitness during those busier periods. Each workout lasts less than one hour and focuses on two areas: power at lactate threshold and power at VO2 Max. Training at base aerobic power necessarily takes longer. Your aerobic engine will still get all of the stimulus it needs from these higher-intensity workouts, and because they are short, one day of rest will provide enough recovery to ensure consistent progress.

Steady State Intervals
These intervals involve work at just below your lactate threshold power. They are steady efforts at 90-95rpm and 86-90% of time-trial power output (or 92-97% of time trial heart rate). Start with 3-6 minute steady state intervals with 6 minutes recovery in between, and then progress to longer intervals (8-10 minutes), not harder ones.

Over Under Intervals
Start at steady state intensity for 2 minutes, then ramp up your effort to the max you can sustain for 1 minute before returning to steady state. Continue a 2-minute steady, 1-minute hard cycle through a 9-minute interval. do 3 intervals, with 6 minutes easy spinning in between. You'll develop sustainable power and the ability to handle changes in pace.

Power Intervals
These are short, really hard workouts - and because they are max efforts, you can do them on a hotel bike with no power meter. After a spinning warm-up, start with four 60-second all-out efforts, each separated by 90 seconds of spinning. You won't recover in time for the next interval, which is what makes this effective. Take 6 minutes of easy spinning recovery between sets. Beginners should do 2 sets, intermediates 3 and advanced riders 4. Your pace/power output should be similar (within 12%) for all these efforts.
Bicycling: No Excuses, Chris Carmichael, January/February 2009

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