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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Thanks for help.

I am just starting to add intervals to my training...which up until know has consisted mostly of just riding and some spin classes and steady trainer riding.

Today I decided to do my first interval and had originally planned on doing 5 x 5minute intervals with 3 minutes rest at about 175 heart rate which based on my max of about 195 (maybe a little higher) I would be in high Zone 4 and low Zone 5.

Started out pretty badly after a 20min warm up as I was hurting pretty badly and decided to make them 4 minutes instead on the fly. First one was really hard to get my HR up to my goal even though felt I was working harder then should have been. Each one was easier to get my HR up to goal and even a bit higher.

Question I have is if that is supposed to be the case with the first interval...that it was so much harder to get my HR up?

Also even bigger question is about why kind of intervals I am supposed to be doing right now? My first big race is in April at Sea Otter...but have some smaller races before then. Should I be doing longer intervals at this time? or short more intense ones? 1 or 2 or 3 times a week? Or do you just mix it all up.

As for weaknesses I have in riding...I would say climbing is not my best thing..but I losing some weight for that which should help. Sprints are strong point. Rest I think about same. I am what I describe as "do pretty well" sport rider. Lots of room for improvement.

Thanks for help everyone.
 

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How did you calculate your max HR? I am 37 and doubt I could average 175 for a 5 minute interval. Are you using a simple calculation or have you done threshold testing? The obvious problem with using HR as a guide is that it often doesn't correlate with your perceived effort, and that zone 4 for one person might be a different value than zone 4 for another person of the same age.

Of course, perhaps you were simply not having a good day. If you want to peak in April and May I don't think it is too early to be doing higher intensity intervals, but I am also not a cycling coach.

My hope is to peak in May-June and just recently started with higher intensity intervals to go with the 20 minutes zone 4 intervals. I tend to mix it up based on how I am feeling on any given day.

I seem to have the inverse problem as you; I sometimes have a tougher time getting my HR up to zone 4-5 the more intervals I do
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I am 40 years old and 2 years ago got my HR up to 197 though in last year I have only seen it as 194. Then again I have not tried to max it.
 

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It appears you are targeting VO2max intervals, since you are doing 5 minute long intervals.

VO2max intervals, IMO, should feel like a race start. Hard enough to go anaerobic, but easy enough where you could keep going hard after 2 minutes. If you did intervals in the Anaerobic Capacity (AC) zone (Zone 6), you would have to soft pedal and recover after 2 or so minutes.

So hit the stop watch, start the interval, and pretend your in a long uphill race start (really, really visualize the pace and intensity of a race start). 1st minute you should feel very strong, 2nd minute you should be breathing pretty heavily, 3rd minute should be very anaerobic with extremely heavy breathing, 4th minute and beyond is just pure suffering.

Since you're just starting interval work, I would shoot for 3 minutes, and eventually work to longer VO2max intervals. And have HR shown for reference only for now, because it is likely that you don't have your zones set up properly. (especially since you are mentioning Max HR, rather than LTHR).
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for advice. One of the problems is though is that I dont know what kind of intervals to be doing? Should at this stage of the season I be working on longer intervals? or shorter higher intensity? Or all different kinds?

This will be my third year of racing, and third year of riding. First year was only couple of races and last year did about 6 I think. This year I have ridden more in the winter as I always felt I had a weak base with so few years of riding.

As for todays intervals...I felt like they were the beginning of a race. Where everyone goes crazy and the pace is insane until people start to pop. What was wierd though is that the first interval my heartrate was much harder to increase per effort then later intervals. I have noticed this before in spin classes as well. I wonder if I just need a more intense warm up?

I know I need to go out and do a LTHR test soon. Never have before and dreading it. Not sure if better outside or inside?
 

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Once you start getting into shorter intervals, HR becomes less and less useful. You need to use something more reliable, like time and/or distance, to measure the work you are performing in each interval, and you want that amount to remain roughly constant over the course of the workout. The last rep you should really be struggling to hold it at that level; if not, then do a couple more reps.

I think HR is still useful for threshold/subthreshold workouts. It'll tell you if you start slacking off toward the end of a 10 to 20 minute bout. But you still need to focus on the actual work you are doing, don't try to get your heart rate up to a certain level as quickly as possible.
 

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Okie Dokie said:
Thanks for advice. One of the problems is though is that I dont know what kind of intervals to be doing? Should at this stage of the season I be working on longer intervals? or shorter higher intensity? Or all different kinds?
I follow the traditional Frielish type approach, and it has a steady progressiveness to it. Kinda like this:

-Endurance, speed
-Endurance, speed, strength
-Endurance, strength, tempo
-Endurance, Tempo, threshold
-Endurance, Threshold, speed endurance (VO2max int.)
-Endurance, Threshold, Anaerobic Capacity

It kind of progresses like that over the course of 3-4 months. There's a lot of ways to do it. Every individual does something different.

Seems like I get the best results, and least amount of knee problems, when I do things the old school way. Big base, and progression of intensity to a key race. Then start over (in an abbreviated fashion) for another key race down the road.

So it depends on who's priciples you want to follow.
 

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I started interval training and I'm on my 6th week right now. I found the same thing you mention like difficulty in getting my hr up, especially on the first interval. This is normal. You are fresh on the first interval. The second interval will be easier to get it up and later intervals will have you reaching higher hr's very quickly. As the weeks progress, you will learn how to regulate hr better. You'll figure out how to increase and decrease speed, cadence, and effort level to keep your hr up. I found that watching race videos help (videos taped with a helmet cam). Also, I just discovered that if my husband (who also races) does his intervals at the same time, we spur each other on by calling out our hr's. If he reached his target and I'm not there yet, it makes me push harder. Training with a partner on a trainer or spin bike is also good because you don't have to worry about one person being faster since you're not going anywhere. Oh, and Poncharelli pretty much nailed it. The last couple minutes of the interval should feel very hard to do.

I had my LT test and go back monthly for retesting. You should look up sports doctors in your health insurance plan and see if they do the tests. This way you just pay a copay. That's what I do. So, I have a mt bike coach for the monthly cost of my copay. You just have to be "treated" for something, so hopefully you have some kind of problem the doctor could be treating you for like asthma or some overuse injury. (not hopefully, but you know what I mean...)

The best way to measure your progress during interval training is by using a power meter. This is the only way to truly know if you're maintaining the same power throughout each interval. Perceived exertion can trick you. Unfortunately, power meters are expensive. Maybe the spin bikes have power on them?
 

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Poncharelli said:
I follow the traditional Frielish type approach, and it has a steady progressiveness to it. Kinda like this:

-Endurance, speed
-Endurance, speed, strength
-Endurance, strength, tempo
-Endurance, Tempo, threshold
-Endurance, Threshold, speed endurance (VO2max int.)
-Endurance, Threshold, Anaerobic Capacity

It kind of progresses like that over the course of 3-4 months. There's a lot of ways to do it. Every individual does something different.
Seems like I get the best results, and least amount of knee problems, when I do things the old school way. Big base, and progression of intensity to a key race. Then start over (in an abbreviated fashion) for another key race down the road.
So it depends on who's priciples you want to follow.
I agree, this progression seems to make the most sense. Work your way up to the VO2 max intervals. For example, my 'intervals' now have consisted of tempo work doing 3x20 min Z3 and one 60 min Z3 once a week. Yesterday I did 3x20 (10 min break btw) starting mid-Z3 and finishing in Z4 (165). If you do them in a bigger gear it also helps with muscular endurance. Next week Im starting some 'cruise' intervals in Z4 and some over/unders. My first race (C priority) is in 2 weeks. Check out mtbcoach.com, Curt has some sample workouts. Heck of a good guy if you want a training plan built.
 

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godsang said:
The best way to measure your progress during interval training is by using a power meter. This is the only way to truly know if you're maintaining the same power throughout each interval.
If you are on a trainer, you can use a bike computer to measure distance traveled in each interval. If you are riding a fixed course (for example, hill repeats or a loop) you can time each interval. Unless conditions (wind) significantly change during the workout, both of these methods tell you if you are maintaining power throughout a set of intervals. (Heart rate does not.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for all the advice everyone.

Some specific questions though:

Poncharelli: Can you give me specific examples of intervals to do for endurance, speed, strength, tempo, threshold, anerobic capacity? From an example I think I should be able to deduce what area other intervals would fall into then.

As for LT testing unfortunately in my area I dont know of any place other then maybe Cal Poly kinesiology department for LT testing. I have looked just have not found anything like that. I called the kinesiology lab and am trying to work out being tested as a class subject. As for doctors in the community...I am one of them and still dont know of any...just to small an area I think.

Thanks again for advice
 

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