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Old 01-29-09, 12:02 PM   #1
Shark Sandwich
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Interval training session questions

A bit of a newb with the lingo and regimented training (use to typically just go out and hammer), but would like some thoughts on my interval work and specifically what I experienced last night.

I don't have a PM, so this is done on a spin machine at my gym (use same bike each time).

My interval sessions look like this (maintain 100 cadence throughout):

Warm up for 15 minutes at 180 watts. This keeps me right around 70% MHR.

Then roll into my 5X5s.

1st interval: 300-305 watts. HR climbs to about 85-90% MHR.

1st recovery: 180 watts. HR recovers to about 73% MHR.

2st interval: 300-305 watts. HR climbs to about 90-92% MHR.

2nd recovery: 180 watts . HR recovers to about 73% MHR.

3rd interval: 300-305 watts. HR climbs to about 90% MHR. Breathing deliberate, but easy (controlled deep breaths). Feel really strong. Most "comfortable" interval.

3rd recovery: 180 watts. HR recovers to about 78% MHR.

4th interval: 300-305 watts. HR climbs to 92-94% MHR. Breathing more strained. Effort feels much more difficult than interval #3.

4th recovery: 180 watts. HR recovers to about 83% MHR. Doesn't feel like a recovery. Sense interval #5 going to throw me into *German accent* der hurt locker.

5th interval: 285-300 watts. HR shoots to about 95-96% MHR. Breathing almost desperate. Effort more difficult than interval #4. Power loss.

Full recovery. Low resistance pedal until HR falls below 65% MHR (5-10 minutes).

My questions:

Any reason interval #3 would feel so relatively comfortable and interval #4 so tough? Felt drastically different.

Is my gas tank simply running dry (loss of power in interval #5).

Am I doing these right?

Would buying $3k wheels help? <--just kidding

Also, who else regularly powers through a spin class on their own agenda, ear bugs cranked up to drown out all the sh*tty Madonna, Erasure, etc...? Cheese and rice.
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Old 01-29-09, 12:47 PM   #2
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Sounds about right to me. Normal HR drift, VO2 intervals, power loss on the last one, but not more than 10%.

On my FTP intervals last night (4x8's) the first two were great, third and fourth a bit tougher. I saw that by my HR drift and PE. First two were at 171 and 172 bpm, third and fourth at 178 and 179. Mentally the last one was really hard, but my HR wasn't too high (for me), PW:Hr same as the other three intervals and bpm was just below LTHR.
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Old 01-29-09, 12:55 PM   #3
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1) Unless, it's a very high quality exercise bike, meant for training cyclists, forget about the power on the exercise bike. They're not very reliable, and you can't translate it to actual riding. IMHO, you're better off going off heart rate.

2) Forget about MHR. Determine your LTHR (see sticky thread in training forum) and then base your workouts off that.
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Old 01-29-09, 01:13 PM   #4
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perhaps a longer warm up would help to alleviate the pain and suffering in the first two intervals. And while the power may be WAY off, it is irrelevant because it seems that you are being consistent (cadence, 'supposed' power, etc) and your HR reflects that. Looks good.
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Old 01-29-09, 01:36 PM   #5
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^
+1 on the on the wattage output

Your best bet is to get a HRM. If you have a trainer or rollers do your intervals there, if you don't then I suggest you make the investment for one. Your HR seems good for the intervals you did, just keep working hard.
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Old 01-29-09, 02:00 PM   #6
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Yeah, as DWJ said, maybe get a better warmup (maybe a tougher warmup, but not too long on the hard efforts). Other than that, it looks like a healthy VO2 workout. They're supposed to hurt.
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Old 01-29-09, 03:18 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
2) Forget about MHR. Determine your LTHR (see sticky thread in training forum) and then base your workouts off that.
Sure he should be basing his zones off the LTHR. But intervals are done between LTHR and MHR. So knowing his actual MHR would be useful to determine if he's doing the intervals hard enough. I suspect he's not as he's not since he's not reaching MHR by the end of them.

For the OP, try 5x5 to hit MHR by the end each time and you'll be get improvements quicker. This obviously requires doing the first ones at higher intensity than the later ones; but they all should end at MHR. It's the 4th and 5th ones that are the most important and you'll want to maintain fixed power-output to the very end so that it coincides right with MHR. I'd try using a taller/harder or smaller/easier gear on the 4th and 5th ones to see which one will let you maintain that power longer.

Last edited by DannoXYZ; 01-29-09 at 03:23 PM.
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Old 01-29-09, 06:33 PM   #8
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Well, these guys are all over your question on intervals - now for the important one: is that Ritchie Blackmore on your avatar?
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Old 01-29-09, 06:37 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by waterrockets View Post
Yeah, as DWJ said, maybe get a better warmup (maybe a tougher warmup, but not too long on the hard efforts). Other than that, it looks like a healthy VO2 workout. They're supposed to hurt.
I make it a point to keep the cadence up over 100 (and often over 110) on my warm-up efforts specifically to not recruit too much muscle. You might try that.
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Old 01-29-09, 07:04 PM   #10
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Well, these guys are all over your question on intervals - now for the important one: is that Ritchie Blackmore on your avatar?
It's Nigel Tufnel. Hint: Turn your intervals up to 11.
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Old 01-30-09, 10:45 AM   #11
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Assuming these were in the L5 range, you may want to do your recoveries at ~140w. Also you should see if you can place a fan in front of yourself, and you may want to use a sports drink to keep the tank topped-up for the whole workout.
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Old 01-30-09, 06:55 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by DannoXYZ View Post

For the OP, try 5x5 to hit MHR by the end each time and you'll be get improvements quicker. This obviously requires doing the first ones at higher intensity than the later ones; but they all should end at MHR.
Doesn't that fly in the face of all the reasons for training with power?
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