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  1. #1
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    Max effort (training question)

    The workout I'm doing prescribes "max effort" intervals. While I understand that this superficially means that I go as hard as I can, I'm not sure if I should interpret that as "as hard as I can consistently for n minutes" Or "as hard as I can at the start and allowing my power to fall off as the interval progresses"

    One of the workouts calls for 5 x (5' max followed by 5' base)

    The workout is here Cycling Training Plans: Fitness Guides | Bicycling Magazine

    I don't have HR or power meter.

    I think it's reasonable that if you give 100% effort that you probably can't hold that for 5 minutes. Even the pros can't carry a sprint through 5 kilometers.

    Any thoughts on how to handle this type of workout?

  2. #2
    gmt Grumpy McTrumpy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akinsgre View Post
    "as hard as I can consistently for n minutes"
    this.
    Quote Originally Posted by akinsgre View Post
    Or "as hard as I can at the start and allowing my power to fall off as the interval progresses"
    not this.

  3. #3
    These Guys Eat Oreos Creatre's Avatar
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    Like Grumpy said. Basically you are not wanting to "go all out" but you are wanting to be extremely fatigued at the end of the interval duration. It's hard to find the fine line, especially without a power meter. The first time you go out, if you go too hard, you'll notice power falls off steep the last couple intervals. If you go out too easy then your last interval will be the highest power. I personally lean towards rather having the intervals be slightly easier than slightly harder. Otherwise you may not be able to do the last 2 or 3 intervals and miss out training intensity in the long run.

    We've discussed this a couple times though. There are benefits to doing intervals both ways. However for distances above like 2 minutes, you'll want to do the "hard as you can for the interval duration" most of the time. WRIs and similar can be very effective though, especially if you are not good at recovering between efforts.
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  4. #4
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    Thanks Grumpy and Creatre

    I'm going to complete this training plan (about 5 weeks left, then start using the workout recipes from this forum to tailor something that will help address my weaknesses). The WRI looks perfect for helping me get some snap back in my legs during races.

  5. #5
    Making a kilometer blurry waterrockets's Avatar
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    Even "as hard as I can for n minutes" is vague when you're talking about multiple efforts. Say you have a number for 5' power, like 400W. That's your fresh 5' power. You would not get there with a 100% effort on every pedal stroke. It will need to be paced, but possibly not steadily paced -- everyone is different. I do better if I'm about 100W high for the first minute or so, then fall to an average. So you do one interval at that pace, but then the 2nd interval can't possibly be at that pace unless it's a day or two away. So "as hard as I can for n minutes, m times" is another way to think of it.

    It really depends on the goals of the workout. There may be a reason to go hard enough that you just can't quite maintain the pace after the third interval, and it's in the plan to drop power on the last two. For these types of workouts, I will continue to go as long as I'm still in the target zone. If I get to where I can't hold FTP on the 5th interval, then I'm not training VO2Max any more, and need a new plan.

    Another way to approach these is to shoot for the middle of your VO2Max zone for the first three, then decide where to go after that. I think that all of my VO2Max and AWC intervals should be harder than the bare minimum just so I make sure to train my suffering tolerance a bit too. That said, once you're in the zone, you're going to see the majority of the right kind of training stress, even near the bottom of the zone -- so there may not be a fitness reason to go higher every time. It may actually help you to be more fit if you're able to add another intense workout that week because you're not so fatigued from working to failure on the other days.

    I mostly think it's important to vary it. You want to fail some, and you want to nail it some. You also want to just barely get into the zone a bit -- it can be comforting to realize how 110% isn't really all that bad for 5x5', and give you some confidence.

    Lastly, I'd recommend that you do your recovery intervals at 70% (at least for the first two minutes) to train your recovery. If you track how long it takes your HR do get back down to 120bpm (for example), you'll notice that it takes much less time after a couple weeks of 70% recoveries. Then you can do stuff like arrive in a break after a tough bridge, and get your recovery quickly while keeping up. The only time I coast/JRA for recovery is for short recovery intervals in specific workouts. Any 5'+ recoveries are at 70%.

  6. #6
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    When I do all out intervals, I go all out. Spiking my power at the beginning, and hanging on until the end. Act like you're doing everything that you can to get back on the pack in a race. I feel those intervals are more useful for race situations as you rarely have a constant X amount of time period where you are going 100% for that time. Maybe up a steady climb, but that's about it.

    This is of course different than what rockets talked about, being vo2 intervals. Also useful, but different than my interpretation of your original question.

  7. #7
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    I usually start out around 90% by RPE. After 20-30 seconds it should feel like all out. It's not the end of the world if you can't make the numbers or finish the last interval.

  8. #8
    Senior Member aaronmcd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by misterwaterfall View Post
    When I do all out intervals, I go all out. Spiking my power at the beginning, and hanging on until the end. Act like you're doing everything that you can to get back on the pack in a race. I feel those intervals are more useful for race situations as you rarely have a constant X amount of time period where you are going 100% for that time. Maybe up a steady climb, but that's about it.

    This is of course different than what rockets talked about, being vo2 intervals. Also useful, but different than my interpretation of your original question.
    If I'm doing everything I can to get back in the pack, I don't go all out at the beginning. Its always after a climb of at least a few minutes, so I'm stuck with threshold efforts to get back on. So... I guess I do go all out, but all out is threshold by the time I get dropped.

  9. #9
    illusoryly superior Ygduf's Avatar
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    it's not all out if your heart doesn't stop.

    do the 90% and try to hold it. it'll get really hard and you'll settle in to what you can maintain for that time.

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  10. #10
    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    Vomit.

    Recover.

    Repeat.

  11. #11
    illusoryly superior Ygduf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
    Vomit.

    Recover.

    Repeat.
    bad for your teeth

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  12. #12
    powered by Racer Ex gsteinb's Avatar
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    recovery phase is 13 months

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