Training & Nutrition - Intervals
Bikeforums.net is a forum about nothing but bikes. Our community can help you find information about hard-to-find and localized information like bicycle tours, specialties like where in your area to have your recumbent bike serviced, or what are the best bicycle tires and seats for the activities you use your bike for.
I am trying to increase my climbing speed and I have read in numerous places that intervals are helpful. I have developed some routines, which seemed to be having some effect. But, I am curious about what others do.
So, what kind of interval routines do you’all do? What is it you like about your particular routine? Why do you find it helpful? Any other recommendations for building climbing speed in particular?
(I am interested mostly in training routines for building climbing speed and endurance, not questions about saddle position or the perennial sitting-standing question.)
05-04-02, 01:26 PM
It depends... there are different kinds of intervals that I do for different purposes.
One routine that I love doing is on a cyclocross ride. The loop is about 2.5-3 km and takes a little more than five minutes. It involves two dismounts and runups and a lot of climbing.
The way it works is this... for the first half of the lap -- climb, run-up, short descent, run-up -- it takes about a minute to get my heart rate to 85-90% max and I hold it there for about two minutes. On the descent, it recovers in about two minutes to less than 70%, and then I do the lap again. I'll do that five to ten times, depending on how much time I have. Bear in mind that I have to do about 20 minutes of steady climbing to get to the loop.
Another kind of interval session that I do a little later in the season is a variation on the Conconni max HR test. On a long flat stretch, I'll bring myself up to 75% for four minutes, recover for two, 80% for four minutes, recover for two, 85% for four minutes, recover for two, 90% for four minutes, recover for two, 95% for four minutes, recover for two, 95+% for as long as I can hold [usually less than four minutes, and recover for as long as I need to feel human again... I do a couple of recovery laps and do it again. This is a kind of threshold training, and I find it particularly useful i late spring/early summer.
There are many other variations that I do at different times of year, and with different people. Try to do hill work or intervals once or twice a week... My coach Greg LeMond [this is a running gag with me] suggests that you do your intervals earlier in your microcycle... I try to do that, but I'm not always that disciplined.
05-06-02, 06:01 AM
'intervals' is one of those not-so-well-defined things... so there are many differnet ideas...
what velocipedio describes sounds pretty good...
in general, for intervals:: go hard for a certain amount of time (typically 30sec to 5 minutes) then rest for about half that time or until you "recover" sufficiently: down to say 55-60% max heart rate (for me w/ max 195:: hard 165-180bpm, then recovered when 100 to 120bpm) ---- i find my heart-rate monitor helps a lot to determine when i'm recovered but also how i'm feeling and when i'm fatigued (heart rate will not go back up when i'm fatiguted or dehydrated or whatever)
for climbing power i would find a short but steep hill and ride it like 3-5 times (after a 5-30 minute warm-up)... the climb is the interval stress and the descent is the recovery (wait at the bottom and spin lightly if you're still not recovered) -- if it were me and i could choose the perfect hill i'd pick a 15-20% grade of about 30m --- if you can't find such a steep hill then make due with the best you can find ----- if you have a longer climb you can also skip the descent by alternating riding hard and then riding really slow for recovery
basically the idea is to recruit as many muscle fibers as possible and stress them so they are broken down and forced to recover (rebuild MORE muscle) - by doing intervals you use more muscle fibers than when riding normally but you can only do this for a short time... and you need recovery between each set --- also remember to take a recovery day after a hard set of intervals, learn what how your body responds...
in general the best thing for increasing climbing power... is to climb lots of hills... not sure how viable that is in northern Germany (i did tour Sunday in the Bavarian Alps where i just picked some trails that looked good on the 100m countour interval map i had and many were almost unrideable with 20-30% grade of muddy rocks - oh well, got 1200m of climbing in anyway - coming weekend i think i'm going to Lake Garda again for some serious climbing and single track!)
then you can experiment with standing or sitting or whatever --- i personally am trying a new high-cadence technique where i stay seated almost all the time (as a "power" rider i usually have enough strength with my low-geared MTB so the climbing limit is traction not power so standing isn't usually necessary) i used to always stand but i find i can save energy and my knees by spinning...
you can also do "informal" intervals in your normal riding where you go hard and then rest and then go hard, etc.
05-07-02, 06:46 AM
my hill intervals vary. if i do them the same way each time it gets stale. my intervals are races to speed limit signs. as soon as i see one i sprint to it, weather it is uphill or not. fast is fast, right? the good fast spinning you do in the flats help you on the climbs, no?! i do hills differently each time. sometimes i just go full bore, sometimes i pedal in the same cadence the whole way up, sometimes i try to kick it up then slow down then kick it up again till i'm over.
being so rigid in training made me stale. but the racing to spped limit signs, esp on hills later in the ride it the best. they hurt the most.
Thanks for the suggestions—all of them very helpful. Here’s what I’ve been doing:
All of my rides contain some climbing. On every ride I do a 5 km, 4% average (some sections about 6%) climb to get out of the city. I almost always mix additional hills in as well.
On my “interval days,” I do one of two types—both generally on the flats. The first are short ones: 12 second sprint, 12 sec recovery; repeat 3 times; then a longer recovery (about 5 min). Rinse, lather, repeat anywhere between 3 and 6 times, depending on the length of the ride and my mood. By the way, I have recently read that Eric Zabel prefers these.
The second type are “cascading” ones: 1 min. hard, 45 sec recovery; 45 s hard, 30 s recovery; 30 s hard, 15-20 s recovery; 15 hard; then a longer recovery. Repeat 3 times. I am slowly upping the lengths of the segments.
I don’t have a HRM, but I push myself to the point where I would keel over if I added another 12 second sprint to the set. I take my eyeballs popping out to be a sign of “perceived endurance”!
I like the idea of doing “hill intervals.” I’ve not done much of that in the past. And I notice that, Nathan, you are suggesting a very steep and very short hill. When I think climbing, I usually think in longer terms. But, you are right that for strength work, a short anaerobic burst is better.
I, too, like high cadence riding (105-115 flats/ 90 hills). I was never a masher, but after “converting” to true high cadence riding, I would never go back.
07-31-02, 10:18 AM
I'm resurrecting this thread to ask some more questions on the subject of intervals.
I consider myself a fast recreational cyclist... I don't race and don't intend to. I just like ongoing improvement. So to that end, this year I added intervals to my weekly riding regimen.
The training books advise things like "warm up with 4 7-second all out sprints, then 4-6 1-minute intervals, then 4-6 4-minute intervals..." etc. Problem is, by the time I've gotten to the 2nd or 3rd 1 minute interval, I'm toast.
So, I guess my question is how do you begin an interval training program? Am I going too hard, and need to ease up enough to survive for the required number of reps? Or do I maintain the intensity, and as my conditioning and recovery improve, increase the reps. Or some other alternative?
How have you other masochists out there dealt with this?
Thanks in advance,
07-31-02, 12:06 PM
I like to do three types of rides to improve climbing.
First is hill intervals. Find a hill of medium grade about a mile long. Ride it at 80-85% of capacity. Not all out, but at an intensity that you can maintain for the entire hill. Also, keep your spin at 80 rpms or higher. Recover on the way back down and repeat. This will boost your anerobic threshold.
Second, same hill, but gear down and grind up in at 60-70 rpms while staying seated. Your heart rate won't go as high, but you'll stress your legs and build power.
Third, find a steep hill that you can't ride in the saddle at its steepest point. Hit the hill hard while seated and rise out of the saddle at the steepest point. Jam the hill standing. Go anerobic. Recover on the way down. This will improve standing muscles, and anerobic recovery.
Finally, do no more than two days of intervals per week and take the day after off or a recovery ride only.
Powered by vBulletin® Version 4.1.12 Copyright © 2013 vBulletin Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.