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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 12-05-08, 11:19 PM   #1
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Interval training ... what do you think of this strategy?

For the past 3 months I've been commuting avg. 4x/week , 11mi roundtrip. Route is very flat. I'd like to build aerobic capacity and get faster, so I'm thinking of interval training on my rides home. After a warmup mile or two, alternate 2 minutes sprinting flat-out with 5 minutes recovery for as many times as I can manage.

I've put together a playlist for my music player that alternates 2 minute "sprinting" songs with 5 minute "recovery" songs. I'll try it this weekend or next Monday commute home.

Any tips? Thanks!
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Old 12-05-08, 11:39 PM   #2
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I'm no pro but I'd say 2 minutes is not a sprint. I'd consider 2 and above a TT effort. A sprint would be 30 seconds maybe. Some riders do litepole to lite pole in an all out sprint.

Best would be with the 2 minute TT efforts mixed with the 30 second all out sprints. With recovery between of course!

Just my 2 cent though!
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Old 12-06-08, 08:10 AM   #3
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Thanks. What's TT?
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Old 12-06-08, 08:13 AM   #4
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TT - Time Trial last I knew

I do intervals, but I base it on my heart rate and don't do all out sprints in big gears. I will kick my heart rate to 150, and then relax it until it drops to 120 and then bring it back up to 150 and back down to 120. I do this while running on the treadmill in the winter also. I will do 2 minutes at 9mph, and then back to 6.5, but this is based on my heart rate which will take it to 160 or more and then back down at least 30 bpm.
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Old 12-06-08, 08:31 AM   #5
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I'm not sure the distance, but "Time Trial effort" refers to a speed and effort you can keep up for 10 miles or so.

If you want to go faster and build aerobic go longer. Make your ride home longer, taking an hour or so ride and push yourself the whole time. Intervals are very demanding and should be done once you are fit and then done sparingly. The longer time rides can be done more regularly and you make imprvements without tearing down your body so much.
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Old 12-06-08, 08:36 AM   #6
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I do intervals on the road and trainer. Not quite a sprint not quuite a TT. Don't always use HR monitor, just go for 1min flat out then 2min rest then 1 flat out do this 7-8 times then carry on with you ride. You wouldn't want to do it your whope ride. This is what my buddy who trains a race team calls intervals. It's a great way to gain sprint and overall speed and loose wieght.
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Old 12-06-08, 10:47 AM   #7
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Sounds like a good idea that will, at least, induce the interval concept into what otherwise sounds like a ride distance and intensity that has "staled" on you. Two minutes up and five minutes down could be a decent ratio depending on your goals for the rides and your intensity.

The answers above each have a bit of good information to them and BF is a great place to learn about this stuff. The road cycling forum has all of the training hammerheads you could ask for gathered in one place here on the 'net arguing about this stuff all the time. But for the gospel on training and methods and results for different types of interval work I would read Burke and Friel. Despite his obvious pushing of the state of cycling training art, Chris Charmichael's books are far less informative and useful.

For now, a couple or three elevated efforts per ride home will do a lot to elevate your fitness, burn fat, etc than all the steady state/flat ground riding in world for you. Have fun. Congrats on the fact that you commute (wish I could but I'm 60 miles from work).
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Old 12-06-08, 01:48 PM   #8
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Thanks for all the responses. Well, I took an hour and tried my strategy today. Lessons learned:

Wow, that was hard. My teeth feel like they're about to fall out of my mouth. Weird.

2 minutes is way too long for me to sprint at top speed. Within 40sec minute I am at max. heart rate (~170bpm) and have to slow down.

5 minutes is a good recovery period, for now

So, either I need to drop the speed during the 2 minute sprint, or I need to reduce the duration to 30sec.
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Old 12-06-08, 02:44 PM   #9
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Try the Tabata protocol...

20 sec of sprints, 10 sec of rest. Repeat for a total of 8 reps. Then you vomit up your spleen, and do this maybe 2x/week. Make sure you're well warmed up, and you need a timer to keep you honest. The Gymboss interval timer is very effective and inexpensive. Be sure to include a warm-down and stretching after.
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Old 12-06-08, 06:50 PM   #10
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Improving speed challenging ourselves is really cool and enjoyable and I am working on it myself... There are some big power lines near part of our MUP and sometimes I enjoy a anternating a burst of speed for one pole and recovery for one or two... and repeat as the spirit moves me. But also, brothers and sisters, let us not forget to smell the roses and have some fun out there.
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