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Old 09-18-07, 06:06 PM   #1
M_S
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Intervals

Anyone do them? It seems to me that they would be great for cross, seeing as the sport has a lot to do with acceleration.

This weekend I trained pretty hard with road intervals and some hill climbing on Saturday, and off-road intervals on Sunday. I'm curious if anyone else does off-road intervals though. There's a wide gravel/loose dirt trail that runs straight and flat for a few miles right by the University. During much of the day it's completely empty, so I started doing 1 minute of all out riding, followed by three of rest, etcetera for about 15 minutes.

I figure it's good practice to get going fast off road, as it develops strength and balance, because the loose roacks an dirt get pretty tricky at high speeds. But I seem to be pushing myself harder on-road since I don't need to worry about staying upright.

Also, I have no real training plan, my only previous intervals experience was with running, and I don't know if I'm doing this at all the right way.

So, should I do intervals? On-road? Off? And what exactly should those intervals be?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 09-18-07, 06:59 PM   #2
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Yes, you should.
I do intervals. I've been doing six five-minute reps at 165-176 BPM, with a three- to five-minute rest in between. Those are hill intervals, on a road. I've also been doing race simulation intervals, with run-ups and dismounts, for about the same duration as the hill intervals. You should ride on the grass/ sand/ off-road a LOT, regardless of your interval schedule. I also do running hill workouts, but that's not necessarily for 'cross, even though they do help (I just can't kick the running habit, no matter how much I spend on biking stuff).
A good portion (like, all) of a 'cross race is spent in the hurt zone, so you should be accustomed to getting there, quickly, while still being able to control your bike and your laughter. Intervals are good for this.
Just don't go ape-sh## crazy and do these more than once a week. Cornering and dismounts need love too.
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Old 09-18-07, 09:49 PM   #3
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No avoiding the intervals. The only way to even minimally reduce the suffering on race day is to inflict pain in practice. My favorite has been the descending pyramid 10min hammer, 10 recover; then 6 on and 6 off, then 3 min + 3, 1:30 and rest and then a sprint of 45 seconds followed by a 10 minute rest. Do that three times and you will have recreated a cross race in practice. Short intervals, long ones and any pyramid scheme is all good for 'cross.

Ron
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Old 09-19-07, 06:58 AM   #4
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Yep. AWCs on Tuesdays, VO2s on Wednesdays, long blocks of tempo on Thursdays.
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Old 09-19-07, 10:10 AM   #5
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If you're serious about racing, you will do intervals. You might want to learn a little about interval theory and what certain types will do for you. Here are some I like:

1) One minute on, one minute off. These are killer. I do a dozen. A total of 12 minutes in the work area is a good number to shoot for. Your HR won't react fast enough for HR to work as a guide. The perceived exertion should be high -- but modulated so that you can keep the same effort throughout the entire cycle. In other words, if your speed for the 12th one is significantly (5%) lower than the first, you aren't modulating your effort correctly. However, you should feel like you're going to crack on that 12th interval. I do these on the trainer.

2) 90 seconds on 100-120 seconds off. These are almost like the previously mentioned. Don't combine them in the same week. I do 8-9. I do these on a half mile 3% grade hill.

4) VO2 max intervals. Work zone is about LT but I like a couple beats higher. Duration is 4-5 minutes. Rest time should be identical to work time though I admit to skimping on rest. I like to do 8 for a total work time of about 35 minutes. I do these on a 6% grade one mile hill.

5) 12-15 minute intervals. Work time is 12-15 minutes and rest is 5-7 minutes. HR should be LT. Do 2 or 3. I hate these. I do these out in the country.

6) Busts. 20 second full-on spin ups with 20 second rest. Do three sets of 6, 3-5 minutes between sets. Killer for coming out of corners or spinning up after barriers. You should be cursing life during the third set if done properly. I do these somewhere flat.

Don't do more than 2 interval sets per week and one is plenty for someone just starting out. Make sure to have a rest week one out of every four. Roads or trainer (I know, I know) are the best places to do intervals since you can be sure of close to identical conditions for each interval iteration.

If you are putting in the appropriate effort, your legs will feel it the next day.
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Old 09-19-07, 10:41 AM   #6
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MY legs did feel it. Like I said I've done lots of interval type workouts running, I just wasn't sure of their applications in 'cross.

Most people are saying that I should only do hard intervals once a week, but when I was running we would do them 2-3 times a week, with various recovery runs in between.

I have been practicing dismounts and runups, particularly on a steep little dirt hill used by BMXers. My dismount is starting to feel decent, my remount still sux, but oh well, I'm mostly concerned about being in shape at this point.

I have been riding off road a ton, and I think my handling skills have improved noticeably. There are lots of mountain bike trails nearby with tons of rocks, so at least I'm getting good at picking my line

I haven't done any riding on grass, so I guess I'll start that. I just feel bad about tearing up a field when it's wet out. I guess I'll get over that.


Just one more thing: During the summer when I was training for centuries I'd do a lot of longish hills. Should I ditch these in favor of shorter stuff for cross, as there is no real sustained climbing in a race?

Last edited by M_S; 09-20-07 at 03:51 PM.
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Old 09-19-07, 10:47 AM   #7
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Just one more thing: During the summer when I was training for centuries I'd do a lot of longish hills. Should I ditch these in favor of shorter stuff for cross, as there is no real sustained climbing in a race?
Short and bursty is good. That's one of the reasons I really like the short intervals. The first one I listed is great since the recovery is so short.

But really, if this is your first season, decent skills and good fitness will be all you need to do okay and get a feel for what cross racing is all about.
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Old 09-19-07, 11:19 AM   #8
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Thanks, my first race is in one week.

I'm sure I'm probably overthinking it, but I hate going into races feeling undertrained. I've done it before (with running) when i was injured for much of the season.

Short intervals it is then.
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Old 09-19-07, 08:13 PM   #9
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vanwaCX, I like that burst drill. In a race the best places to hurt your opponent are where you defy efficiency and repeatedly jumping out of corners is just the thing to work on. I'm gonna work some of those in.

Ron
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Old 09-20-07, 01:44 PM   #10
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great thread!
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Old 09-20-07, 02:12 PM   #11
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Vanwa, Ron, and Walleye are going to help me kick my own ass. Thanks guys!
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Old 09-20-07, 03:50 PM   #12
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Alright, so assuming one day a week of intervals, one of race, and a rest day or really easy recovery ride after each of those, what about the other three? What do you do on non-interval days?

I figure the options are:
-Practice handling: (Dismounts, remounts, technical conditions, etcetera)
-Long rides at easy to moderate pace. It's nice to be used to doing distances much longer than the race so that the actual distance of the race is not so much of an issue, right?
-Shorter, mid-paced rides
-Cross training (running)
-Some combination. I've been trying to get in a few minutes at least of dismounts and remounts on every ride.

Anything I'm missing? Anything that shouldn't be done?


And thanks for all the great responses so far! Next week I'll be trying the 20 second bursts. Those sound tough!
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Old 09-20-07, 04:16 PM   #13
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Anything I'm missing? Anything that shouldn't be done?
Here is one guy's opinion on how to organize the week:
http://www.roadcycling.com/cgi-bin/a...view.cgi/4/435
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Old 09-20-07, 05:07 PM   #14
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Anything I'm missing? Anything that shouldn't be done?
How many races are you going to do? Did you race road or mountain this year? Have you been doing intervals yet?

Intervals and racing are going to take it right out of you. The schedule flargle linked to is for someone who has done the work already to handle a schedule like that. If you don't have a couple of seasons racing and training in your legs, you are going to have to build in more rest.

I do agree with opening up the legs on the day before a race though.
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Old 09-20-07, 06:01 PM   #15
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This will be my first competetive bike riding: I plan on racing if not a full season close to it. I've done practices and stuff and it's a blast.

This summer I was doing non competetive road riding. Mainly centuries, of which I did about 5, I think.

Before that I ran track and cross country. The latter reminds me quite a bit of cyclocross.

Like I said I'm sure I'm overthinking this, but I like to ride pretty much every day anyways and feel like I've gotten a workout in, so I want to do it right. Also I'm not sure if these races have a C class (it may just be A and B) so I don't want to act like a complete dork while racing with more experienced people


It's also fine if you want to tell me to get over myself and just ride for the first season
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Old 09-20-07, 11:33 PM   #16
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You could worry about it less. You'll be fine for a beginner and there will be a C class.

Someone quoted in a local paper when cross first came to town called it "steeplechase for bikes."

Don't beat yourself up too bad in the last week before a race.

Ron
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Old 09-21-07, 04:17 AM   #17
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My first season of cx I had not prepared at all during the summer. Rode 7K miles of long stuff like centuries and charity rides and then decided in Sept to race. Bought a bike and went out and did 17 races. I can't say that I was particularly competitive that year but I learned a lot about myself and a bit about racing. It was a ton of fun.
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Old 09-27-07, 11:38 PM   #18
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Also I'm not sure if these races have a C class (it may just be A and B) so I don't want to act like a complete dork while racing with more experienced people
To avoid being a dork, don't do what I did by spacing out and forgetting about the VERY FIRST barrier set during the race:



(BF member Doctor Who in the center-rear, myself in the blue jersey retrieving my bike)
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Old 09-28-07, 07:13 AM   #19
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You also forgot to take off your saddle-snaggers before the race.
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