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  1. #1
    Hazardous biker Ricardo's Avatar
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    Interval training question

    I had plans of starting interval training in six weeks, when my weight loss/fat burning program is supposed to end. However, I was reading about it at cptips.com and I came to this sentence which left me puzzled.

    Could someone explain this to me?

    "...And don't start an interval program until you have a solid aerobic base of 500 miles of steady pedaling or you increase the risk of injury from pushing too hard,too quickly..."

    What the hell is a solid aerobic base of XXX miles?

    Thanks,

    Ricardo

  2. #2
    more ape than man timmhaan's Avatar
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    intervals are hard on the body, so you want to make sure you're prepared for the efforts. in an organized training program you always move from "general" to "specific". meaning you want to work on general fitness first and then start doing more specific exercises, like intervals.

    'aerobic' is usually defined as 60-70% of your maximum heart rate. do you have a heart rate monitor? if so, you'll just want to ride a while (500 miles or more) mostly in this zone. if you don't have a heart rate monitor, no worries, you just want to ride long and steady miles. not too hard, just spend time in the saddle.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ricardo
    I had plans of starting interval training in six weeks, when my weight loss/fat burning program is supposed to end. However, I was reading about it at cptips.com and I came to this sentence which left me puzzled.

    Could someone explain this to me?

    "...And don't start an interval program until you have a solid aerobic base of 500 miles of steady pedaling or you increase the risk of injury from pushing too hard,too quickly..."

    What the hell is a solid aerobic base of XXX miles?

    Thanks,

    Ricardo
    cptips.com has a lot of info I don't agree with.

    Have you been riding at all this year? In general, it's not a bad idea to have some TiS in before you shoot for intervals. Personally though, this probably has more to do with dropout rates than injuries. Almost all of the injury claims are biking myths.

    If you've been riding already, then go for it. But don't start with intervals or else it might be a short experiment.

  4. #4
    Hazardous biker Ricardo's Avatar
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    What´s TiS?

    And yes, I have been riding this year, mostly indoor cycling due to medical advice.

    Thanks,

    Ricardo

  5. #5
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    TiS = Time in Saddle.

    If you've been riding this year, you should be good to go. If you have a medical condition, you may want to ask doc about intervals.

    Best of luck!

    Norm

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    What difference will it make with 500 miles? Nothing. (In fact you can crash during those 500... )
    There is always a risk of overtraining, but that is a possibility for both basic training and interval training. There are very few acute injuries in cycling, and they are normally close related to crashing. I can´t see why you should avoid intervals if you would like to try them out. There is no significant increased risk for injuries.

    Think about all the people that go to spinning lessons, they do intervals all the time. Never heard of basic miles there?

    I believe that the reason for doing basic miles should be to delay the peak performance. The riders I train normally start training in November, but ride their first races in April. Thus, pushing too hard with intervals in the winter time might cause their form to peak too early. Still, I always recommend some kind of intervals, but not the same amount and type all year round.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    I did intervals for running when in competition during cross country and track. Now that I'm older and getting into cycling, I hear the same thing for cycling as I did for running. So I do have some frame of reference.

    Peaking is for competition. You have a track or cross country season and it ends in the NCAA finals or the conference finals. So if you're not going to compete in cycling, heck don't worry about peaking. If you're going to occassionally compete in cycling just for fun, then train some intervals but don't let it run your life.

    If you're competitive by nature and you just want to do really well in fast group rides, then you will need interval and hill training. But do you really need to reach some kind of peak performance? Or asked in another way, are you going to lose your scholarship if you don't go a certain mph?

  8. #8
    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    I did intervals for running when in competition during cross country and track in Southern California. Now that I'm older and getting into cycling, I hear the same thing for cycling as I did for running. So I do have some frame of reference.

    Peaking is for competition. You have a track or cross country season and it ends in the NCAA finals or the conference finals. So if you're not going to compete in cycling, heck don't worry about peaking. If you're going to occassionally compete in cycling just for fun, then train some intervals but don't let it run your life.

    If you're competitive by nature and you just want to do really well in fast group rides, then you will need interval and hill training. But do you really need to reach some kind of peak performance? Or asked in another way, are you going to lose your athletic scholarship if you don't go a certain mph?

    I have seen good runners overtrain by putting too many miles in interval workouts bunched up in between track meets. The thinking was if interval workouts can make one go faster, then I want more internval workouts. I feel this is what peaking too soon is about. Competitive runners are at that cutting edge, pushing it to peak performance knowing that going over the edge will yield opposite results. Instead of bettering their 1,500 meter times, it reaches a plateau or drops off.

    The better world class runners learned how to run a race but also learned about their bodies. They have learned how much to push it and when to back off. Funny thing, there's an overall peak too. The best distance runners peak at just over 30 years of age. El Guerrouj of Morocco I think has retired around that age.

    If you want to get a glimpse of his training, try this: http://run-down.com/guests/mv_el_guerrouj.php

  9. #9
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    You want to look at the progressions of macro and microcycles in training. Microcycles are usually week-long and have certain numbers of rest and workout days. Macrocycles are a series of microcycles grouped together and lasts about 6-10 weeks. You can consider the start & end of a macrocycle as a rest-week, low-mileage and low-intensity.

    When doing intervals, they are "instead of" some other workout, typically a longer endurance ride. So a "endurance-week" in a macrocycle may be have 400-500 miles with two rides over 100-miles. There won't be any day where you're doing sprints and intervals in an endurance-week. Then there are "intense-weeks" where you do one day of sprints and one day of intervals. Total mileage for this week might be only 100-miles max.

    In regards to Ricardo's question about the base, it's really just to work on form and have basic joint & ligament strength down. When you start pushing at 95-100% efforts, this puts A LOT of force and stress on your joints and ligaments. Having smooth and efficient form (pedaling motions) down is essential to prevent injuries.

    I'm sure you've followed some weekend-warriors down the bike-path. If you look carefully at a spot on the rear of their knee, you'll see that the knee moves laterally outwards and inwards in a figure-8 pattern? This is caused by the sequential activation of the 10-12 muscles involved in the cycling motion. But rapid on-off transitions can cause wobbling of the knee. So if you're smooth, the forces are more even through out the 360-degree pedal-stroke and you put less stress on your joints. Watching someone who's smooth, like a pro-racer and you'll see that there's very little wobbling of their legs or their upper-body; more of the muscle-forces are in the plane of rotation of the crank and driving the bike forwards.

    So.. after you've got your form down, then work on the intervals. Actually, I recommend doing tempo workouts for a couple weeks before intervals. Here's a basic intro macrocycle for beginners:

    week 1-3: Endurance & base. Do 1-3 hour rides of 20-70 miles at a time, steady pace the whole time. For endurance, pick up the pace to something you can hold the entire time. Work on spinning smoothly with no wobbling of the knees (try not to have sudden on/off power transitions). Lemond has a good analogy in his book, imagine scraping mud off the bottom of your feet at the bottom of the pedal-stroke (you want to be pulling back, not pushing down at the bottom of the pedal-stroke). Then imagine trying to knee someone in the gut on the upstroke, try to put our knee through the handlebars. Combined with the natural downstroke and the force should be more even throughout the pedal-stroke.

    week 5:tempo Medium-distance rides, 1-2 hours 20-35 miles. Find 5-mile stretch and go at 10% below LT up to LT for 15-20 minutes. Rest a bit and repeat. This builds up your aerobic system. Could even do it on a long hillclimb 2-3 miles. Coast down to recover and repeat the climb. Do this 2-days out of the week, two rest days and one endurance day of 3-4 horus.

    week 6: intervals medium-distance rides, 1-2 hours. Intervals by definition are anaerobic efforts ABOVE LT, so you'll feel lactic acid burn and your HR will steadily increase to max-HR. Intervals can be 1-5 minutes in length. Pace yourself at a steady pace that'll have you be completely spent and blown-up 100% max-HR by the end. A 1-minute interval can be 98-99% of an all-out sprint. A 5-minute interval will be painful at 90-95% effort. In all cases, you'll want to be completely spent by the end. If you have anything left, go a little faster next time. If you blow up before the end, slow down a bit. Recover fully and do another one. Intervals can be set up any number of different ways, begin with a two 2-minute ones perhaps (2-2) or you can do a pyramid 1-2-1 and later do a 1-2-5-2-1, etc.

    Hill-intervals are also fun. Pick a 0.25-1.0 mile hill and pace yourself to blow up at the top. if you've got anything left, go faster, if you blow up before the top, go slower. Coast down the other side to recover, turn around and do it again, and again...

    week 7: rest Lowest mileage and effort out of all the weeks. If you're fit, you can still do one small day of intervals, and a sprint-day and an medium-endurance day. If you're not fit, take the whole week easy.

    Then create another macrocycle like above, but modify the distances & intensity depending upon where you are in fitness and where you want to improve.

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