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Old 01-11-07, 01:15 PM   #1
ratebeer
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The 6-minute workout revisited

OK, this is just a personal, n=1, empirical, non double-blind thing but two weeks of four minute (12 x 20s fast, 10s rest) high intensity workouts has made me faster over ten miles. Again this could be a number of things, more rest and recovery, general gains that were happening anyway, my expectations, whatever.

One thing is for certain: I'm not poo-pooing the six minute workout. I may integrate it on slow or rest days as an alternative to slow miles during a more intense time of year, or after several weeks of long hard miles as a form of tapering.
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Old 01-11-07, 01:27 PM   #2
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Intervals work.
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Old 01-11-07, 02:19 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by slowandsteady
Intervals work.
yep. there are many theories out there about which type of interval is the best, etc. but you can't argue with results. keep us posted if you continue to see gains throughout the year from this program.
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Old 01-11-07, 03:10 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by ratebeer
OK, this is just a personal, n=1, empirical, non double-blind thing but two weeks of four minute (12 x 20s fast, 10s rest) high intensity workouts has made me faster over ten miles. Again this could be a number of things, more rest and recovery, general gains that were happening anyway, my expectations, whatever.

One thing is for certain: I'm not poo-pooing the six minute workout. I may integrate it on slow or rest days as an alternative to slow miles during a more intense time of year, or after several weeks of long hard miles as a form of tapering.
I never tried this one. How much of a warm up and cool down are you using with this? How high of an intensity are you using? Are you sitting or standing for the interval? Seems like a quick way to get more fit . . .
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Old 01-11-07, 04:06 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by bfloyd
Seems like a quick way to get more fit . . .
Or torch yourself, get injured, and burn out. Essentially these are speed intervals, and done right they are extremely hard. (In my program there done at maximal effort, 120 rpm, and down wind to max speed.) In my program, they're put in the phase where you're trying to peak.

Not really the way to get fit. But they're a good way to to really ramp up your maximum speed when you're already fit. Very good crit training.

And if you can really do a set of 12 on 10 seconds rest, with maximum intensity, and finish the last one with maximum intensity, then my hat's off.

They need to be done in moderation, like once a week. Doing a steady diet of these multiple times a week, for weeks at a time would be a bad idea for most folks.
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Old 01-11-07, 04:21 PM   #6
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I hear all this hullabaloo with more than two intervals a week are bad... When I ran track in HS & college I was a sprinter. All we did were intervals. If you are training to be a sprinter it doesn't make sense to run 6 slow miles. We did 50 meter runs one day, 100 meter runs the next, 200 meter runs the next, practice starts one day, pyramids (50m-100m-200m-400m-200m-100-50m), etc.... Each day was not necessarily 100% effort, but every day was some kind of interval. My track coach in HS was a former olympian.

Sure I understand that all intervals all the time will make you only good at sprinting, and going all out every day will lead to burn out. But in general, you can do intervals every day and not collapse. I did it for six years from HS to sophmore year of College.
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Old 01-11-07, 06:10 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by slowandsteady
I hear all this hullabaloo with more than two intervals a week are bad... When I ran track in HS & college I was a sprinter. All we did were intervals. If you are training to be a sprinter it doesn't make sense to run 6 slow miles. We did 50 meter runs one day, 100 meter runs the next, 200 meter runs the next, practice starts one day, pyramids (50m-100m-200m-400m-200m-100-50m), etc.... Each day was not necessarily 100% effort, but every day was some kind of interval. My track coach in HS was a former olympian.

Sure I understand that all intervals all the time will make you only good at sprinting, and going all out every day will lead to burn out. But in general, you can do intervals every day and not collapse. I did it for six years from HS to sophmore year of College.
You are comparing two completely different sports, and at that, comparable small distances with running track. I'm sure that say, a marathoner, doesn't do intervals every day.

Cycling requires a strong aerobic base to build off of in order to improve. Sprinting 100 meters, not so much.
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Old 01-12-07, 02:41 AM   #8
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Personally, I've notice diminishing returns after more than 1 day of sprints and 1 day of intervals a week. You need rest from hard muscular efforts to let your body rebuild. And you need other workouts like aerobic tempo, hillclimbs and endurance. If you end up doing two days of intervals a week, somehow you've left out some other workout that would've been more beneficial.

Also the OP posted this was after two-weeks. This is within a single macrocycle. The following couple of weeks is going to have to be different, followed by a rest week or two. You just can't go out day after day, week after week doing the same routine. You'll end up sacrificing performance in other areas and hinder optimum improvement-rate. Burn-out, physically, mentally and emotionally is very possible.
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Old 01-12-07, 08:22 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by GuitarWizard
You are comparing two completely different sports, and at that, comparable small distances with running track. I'm sure that say, a marathoner, doesn't do intervals every day.

Cycling requires a strong aerobic base to build off of in order to improve. Sprinting 100 meters, not so much.

It takes more of an aerobic base than you realize. And all of that sprinting put me into good enough shape to run a 5K at a very decent speed with no training specific to that distance. Not all cycling is a century. Criteriums would definitely benefit from intervals...so would track cycling. I am not saying that it is wise to do all intervals. It is just that you won't necessarily burn out from doing intervals every day IF you alternate hard efforts one day with easier efforts the next.
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Old 01-12-07, 10:32 AM   #10
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Any type of cycling will benefit from intervals....but you need to do them correctly, which is what was being discussed. Doing them several times a week is not a good idea....well, unless you don't want to improve. Improvements to your fitness come with proper rest/recovery.
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Old 01-12-07, 11:43 AM   #11
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Absolutely.

The article cited in the initial thread on this topic mentioned generalized aerobic benefits of HIT (high intensity training) along with other physiological benefits. The subjects, who were off an off-season base of slow mileage, greatly improved their 40k TT after solely doing HIT.

This means they only did sprints of a couple hundred yards for just six minutes, 33% of that being rest, and came away with very real benefits to a race of 25 miles.

This sounds like a good way to reduce wear and tear during post-season (championship) training or in the weeks prior to the start of the season. Although I haven't seen any research to support this idea: one would guess that fewer miles mean less overall chronic stress on the joints and bones, and more time out of the saddle recuperating. I don't know.
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Old 01-12-07, 12:00 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GuitarWizard
Any type of cycling will benefit from intervals....but you need to do them correctly, which is what was being discussed. Doing them several times a week is not a good idea....well, unless you don't want to improve. Improvements to your fitness come with proper rest/recovery.

I am sorry, but this is absolutely ridiculous. You CAN do intervals 5 days a week IF you alternate easy interval days with harder interval days. If you do all out effort 5 days in a row you will burn out and not reap the rewards of a more structured regimen. But it is absurb to say that one cannot do more than one interval session a week.

Caveats:
Not good for endurance riders
Not good for the casual century rider
Not good for those with no aerobic base or so called base miles
Not good for long road races
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Old 01-12-07, 12:08 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by slowandsteady
I am sorry, but this is absolutely ridiculous. You CAN do intervals 5 days a week IF you alternate easy interval days with harder interval days. If you do all out effort 5 days in a row you will burn out and not reap the rewards of a more structured regimen. But it is absurb to say that one cannot do more than one interval session a week.

Caveats:
Not good for endurance riders
Not good for the casual century rider
Not good for those with no aerobic base or so called base miles
Not good for long road races
I never said you can only do 1 interval session per week....that was Danno. In the past though, I would typically not do over 2 hard sessions per week. The other rides consisted of tempo, endurance and recovery rides.

Base miles are your friend, if you want to reach your potential as a cyclist.

Oh, and if you don't believe that improvements come with proper rest and recovery rather than beating yourself into a pulp each day, you should research training a bit more.

BTW, what's an "easy" interval?

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Old 01-12-07, 03:03 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by GuitarWizard
I never said you can only do 1 interval session per week....that was Danno. In the past though, I would typically not do over 2 hard sessions per week. The other rides consisted of tempo, endurance and recovery rides.

Base miles are your friend, if you want to reach your potential as a cyclist.

Oh, and if you don't believe that improvements come with proper rest and recovery rather than beating yourself into a pulp each day, you should research training a bit more.

BTW, what's an "easy" interval?
What is recommended for recovery? Complete time off the bike, or recovery cycling at approx. 60% of mhr for say a week?
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Old 01-12-07, 03:28 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by GuitarWizard
I never said you can only do 1 interval session per week....that was Danno. In the past though, I would typically not do over 2 hard sessions per week. The other rides consisted of tempo, endurance and recovery rides.

Base miles are your friend, if you want to reach your potential as a cyclist.

Oh, and if you don't believe that improvements come with proper rest and recovery rather than beating yourself into a pulp each day, you should research training a bit more.

BTW, what's an "easy" interval?

What in my posts said that I don't believe in proper rest and recovery? I said numerous times that one cannot go all out every day and expect positive results.

Can you really not comprehend an easy interval? Instead of going 100% for 90 seconds. You go 85% for 30 seconds. Or, 90% for 10 seconds. And/or you can have a longer recovery in between intervals also. Sure it isn't as easy as laying on the couch, but it doesn't have to be brutal.
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Old 01-12-07, 04:15 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by bfloyd
What is recommended for recovery? Complete time off the bike, or recovery cycling at approx. 60% of mhr for say a week?
It depends on the individual, and the period they're in...

Right now, my heavier weeks I ride 5-6 days a week. Last week was a "moderate week", and I did 152 miles in 4 days of riding (Thursday through Sunday), and this week I was on target for 240 miles, provided I do a century tomorrow. However, ith the way the weather is looking, I will probably be stuck on the trainer all weekend, as I don't need to get pnuemonia. I typically will build over a 3 week period, and then have a 1 week regeneration week....which is next week. I will ride usually 4-5 days at a reduced effort (not that I'm going all that hard now), depending on how I feel.

Since I'm in a base building period, the effort level is not real high....been averaging around 145 bpm during rides, and rarely go over 165-170 on hills. This makes racking up miles and consecutive days fairly "easy"....in both effort and recovery. Base-building has been doing wonders for heart rate recovery and adaptation to efforts.

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Old 01-12-07, 04:25 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by slowandsteady
What in my posts said that I don't believe in proper rest and recovery? I said numerous times that one cannot go all out every day and expect positive results.

Can you really not comprehend an easy interval? Instead of going 100% for 90 seconds. You go 85% for 30 seconds. Or, 90% for 10 seconds. And/or you can have a longer recovery in between intervals also. Sure it isn't as easy as laying on the couch, but it doesn't have to be brutal.
I'm curious to see what your workouts are like for such short intervals....
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Old 01-12-07, 08:07 PM   #18
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THe thing is, it takes more than 24-hrs to recover and rebuild from an interval workout. More like 3-4 days if you really did the intervals hard enough.
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Old 01-14-07, 08:25 PM   #19
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THe thing is, it takes more than 24-hrs to recover and rebuild from an interval workout. More like 3-4 days if you really did the intervals hard enough.
+1

For example, if I did an interval workout on Monday, I wouldn't do another one until at least Thursday at the earliest.
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Old 01-14-07, 10:46 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by GuitarWizard
+1

For example, if I did an interval workout on Monday, I wouldn't do another one until at least Thursday at the earliest.
I may be dense but I'm not understanding...

Can you explain why all interval training requires such a rest period?

The study I referred to detailed 10 days of interval workouts in the span of two weeks. In high school track (middle distance), we *only* did interval training. It's been my experience that intervals need not be so taxing -- either by reducing peak effort or thetime at peak effort -- so as to require a several day recovery.

Maybe I'm missing something?
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Old 01-14-07, 11:26 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by ratebeer
I may be dense but I'm not understanding...

Can you explain why all interval training requires such a rest period?

The study I referred to detailed 10 days of interval workouts in the span of two weeks. In high school track (middle distance), we *only* did interval training. It's been my experience that intervals need not be so taxing -- either by reducing peak effort or thetime at peak effort -- so as to require a several day recovery.

Maybe I'm missing something?
Distance athletes (1/2 mile, mile and 2 mile) do intervals three days per week, and distance two; intensity ususlly tapers off toward a meet. The two distance days are similar to rest days (we used to do a 4-7 mile easy jog). It is the same scheduleing principal with cycling, probably because of the endurance factor.

Intervals should be *taxing* and doing a taxing workout every day will burn you out--if not you arn't doing them right. I am not as well read as many others but, I am pretty sure that low intestity intervals at the aerobic level is simply not efficient cycling training and therefore most would consider them not worth doing.

Comparing training techniques of two different sports is like judging apples by the standards of oranges.
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Old 01-16-07, 08:45 PM   #22
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Slim explained it pretty well. Your body grows and improves while it is resting, not during exercise. Therefore, if you strain and break down your muscles with high-intensity intervals on a daily basis and do not allow proper time for recovery.....unless you're on EPO, you're not going to recover in time, and this will lead to diminished results/overtraining. This is why incorporating recovery rides is so important during periods when you're hitting some hard interval training days - the recovery rides flush your muscles of excess waste, and are so light in intensity that you're not taxing your body.

The "lowest intensity" intervals you'd ideally want to do would be muscle tension intervals, where you crank along in a huge gear at a low cadence, which builds leg power. Your heartrate is much lower than if you're doing sprint or power intervals, so therefore it doesn't necessary feel like you're killing yourself....but, do a good hour of them, and you'll feel it. Next up the ladder would be steady state intervals, which will help to improve your lactate threshold. These can be particularly brutal if done for long periods of time, but they are easy to focus on and repeat...."easy" being a relative term. Sprint intervals are hard, especially if you limit your recovery period....but the hardest ones (IMO) are a toss up between hill repeats and power intervals. I like hill repeats because I'm sorta masochistic, but power intervals can be equally brutal. I have a really nice hill near me that is a mile long, and gains around 300 vertical feet that I use for climbing repeats. My goal is to ascend it 10 times in a session this summer.

And you can't compare cycling to running, as has been pointed out before.
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Old 01-17-07, 03:11 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by ratebeer
I may be dense but I'm not understanding...

Can you explain why all interval training requires such a rest period?

The study I referred to detailed 10 days of interval workouts in the span of two weeks. In high school track (middle distance), we *only* did interval training. It's been my experience that intervals need not be so taxing -- either by reducing peak effort or thetime at peak effort -- so as to require a several day recovery.

Maybe I'm missing something?
Because you need time for your muscles to repair themselves, i.e. get stronger. Muscles don't repair themselves with more intervals. It just creates a condition perfect for overtraining and injury.
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Old 01-17-07, 03:34 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by GuitarWizard
I'm curious to see what your workouts are like for such short intervals....

Most of my intervals are either 90 seconds or 60 seconds with about 2 minutes of recovery. I wouldn't say that they are short. It is pretty standard. Nothing wrong with a 15 second interval either. Look at the track(velodrome) times for the shorter distances. We are talking less than 1 minute and as low as 11 seconds.
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Old 01-17-07, 05:35 PM   #25
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I still don't believe it. My body gets stronger in the 10 seconds in between my hard 20 second cranks. That's what the rest is for.

The days off thing sounds like a wayward scientific rationalization of a tail-between-the-legs training philosophy.

If you look at those guys who haul dirt in potato sacks out of strip mines 10 hours a day, they aren't exactly all broken down and burned out. These are buff dudes with a Pyrenees-lot of lung power. They do "interval training" every day and their "coaches" don't give them 3-4 days to rest. Ever.

I'd be curious as to what references you have.

The longtime tradition for our middle distance track team was a brutal two weeks of five days a week interval training designed to quickly toughen our fat Atari 2600-playing, deep fried burrito-eating asses up for a season. No one ever got hurt during this phase although there was a lot of moaning and groaning and post-workout time spent in the locker room clutching our aching heads.
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