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  1. #1
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Interval "sprints" aren't sprints

    It's May and that means it's interval time again for me. I've been trying some new high intensity intervals that have been discussed on these forums. I started with waterrockets' 1 minute sprints. It became immediately obvious to me that he didn't mean really sprint. When I sprint, I try to de-socket my knees and otherwise make ***** sure that there's little chance I'm going to see another wheel in my periphery. I can do that for 45 seconds absolute max. Even that's not really all out. I'm failing for the last 15 seconds or so. Think about it. A racer sprints at 40 mph. That's 2/3 of a mile every minute. Pros sprint for 200 meters. Nobody sprints for 2/3 of a mile! OK, that's number one.

    Number two: Nobody sprints 20 seconds out of every 30 for 6 minutes like you see posted sometimes for Tabata intervals. Lance couldn't do that. He'd fall over, just like I do. It's impossible.

    So. ratebeer posted a good explanation of what you're really supposed to do for Tabata intervals. No, you don't sprint, you just go as hard as you can and still finish the session. That takes some experimentation. Same for waterrockets' 1 minute sprints. Not sprints. Just as hard as you can go and make the 1 minute mark. Again, it takes experimentation.

    So when you see interval instructions that call for you to "sprint" for 20 or 30 seconds or 1 minute - don't! Just go as hard as you can and still finish the interval set. It's no good crapping out half way through. Better to have gone easier and finished the set. You probably won't judge it quite right the first time. Don't give up. Try it again a little easier (or harder!) the next day.

    Just felt like I had to say this! Discuss?

  2. #2
    seattle based cyclist merlinman's Avatar
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    great post! I've been thinking about this a lot given how many intervals I do each week. Just re-read Joe Friel's appendix on workouts. He's not only guy obviously with a pov. His key point is "what are you trying to train?"
    1. Speed = form sprints (15 seconds each)
    2. Muscular-Endurance (6-12 minutes)
    3. Anaerobic endurance = LT reps 1-2 minutes
    4. Power = 30 seconds

    In my case my training (monday-saturday) focuses on #2 and #3 Including hill intervals. Sunday long rides are when I throw in the #1 and #4.
    Andiamo!!

  3. #3
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    merlinman,
    Does #2 mean that you go all out for 6-12 minutes or does it mean a sprint every 6-12minutes....have not read friel's book, but have been meaning to pick it up.

    Tell me....I am training simply to get in the best shape of my life. No intention of road racing, but I hope to feel like I can place (as opposed to simply finish) a few 50-100 MTB races in the next year or two. Is Friel's book meant more as a way to "peak" by race time or will can it help me focus on simply getting into the best shape of my life?

  4. #4
    seattle based cyclist merlinman's Avatar
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    3-5 intervals of 6 to 12 minutes each, with 2-3 minutes rest in between. Fewer units and shorter duration as you start then progress (i.e., yu should be able to do 5 intervals of 12 minutes each). Goal is to tran at your threshold (zone 4-5).

    I think Friel's book has so many sound principles it is entirely appropriate for getting into best shape of your life.
    Andiamo!!

  5. #5
    semifreddo amartuerer 'nother's Avatar
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    Coggan and Allen's Training and Racing with a Power Meter also has some good guidelines on when to stop an interval session (e.g for intervals of X seconds, stop repeats when power drop-off exceeds Y%).

    But yeah, it has to be understood that "doing intervals" and "going all out" are not synonymous. Intervals are merely time periods. You could have 5-minute, 20-minute, or even one-hour intervals. Obviously you are not going to go at the same intensity for each one of those. That's a side benefit of intervals, you learn how to pace yourself for a given time (or distance) period.
    Can you pass the test?
    Yield to Life.

  6. #6
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    I find a 1-minute interval is about at 97-98% effort of an all-out sprint. It's close, but definitely not a sprint. I think there's a lot of semantic variations here where people use the words sprint, interval and tempo to mean close to the same thing.

  7. #7
    Gammal cyklist Reynolds's Avatar
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    I think a sprint is an all - out (100%) effort lasting 10 to 15 sec, 20 at most. If you can sustain it for 1 min, definitely it's not a sprint - level effort.

  8. #8
    Climbing Fool terrymorse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reynolds
    I think a sprint is an all - out (100%) effort lasting 10 to 15 sec, 20 at most. If you can sustain it for 1 min, definitely it's not a sprint - level effort.
    FWIW, sprint cyclists can maintain max. power for only about 5 seconds. Same goes for runners.

    At 40 mph, 5 seconds is about 100 yards.
    Managing Director, Undiscovered Country Tours

  9. #9
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    After about 5-seconds, the phosphocreatine runs out. Anaerobic fermentation of glycogen can still occur for full 100% effort for much longer though. But that effort produces a power-curve does drop off due to the slower ATP production.

    There are various strategies that rely on that extra-powerful 5-sec. burst. For example, like getting a start on an unsuspecting pack and getting as much acceleration as possible. Then when the power drops off, you won't be accelerating, but you can still try to maintain that top-speed and gap as long as possible.

    Or you can be the quick-reacting guy and be the one that hops on the wheel of the flyer. He'll burn through his precious 5-second reserve while pulling you up to top-speed (you'll only need to be 75-80% of his power-output). You've still got your 5-sec. burst all stored up and ready to pass him at the finish... heh, heh

  10. #10
    Gammal cyklist Reynolds's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by terrymorse
    FWIW, sprint cyclists can maintain max. power for only about 5 seconds. Same goes for runners.

    At 40 mph, 5 seconds is about 100 yards.
    But most roads sprints last more than 5 seconds or 90 mts (100 yds). 150 mts is not unusual, even 200 mts sometimes.

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