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  1. #1
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    Intervals or Repeats?

    I went out yesterday in an attempt to do some sprint interval training. I went as hard as I could for 30 seconds x 6 repetions. As this was really my first time concentrating on this type of workout, I gave myself several minutes to recuperate between sets-given the rain and some nausea-as much as 7/8 minutes, although that was only for 2 of them. I probably averaged 3/4 minutes in between sets (the time it took to rest a little and pedal back to my starting point). In hindsight and, after reading another post about training for hills, my perspective is now this: I really ended up doing more of a sprint "repeat" workout, rather than intervals. Unless I'm mistaken, intervals training suggests that you exert/recover/exert again in similarly timed intervals. Is this correct? Since most recomendations were for sets to be around 6 to 8, with times as low as 5 to 10 seconds, it was hard for me to get my mind around such a (seemingly) short workout (unless it's supposed to be incorporated as part of a longer ride). I went as hard as I possibly could, all out, for 30 seconds, reaching a top speed of 31.9 mph before gearing out (cx gearing on Cross Check), rested and recovered while returning to my starting point. It reminded me more of the hills training I did the week before, but, that may be more of an anaerobic workout than intervals is designed to be. Am I on the right track or, totally off? Can someone recommend a precise sprint intervals workout routine?
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  2. #2
    But on the road more MTBLover's Avatar
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    You're on the right track. There are a jillion ways to do intervals, and there's no rule that a bout has to be as long as the rest period. That's especially true when you're first starting out. In fact, there's some evidence that a long rest period between bouts (say 2-3 minutes rest for a 30 second bout) is actually ideal, because of the differential in cardiac output. Google is your friend here- there are numerous conditioning schedules online that you'll find helpful. When you're first starting out, it's wise to limit to 5-6 bouts, 20-30 seconds each, with 45-90 seconds rest, then gradually add bouts, reducing rest time and increasing bout time in some combination that works for you. The main goal here, besides conditioning, is to avoid injury- it's really easy, even for a conditioned athlete to injure him/herself with a poorly designed HIIT regimen.

    BTW, I don't see a whole lot of difference between sprint repeats and intervals.
    HTH!

  3. #3
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    BTW, I don't see a whole lot of difference between sprint repeats and intervals.
    HTH! I guess my interperetation of the wording, based on others' descriptions, made me think that the difference was aerobic (intervals) v. anaerobic (repeats) in their focus. I do hills and/or mountain biking to focus on strength (weights in the winter as well) but really want to work to improve my cardiovascular capacity and Vo2 max. It's seems that the programs I've seen stressed a shorter exertion/recovery cycle whereas repeats allowed for more recovery time, necassary for strength producing workouts. Oh well, I guess I could be over thinking this as well. I just wanted some guidance but, I'm sure I'll get some benefits, even from an imperfect work out. I guess I'm just excited about the opportunity to really train again and want to get the most out of it.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjw16 View Post
    BTW, I don't see a whole lot of difference between sprint repeats and intervals.
    HTH!
    There are more than one type of intervals. Sprint repeats are similar to what many call "red-line" intervals. They are performed at 90-100% of your maximum heart rate. Most people think of intervals as anaerobic zone (80-80%) are performed for 15 -30 minutes
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    But on the road more MTBLover's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StanSeven View Post
    There are more than one type of intervals. Sprint repeats are similar to what many call "red-line" intervals. They are performed at 90-100% of your maximum heart rate. Most people think of intervals as anaerobic zone (80-80%) are performed for 15 -30 minutes
    Thanks- I hadn't heard that distinction. While there are indeed many, many ways to approach interval training, I've always considered the bout to be in the red line, at least in those who have been pursuing HIIT long enough to be considered "conditioned." I'm pretty sure that most people consider intervals that way as well.

  6. #6
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    Interval basically just means "for a time". The duration and intensity of the interval depends on what energy system you are trying to target, as well as the recovery period. 5 minutes is a typical recovery period unless you are specifically trying to simulate a non-recovered state. For example, Tabatas, various on/off durations, etc. all have very short rest periods. 1 minute is a common anaerobic interval, 3-5 minutes is a typical VO2-max interval, and 20 minutes for threshold, and commonly all recommended to be done with 5 minutes of rest between them.

  7. #7
    Senior Member hocker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by umd View Post
    1 minute is a common anaerobic interval, 3-5 minutes is a typical VO2-max interval, and 20 minutes for threshold, and commonly all recommended to be done with 5 minutes of rest between them.
    Interesting. At what percent for each above? E.g. 1-minute at 90%, 3-5 mins at 80%, etc. How many sets? Are these something you would mix-up on one training ride or one day do anaerobic, the next VO2....

    Thanks in advance for the personal coaching.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hocker View Post
    Interesting. At what percent for each above? E.g. 1-minute at 90%, 3-5 mins at 80%, etc. How many sets? Are these something you would mix-up on one training ride or one day do anaerobic, the next VO2....

    Thanks in advance for the personal coaching.
    It's hard for me to say what they should be by HR %... When I did them before power I just did "as hard as I could" sustain for the duration and be able to repeat for the set. As a general rules of thumb, the shorter the interval the more of them you do in a set... 2x20 for threshold, 5x5 for VO2, 10x1 for anaerobic. You will want to pick up a training book, as I have greatly simplified things...

    For the most part these are 1 type of thing per ride, but there are some schools of thought on mixing things to similate race conditions. Such as an anaerobic interval in the middle of threshold, etc...

  9. #9
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    To me, whatever you want to call it (repeat, interval, etc.), we're talking about a hard period followed by an easy period, then repeat several times. For 30 second intervals with a few minutes rest in between each one, I would say you could do 10 of them (so, that will take you 30-50 minutes), then ride aerobic zone for a while, and then, if you're feeling good, you could do some more of them. The amount of work you do in a workout will depend on how much you train and your general fitness level--more fit and more training means you'll probably need to do more of the intervals than the untrained guy to improve.
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  10. #10
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    Thanks guys, looks like I'm on the right track. I'm relieved to know that I wasn't necassarily wasting time/effort with, what I thought was, too long a rest period. I was thinking about it on the ride home, basically it {can be** as simple a philosophy as "work harder, get stronger". I want to push my Vo2 max and overall cardio ability, next time I'll up the number of sets from 6 to 8 or so.
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