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  1. #1
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    2 x 20 vs 2 x 30 Intervals

    Hi,

    Just a quick one, is there a reason why 2 x 20min threshold intervals are 20min in length, or would 2 x 30min or even 2 x 40min be better... providing you can do the 30min or 40min at threshold, or heart rate Zone 4 in Joe Friels cyclists training bible.

    Im just wondering if 20min is the best time for these intervals as alot of people recommend 2 x 20min to be the best way to increase your power at threshold, is anything more or less not really worth it, a bit like vo2max intervals..... ive read that 4min is best, 5min is not hard enough to reach vo2max and anything less is too hard and you wont reach vo2max for long enough to make gains, is it the same as threshold 20min intervals or is it just a case of longer is better?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    There's a lot to think about here. First thing: trainer or road? Second thing: goal? On my rollers, I usually go for 15 minute intervals, two or three. I'm a wussy and just can't hack the pain of doing it longer, though I have no trouble holding it on the road. On the road, the longest continuous climb in my immediate area is only 1000' so that's my limiting interval there. On ordinary roads, I don't think I can find 20 minutes of continuous 25 mph riding. Out in the mountains I can find hour+ climbs, but that's for later, when I'm using the LT training I built earlier.

    But trying to be more responsive, I think you have the right idea. Most folks think that you're apt to take it too easy on 30 minute intervals so they won't have the desired effect. Then there's total time in zone to consider. I think one to 1.5 hrs/week of LT work is max for most folks. So maybe you don't want to burn all your candles at once.

  3. #3
    Not actually Tmonk TMonk's Avatar
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    I think a big idea central to pacing your intervals is the convention that you can only spend 1 hour of time producing your max functional threshold power. LTHR is supposed to approximate FTP for interval purposes btw.

    Most people can only stand around 40-50 min of true threshold efforts in one session (myself included) so things like 2x20, 3x15, 4x10; ect are all common (depending on your preference). Some hardcore people do 3x20's. I'm not one of them.

    When people talk about their work intervals totalling >1hr (3x30's, ect), then by the conventional definition of FTP they are working at a slightly (to highly) lower intensity.


    As to what works best for you, I suggest you just experiemnt and see what you like best!

    Personally, I prefer 2x20's on a long rolling flat road, 90min of continuous tempo on a long loop or 3x15' (2 climbs, one flat on the way home) for my threshold building workouts.

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    Thanks for the replies. I should have said these would be turbo sessions.. 60m at threshold does sound a lot so I think I will stick to 40m at threshold twice a week during build period...

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    Banned. $ick3nin.vend3t's Avatar
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    My personal trainer/indoor sessions don't involve Zone 4. The zones I pay particular attention to in my sessions are Zones 2 & 3 (Aerobic) & Zone 5 (VO2 Max 90%-100%). There is nobody on earth who can hold a 4-5 minute stint @ 100% VO2 Max if I'm reading you right. Think of the 100m sprint.
    You ain't holding that 5 minutes thats for sure.

    My stints @95+%-100% VO2 Max all out effort, build up from 20 seconds, then back right off the power & back into the easy zones 2 & 3 for 3-5 minutes, then go again into zone 5, building upto 50secs-1min intervals in zone 5 during a session. As I'm building upto 1 min, the % is ever decreasing from start to finish but I'm trying to hold it within the 90% range.

    Had good success with this. Easy to hard, easy to hard, nothing is constant. Want to increase your power output that is how to do it. I probably do tons of zone 4 out on the road anyway, in fact I know I do, but on the indoor trainer, different goals, alot more grimacing indoors.

    That is what I do personally, thats what I believe in. It can get tough at times, but where involved in a tough sport.

    As long as your cranking.
    Last edited by $ick3nin.vend3t; 01-21-10 at 12:43 PM.

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    Not actually Tmonk TMonk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by *****3nin.vend3t View Post
    My personal trainer/indoor sessions don't involve Zone 4. The zones I pay particular attention to in my sessions are Zones 2 & 3 (Aerobic) & Zone 5 (VO2 Max 90%-100%). There is nobody on earth who can hold a 4-5 minute stint @ 100% VO2 Max if I'm reading you right. Think of the 100m sprint. You ain't holding that 5 minutes thats for sure. My stints @95+%-100% VO2 Max all out effort, build up from 20 seconds, then back right off the power & back into the easy zones 2 & 3 for 3-5 minutes, then go again into zone 5, building upto 50secs-1min intervals in zone 5 during a session. As I'm building upto 1 min, the % is ever decreasing from start to finish but I'm trying to hold it within the 90% range. Had good success with this. Easy to hard, easy to hard, nothing is constant. Want to increase your power output that is how to do it. I probably do tons of zone 4 out on the road anyway, in fact I know I do, but on the indoor trainer, different goals, alot more grimacing indoors. That is what I do personally, thats what I believe in. It can get tough at times, but where involved in a tough sport.
    paragraphs are your friend.

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    Banned. $ick3nin.vend3t's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TMonk View Post
    paragraphs are your friend.
    Done. I'm not saying my way is the right way or wrong way, I just know it can hurt like hell at times.

  8. #8
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    So, my quesion is, when you are talking about "intervals", what kind of intervals are you talking about? From all the reading I've done, there are obviously wildly different definitions of what an "interval" is as far as training use goes.

    I read the stub thread about the 2 x 20 tests, and it sounded interesting because I've never done something like that before. A little background, I'm 46, 6'2" and about 225 lbs. Doing the math with the funky formulae, I estimate my max HR at about 185 bpm. So, for this 2 x 20, I aimed for a 170bpm mark for the two 20 min sessions. The first session was hard because I'm a little slow to warm up, and don't feel liek I get in my groove for about the first 20 mins. After the 5 min recovery, the next 20 min at 170 bpm felt pretty good, I was working hard, but still had gas in the tank. In a couple weeks, I'll try it again at 175. I'm looking for the formulae now, that converts that 170bpm figure into some sort of performance measure. The link on the 2 x 20 post doesn't work anymore - the company has redone their site, or doesn't give out the freebies anymore.

    That 2 x 20 test was hard, but the way I've trained, it isn't what I'd call an interval. When I do anything up to 4 min intervals, they hurt, a lot. Legs and lungs and my HR is 180 to 190bpm. I thought that was the principal behind intervals, shocking the system and getting it out of its comfort zone? I've done a couple 40km TTs, but quite a few 15km TTs, and for the 15k runs, I'm flat out for the duration (~20 mins) at 180 to 190bpm. I thought that was the point fo the shorter time trials, to go flat out? I don't mind the intervals, in fact, I sort of enjoy/fear them. The discomfort is definitely way up the scale, but the sense of satisfaction, and the feel of my legs and chest lets me know that I've sure as hell been working, and hopefully making my system adapt.

    So, when people are talking about 10 to 30 minute "intervals", what % of max heart rate are they actually talking about? I don't have a power meter, so that's why I'm referring to HR.

  9. #9
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    I use lactate threshold heart rate, which is zone 4, or 94% to 99% of your lactate threshold heart rate. Ive also translated this to max heart rate aswell, my max being 200, and they are 81% to 90% of max heart rate. Hold this intensity for 2 x 20m intervals with 5min recovery inbetween. Killers but work well.

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