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Threshold intervals: 8x5' vs. 5x5' (ATTN: ZeCanon)

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Threshold intervals: 8x5' vs. 5x5' (ATTN: ZeCanon)

Old 05-06-10, 09:54 AM
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arexjay
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Threshold intervals: 8x5' vs. 5x5' (ATTN: ZeCanon)

I remember a little while back, ZeCanon came to us with the 8x5' threshold intervals. I've been doing these lately, and definitely have noticed gains from them. However, after coming back to browsing this forum after a little break, I'm noticing that he now pimps the 5x5' @ 105% intervals in place of those.

Can someone explain the difference and why the 5x5' intervals are better than the 8x5' intervals?
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Old 05-06-10, 09:56 AM
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ze is on the road for college nats so you might not hear frousm him till next week.
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Old 05-06-10, 09:59 AM
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Ze invented 5 minute intervals?
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Old 05-06-10, 10:09 AM
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No, of course he didn't. That's not what I said. He came to us with the idea of doing 8x5' at threshold (or whatever % it was at). Or maybe he didn't. I'd rather not get caught up over semantics.

I'm just wondering what the difference between the two are, the pros vs. cons of each.
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Old 05-06-10, 10:18 AM
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My threshold intervals are longer duration, 2x20, 2x30 etc.

But Ze could rip my legs off so what do i know...?
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Old 05-06-10, 10:36 AM
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Look at the sticky at the top of this forum. His workout is in there, and he cites the reason for 6x5x1 as optimal (maximum) fiber recruitment. So, you're working the slow twitch stuff about as hard as you can with that workout, while keeping stress just low enough to complete the workout.
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Old 05-06-10, 11:44 AM
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what is 6x5'x1 - 1 minute recovery or 1 set?
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Old 05-06-10, 11:46 AM
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6 sets of
5' @ 103-108% FTP
1' rest
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Old 05-06-10, 11:52 AM
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I suppose what I meant to ask was, why 6x5' (at a higher intensity) instead of 8x5' (and a relatively lower intensity)? I think I understand, though. 8x5' is just taking longer to stop using anaerobic power (longer to "prep the system"), and 6x5' recruits more muscle fibers?

Either way, I'll go with the 6x5' from now on. Just curious.
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Old 05-06-10, 12:02 PM
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I think the conventional wisdom is that pulling up FTP by working just over threshold is more effective than pushing up FTP with longer intervals at lower intensity.
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Old 05-06-10, 12:04 PM
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I really think it's just another arrow in the quiver. Do these ZCI™s for a while, then go back to STUCI or 3x20s or whatever. Just change it up so you don't get too comfortable with your training.
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Old 05-06-10, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by arexjay View Post
I suppose what I meant to ask was, why 6x5' (at a higher intensity) instead of 8x5' (and a relatively lower intensity)? I think I understand, though. 8x5' is just taking longer to stop using anaerobic power (longer to "prep the system"), and 6x5' recruits more muscle fibers?

Either way, I'll go with the 6x5' from now on. Just curious.
I like to give myself a facepalm when I read quotes like this.

WTF does "taking longer to stop using anerobic power" mean? I really have no idea.

And then, you go on to say you'll just do the 6x5' intervals.

WHY!!??

a serious question.

Why?

(i plan on posting some helpful stuff, but I want you to think about why.)
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Old 05-06-10, 04:51 PM
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I'm going to do the 6x5' because, when I was first introduced to this style of threshold intervals, ZeCanon talked about doing 8x5'. Now, I see 6x5' in place of those, so I assume they are more effective. That's why. Definitely not the most sound reasoning, I know.

As far as the text you quoted, well, I know that I don't know a lot of the science behind this. What I wrote makes sense to me, but clearly not to anyone else. So I'll try to explain, please try bear with me: ZeCanon said "The first two feel easy - your anaerobic system is providing a good portion of the power. 3-end, you have exhausted anaerobic power and are relying entirely on the aerobic system." So, when I said "taking longer to stop using anerobic power," I assumed that the 8x5' intervals spent more time "exhausting anaerobic power" because they were at a lower intensity. I'm likely wrong, but that's okay. I'm learning. Thanks for at least taking the time to respond, everyone.
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Old 05-06-10, 06:00 PM
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I've read the study (or at least one of them) that discusses the effectiveness of these intervals on trained cyclists. They examined cyclists who hadn't performed any interval training for 3 months and had half the group doing high intensity intervals (6-8 5 min intervals at 80% of PPO with 1min rest). As you might expect, after 4 weeks their FTP and TT40k performance improved by 5-8%. This is likely similar to the type of improvement you could expect doing 2x20's every week but the 6x5x1's might be mentally easier to deal with.

I agree it's just another arrow in the quiver rather than a magic training regimen.
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Old 05-06-10, 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
I've read the study (or at least one of them) that discusses the effectiveness of these intervals on trained cyclists. They examined cyclists who hadn't performed any interval training for 3 months and had half the group doing high intensity intervals (6-8 5 min intervals at 80% of PPO with 1min rest). As you might expect, after 4 weeks their FTP and TT40k performance improved by 5-8%. This is likely similar to the type of improvement you could expect doing 2x20's every week but the 6x5x1's might be mentally easier to deal with.

I agree it's just another arrow in the quiver rather than a magic training regimen.

I find the 6x5x1's horrible, mentally.

The key with the 6x5x1 protocol is the 1' rest interval.

Such a short rest interval dissallows for (simplifying here) significant "anaerobic recharge". Basically it gives you just enough time to catch your breath (aerobic system "recharge") but not enough time to allow your anaerobic energy systems to "reboot", which takes longer than 1 minute to fully recharge (but even with 1 minute there is a bit of anaerobic recharge going on).

As someone who has done this protocol 5 times (by the books, with a real powermeter) I really can feel this effect.

First 2, 3, even 4 intervals are manageable. they feel different than the final few reps. The final few reps deliver that deep aching fatigue that makes you wanna stop, badly. Also what I experience is that my breathing becomes MUCH more labored for the later intervals in comparison to the first few. Same power, same cadence, much heavier breathing. That's the key with getting the power just right. Those super-hutry intervals really make the differerence.

Also the last 2 intervals hurt from the first minute, where as the first couple are easyish for the first 3-4 minutes.

Adding to this experiencial evidence: on a few occassions, i wussed out and took a 75" rest interval (before the 6th rep), not the prescribed 60". The subsequest interval was noteably easier. Nearly unbelievable how much those extra 15 seconds helped me. Does this represent a bit more anaerobic recharge, aerobic recovery or just a simple mental trick?

the 2x20 protocol, while classic and effective is different. Firstly, If you can do 20' straight @ 105%, nice!

can you do another 20' @ 105%...even after a 10" RI?

I never could.

Also with the 2x20 protocol, you are coming into both of the 20' intervals with a fully charged anaerobic resevoir. You have to deplete this resevoir before you start targeting the "slow twitch goodness" (stole that one from ZE).

So, the 6x5x1 is so magical because it teaches you to produce maximal power with minimal anaerobic assistance. Muscle fibers become more efficient and with efficiency comes higher threshold power, typically.

please feel free to disect!

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Old 05-06-10, 07:15 PM
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Originally Posted by arexjay View Post
I'm going to do the 6x5' because, when I was first introduced to this style of threshold intervals, ZeCanon talked about doing 8x5'. Now, I see 6x5' in place of those, so I assume they are more effective. That's why. Definitely not the most sound reasoning, I know.

As far as the text you quoted, well, I know that I don't know a lot of the science behind this. What I wrote makes sense to me, but clearly not to anyone else. So I'll try to explain, please try bear with me: ZeCanon said "The first two feel easy - your anaerobic system is providing a good portion of the power. 3-end, you have exhausted anaerobic power and are relying entirely on the aerobic system." So, when I said "taking longer to stop using anerobic power," I assumed that the 8x5' intervals spent more time "exhausting anaerobic power" because they were at a lower intensity. I'm likely wrong, but that's okay. I'm learning. Thanks for at least taking the time to respond, everyone.
Kudos for such a mature response. Thank you for not getting defensive.

We are all learning here and I'm so happy to learn with y'all.

-Leo
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Old 05-06-10, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by ldesfor1@ithaca View Post
I find the 6x5x1's horrible, mentally.
I can't disagree with anything that you have said in spirit. I'd say that the first one feels great. The second one gets a little uncomfortable toward the end. The third one takes concentrated effort to complete. The fourth one starts to hurt pretty bad in the middle. The fifth one hurts bad about 1 minute in. The last one is a total suffer fest and it takes real fortitude/mental derangement to finish it.

I know that the published studies say that this is the way to go for FTP enhancement and I have been doing them for over a month, but my personal experience is that they are great in boosting 5 minute power, but don't work as well for me as 2x20's in boosting FTP. Perhaps I am not typical in terms of the study population. Since all of the races I care about for the rest of the year are not hour long TT's I will continue this protocol, but next Spring I will go back to my tried and true 2x20's and 2+ hour tempo rides to get ready for a 40 km ITT.
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Old 05-06-10, 07:29 PM
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I think it should be stated that these intervals are next to impossible without a PM. Sure you can try it, but it is nearly impossible to pace yourself well.
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Old 05-06-10, 07:32 PM
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word, mollusk.

as I have some 20-30' TT's coming up, I'm focusing on 20-30' intervals on... the TT bike.

The 6x5x1's carry over well to races, though. Being used to going hard on short recovery perriods feels familiar to trying to establish a break, a solid bridge effort or a 5' climb.

That siad, neither 6x5x1 or 2x20 intervals are really designed to be "road race specific", but to boost FTP... although some argue racing is the best training, I'm not one of those people.
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Old 05-06-10, 07:35 PM
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Originally Posted by ldesfor1@ithaca View Post
although some argue racing is the best training, I'm not one of those people.
I don't want to derail this thread, but I think "racing as training" depends on your fitness level. If you can sit in the pack comfortably and only start suffering when you're attacking, chasing, etc. then maybe racing isn't the best training. But for someone like me who can barely hang on, racing has taught me a whole new level of suffering that I can't really reach in training.
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Old 05-06-10, 07:35 PM
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Originally Posted by mike868y View Post
I think it should be stated that these intervals are next to impossible without a PM. Sure you can try it, but it is nearly impossible to pace yourself well.
I usually can usually do these without PM because I have well over 200K miles in my legs on a bike and so I am pretty well self-calibrated. Even so I screwed up royally trying to do this once recently and way overcooked the first 4. The other times I have done these were pretty close to on target by feel.
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Old 05-06-10, 07:36 PM
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Alright, well I can't do them without a PM...
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Old 05-06-10, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by mike868y View Post
Alright, well I can't do them without a PM...
That gives you an excuse to lay out the $'s.

Truth be told, I'd love to be able to rent one for a month or two.
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Old 05-06-10, 07:42 PM
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Originally Posted by mike868y View Post
Alright, well I can't do them without a PM...
neither can I, mike, neither can I.
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Old 05-06-10, 07:42 PM
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Originally Posted by mollusk View Post
That gives you an excuse to lay out the $'s.

Truth be told, I'd love to be able to rent one for a month or two.
I would love a PM. But I'm not the fan of the whole idea of PT though and SRM/Quarqs are expensive. I'm going to try and some some $$ over the summer from working to see if I can get a used one.
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