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Ride hard, take a small break, ride hard again

Old 11-26-23, 07:47 PM
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Ride hard, take a small break, ride hard again

Interesting phenomenon these days. I may be pushing along in Z4 and starting to feel fatigued so I back off to 3 or 2 for about 30 seconds, then my energy returns and I can get back to 4 and continue to push, rinse and repeat. Micro rest breaks while riding somehow reenergize me.

Anyone else have something similar happening?
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Old 11-26-23, 08:14 PM
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Interval workouts. The first few always feel refreshing, but try doing 10 of those Z4's with a short break in-between and then tell us how you feel.
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Old 11-26-23, 08:30 PM
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I avoid doing intervals like the plague, but evidently not COVID. Appreciate your suggestion, but not that much.
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Old 11-26-23, 08:30 PM
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Yeah, 30 seconds is a big help!

Even riding a high Zone 2 long climb pace on the Blue Ridge Parkway: I cruise through an overlook to check the views for 20-30 seconds, and I get a nice boost of renewed energy. It's surprising and so nice.


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Old 11-27-23, 04:57 AM
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There is no phenomenon here. Most humans figure this out as children. Tired, rest, revive, pretty basic.
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Old 11-27-23, 06:39 AM
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Originally Posted by rsbob
Interesting phenomenon these days. I may be pushing along in Z4 and starting to feel fatigued so I back off to 3 or 2 for about 30 seconds, then my energy returns and I can get back to 4 and continue to push, rinse and repeat. Micro rest breaks while riding somehow reenergize me.

Anyone else have something similar happening?
Absolutely! Ability to quickly recover from a hard effort (burning a match) is key to a lot of fast group rides, especially on punchy, rolling terrain. I also do this often in Zwift events. The start is usually a full gas effort to hang onto the front group and then try to recover when the pace inevitably settles down. Rinse and repeat over every rise and climb and the inevitable finishing sprint! There is however a limit to the number of matches you can burn. Eventually the flame goes out! The longer the ride, the more reluctant I am to burn matches along the way as I find it has the effect of slightly reducing my endurance pace. Even the pros pay a penalty in this respect if they burn too many matches, even after they have apparently recovered from these efforts.
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Old 11-27-23, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by rsbob
Interesting phenomenon these days. I may be pushing along in Z4 and starting to feel fatigued so I back off to 3 or 2 for about 30 seconds, then my energy returns and I can get back to 4 and continue to push, rinse and repeat. Micro rest breaks while riding somehow reenergize me.

Anyone else have something similar happening?
Sure. That sort of training can work.

Years ago, I did hard distance running. Often (usually) in the hills. But on group runs we quite often did interval sequences. On a 10-15 mile run over all terrain, it can be difficult to dish up a hard surge when the terrain's ugly (ie, going up a long slope). But, over time, such hard-surge training can yield benefits. We found that the recovery time fell, the more often we did such training runs. And, in races it was an obvious advantage to be able to surge past a competitor or up/over a hill where others weren't prepared to hit it hard. Translated well to cycling, too, insofar as the cardiovascular was concerned. (Didn't do performance cycling, back then, so I didn't often put it to "good" use there.)

Takes time to get that sort of training to translate to normal output, from my experience. But, do it enough, hard enough, then eventually you'll begin to find that you can surge a bit harder, a bit longer, and when you back off you find recovery times shrink. Wish it were easier to achieve, as it's certainly a hard effort ... but the body can respond well to it, incorporating it regularly into your training.
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Old 11-27-23, 09:56 AM
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Yep, all the time. After a few though I find a short get off the bike and stretch for a minute or two is needed.
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Old 11-27-23, 10:13 AM
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In the constantly rolling terrain that I have around me, it's what I've been doing ever since I started riding seriously for fitness. Press hard up the hills, go somewhat hard on the little bit of level and false flats, recover on the downhill and the false flats I'm not trying to go hard on. It seems the length of climbs and frequency of the hills is well timed here for intervals.
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Old 11-27-23, 10:17 AM
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Interesting. For me, it depends on the duration of the z4 and is it solo or in a group where the power varies. 30 seconds of less pedal force feels great but the time is pretty short for any meaningful recovery.

Last edited by Hermes; 11-28-23 at 08:14 AM.
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Old 11-27-23, 12:03 PM
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Now that you mention it, I've often ridden this way and wondered if I would be faster with a more consistent effort. I think that TTs are uniquely challenging because they demand that sustained effort.
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Old 11-27-23, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by john m flores
Now that you mention it, I've often ridden this way and wondered if I would be faster with a more consistent effort. I think that TTs are uniquely challenging because they demand that sustained effort.
It depends on the terrain, duration and group vs solo.

A flat TT or a steady long mountain climb is faster with a consistent, measured effort. But a lumpy, rolling course with many punchy climbs is usually faster if you ride hard up the climbs and rest on the descents. Most of my local riding is the latter. I can be up at VO2 max power on the steep climbs for a few minutes at a time and then recover over the top for 30 seconds or so before ramping back up to endurance power. There is a local ride nicknamed ďThe Bakerís DozenĒ that has 13 brutal 20%+ climbs with matching descents and short flat sections in-between. It is the ultimate interval session!
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Old 12-01-23, 01:37 AM
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I have read of a similar trick for doing well in the kilometer - go as hard as you can for the first lap, "float" through the second, then all-out for the third.
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Old 12-01-23, 07:50 AM
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It's called 'recovery'
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Old 12-01-23, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Fredo76
I have read of a similar trick for doing well in the kilometer - go as hard as you can for the first lap, "float" through the second, then all-out for the third.
Sprint events are a different beast -- I don't think there's any time for recovery in a 1km time trial. It's simply anaerobic torture. The basic strategy is "go like hell to get up to speed" and hope that you don't lose much power towards the end. If you still have something left for the final 100, you didn't go hard enough in the first 900.

Here's the speed profile for Hoogland's world record. Speed peaks at the 500m mark, then slowly declines to the finish.


All sprint events go like that: full gas power to get up to speed, then a gradual power decline to the finish line. Full gas power is short lived (5-7 seconds).
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Old 12-01-23, 12:33 PM
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Been doing this all along. My local short rides are all Up and Down small hills of about 150 meters. I am so wasted when I get to the top that I don't pedal down hill.

With that in mind I remind myself that a 10 mile ride is only 5 miles of pedaling... Ha
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Old 12-01-23, 03:58 PM
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For those that don't have a ton of experience on the course, I'm all for 'negative splits' (going faster during the last half than the first)
You will never recover from starting too fast.
When I rode TOSRV, I knew to go slow for the first 50 miles, because the next 50 miles and the 100 miles the next day would be a lot harder.
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Old 12-02-23, 08:11 AM
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Originally Posted by rsbob
I avoid doing intervals like the plague, but evidently not COVID. Appreciate your suggestion, but not that much.
I wonít willingly do intervals on a bike, which is a small part of why I ride single speed: hills and headwinds force the high intensity on you as an existential crisis. Now that Iím mostly running, OTOH, I find that Iím fine with running all kinds of intervals. Iím not exactly sure why, but that is how it is for me. Maybe itís as simple as Iím following a training plan, so I do what it tells me to do.

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Old 12-02-23, 03:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Speedskater
For those that don't have a ton of experience on the course, I'm all for 'negative splits' (going faster during the last half than the first)
You will never recover from starting too fast.
When I rode TOSRV, I knew to go slow for the first 50 miles, because the next 50 miles and the 100 miles the next day would be a lot harder.
For whatever reason, my body seems to respond best with the "negative splits" approach. All of my personal-best times on courses have been with that. I've always figured my body performed best when well warmed-up, worse when it wasn't quite ready for the push. Have had record course best times on both shorter distances and long ... best when I warmed up gradually prior to the race, came ready to go, started at a somewhat slower pace, then hammered the "race" pace on the tail third or half of the course. Funny how that works.
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Old 12-05-23, 09:15 AM
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The "Galloway" marathon training/racing method for runners.
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Old 12-05-23, 04:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Clyde1820
For whatever reason, my body seems to respond best with the "negative splits" approach. All of my personal-best times on courses have been with that. I've always figured my body performed best when well warmed-up, worse when it wasn't quite ready for the push. Have had record course best times on both shorter distances and long ... best when I warmed up gradually prior to the race, came ready to go, started at a somewhat slower pace, then hammered the "race" pace on the tail third or half of the course. Funny how that works.
As I have aged, I have found that your approach of warming prior to pushing it works for me. When I burn matches upfront, such as tackling hills too hard, then I pay for it on longer (50+ miles), when there are even more hills and one big one to get home. A typical ride 30 mile ride is 2000í whereas a 50+ goes 3500í+. Warm up first and then slowly build up the watts for the last half.
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Old 12-29-23, 03:08 AM
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I can relate to this, hammer, let up a bit, hammer some more. Quantifying in zone language though is foreign to me as I don't use any measuring devices in riding. Hammering is hammering though regardless of what it's called, and especially helpful in winter as I have a hard time staying consistently warm, especially with no direct sunlight. In summer it's just more about having fun, I love the heat and humidity !
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Old 01-03-24, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Fredo76
I have read of a similar trick for doing well in the kilometer - go as hard as you can for the first lap, "float" through the second, then all-out for the third.
That never worked for me. Time lost is never recovered. We're talking about seconds in an effort which (for me) was just a short bit over a minute...
A really well structured 'warmup' before your 'ride' was critical. There's that interval between 'warmup' and the actual ride that determined how well I could ride.
Too little and not properly staged warmup would have me locking up badly on the 3rd lap. Too much and the last lap power just wasn;t there.
I was never very good at the Kilo, but did it anyway because it was always a great challenge.
This is the one event where having a 'power meter' to both train and ride, would have been a HUGE help.!
Ride On
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