Wednesday July 21, 2010 – Having had to work all day, I knew I had 90 minutes at best to ride. I had a Hartman Rocks trail group meeting at Hartmans at 6pm and I threw my leg over my road bike at 445pm. Let’s see…intervals, I think, or at least what I call intervals. As I mentioned before, my training all comes from a variety of sources and most of these sources are old, really old. Ned Overend’s Training Tips article? 1990. Dave Smith workouts? 1994. But the foundation of my training still comes from a chapter in Greg LeMond’s Complete Book of Cycling, copyright probably in the late 80’s.

My book is long gone now; I loaned it out to many friends over the years who asked about training. But in this book, Greg had a chapter called Training and Fitness for Cycling. This is where I was introduced to macrocycles, microcycles, intervals, endurance. Essentially, structured training. I vividly remember the

spring and early summer of 1990. I started out well that season with a 2nd in the first NORBA National at Big Bear, CA. I was on my way. Or so I thought. That race was in early May and it was my last good result for a while. At some point in early June, I decided to educate myself somewhat on training. There wasn’t a ton of information about it at that time; in fact, the LeMond chapter was all I could find. That and Ned’s Training Tips in a magazine (I still have it somewhere).

The first thing that I got from LeMond’s book was the idea of giving your body a rest after several weeks of training. So I took four days completely off of the bike. During those days off, I used the book and magazine article to map out a training plan that would take me well into July: 20-40’s. Thanks, Ned; among other things, intervals. Thanks Greg.  LeMond had one day a week for intervals and it usually followed his sprints, which never really caught on with me, and preceded an endurance day. I used that basic structure for years. Now, it’s much more haphazard but most of those essential elements are still present.

If I recall correctly, during an workout, LeMond,  advocated doing your short, harder intervals first, followed by longer ones, where you can’t go quite as hard. People ask how hard to go when they do an interval. My answer has always been to go as hard as you can for that duration. Certainly, you can go harder for a minute than you can for ten minutes, but to me, those are both intervals. I have, for no good reason really, stuck to this way of doing intervals and today’s were no exception.

These were all done on the road bike and all on the flats with the exception of the last one. These are my first intervals of the season so I did just four. That being said, I can’t imagine ever doing more than about 6. Also, I made sure to spin at 100 or more RPM’s. I will do some power work eventually sans PowerTap even though I have one in a box in my shop. I’ve got an old school PowerTap built into my brain, but that’s a different story.

I started off with a max effort of 75 seconds and it was into a medium headwind. The first one always seems to be kind of sucky and really hurts. I got my heart rate to just over 160. Then, and this is a rule of thumb from LeMond that I have always  used, rest at least three times the duration of your last interval before doing your next one.

Today I was crunched for time so it would be exactly three times duration and I would let loose on the next one. Number two, still into the wind, would be 2.5 minutes. This one, while hard, was good quality. Upper 160’s for heart rate. The third saw me turning and now having a tail wind. This was my best of the ride. It was 5 minutes and I also achieved upper 160’s for heart rate. I love doing these with a tail wind; it’s like motorpacing, which I have only done maybe once or twice (so how would I know?)

My last one was to be 7.5 minutes and it would end right out where my meeting was to be, cutting my recovery down to almost nil, unless of course, you consider sitting at a picnic table for an hour and a half to be good recovery. I’d lost some punch for this one but eventually my heart rate got into the lower 160’s. It was all flat but the road begins to climb toward the end and at 7.5 minutes, I was only about half way up the hill. I decided to continue hard to the top so it ended up being a 10 minute effort.

Total duration going hard is interesting  for me to track and for this ride it came out to just under 20 minutes. For reference, an in season back in the day total for me would top out at about 40 minutes, and that always had some pretty long efforts in it, 20+ minutes.

I spun easy back home with a killer tailwind after the meeting. Tomorrow? Don’t know yet but I have to work a good part of the day and we’ve been getting the lightning and thunderstorms in the afternoon so it’s hard to plan anything to solid. We’ll see.


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