Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Indoor Intervals

Someone asked me today what intervals could be done on an indoor trainer or treadmill to alleviate some of the boredom. Of course, what you do in training is more closely tied to your periodization, i.e., time until your first A-priority race of the season, than to your level of boredom. For example, some athletes, I know, are doing the Valley of the Sun bike stage race next month in Phoenix. If that’s an A race for you then higher intensity efforts are appropriate. But if your A race isn’t for a few months then lower intensity efforts are appropriate. Assuming you know what you should be working on in training right now, here are some workouts that may be done indoors – or outdoors for that matter, also. (If unsure of what you should be doing consult my Training Bible books – Chapter 6.)

Before each of the sessions described below warm-up by gradually increasing the intensity. The more intense the intervals, the longer the warm-up. Cool down after each interval session.

The intensity of these intervals is based on the following. Pick the one that suits you best…

• Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) on a 1 (low) to 10 (high) scale
• Heart Rate (HR) using the system found in my Training Bible books and Total Heart Rate Training book.
• Power zones are from Coggan’s system (Training and Racing With a Power Meter)
• Pace zones for running are found in my Triathlete’s Training Bible book

Note that the number of intervals and the duration of the intervals is not carved in stone. These may be changed either way to accommodate an athlete who is highly experienced or a novice. They are a starting point for someone who is moderately fit for this time of year.

Aerobic endurance intervals
Purpose: Improve cardiovascular system
RPE: 4-5
HR Zone: 2
Power Zone: 2
Pace Zone: 2
Workout: 3 x 20 minutes with 5 minute easy recoveries
Comments: Keep cadence comfortably high

Tempo intervals
Purpose: Improve muscular endurance
RPE: 6
HR Zone: 3
Power Zone: 3
Pace Zone: 3
Workout: 3 x 10 minutes with 3 minute easy recoveries
Comments: Cadence slightly lower than normal or 2% uphill on a treadmill

Threshold intervals
Purpose: Improve ability to process and remove acid build up and lift lactate threshold as a percentage of aerobic capacity
RPE: 7
HR Zone: 4-5a
Power Zone: 4
Pace Zone: 4-5a
Workout: 3 x 6 minutes with 2 minute easy recoveries
Comments: Cadence at comfortable level. May be done on a ‘hill.’

Anaerobic endurance intervals
Purpose: Improve aerobic capacity
RPE: 8-9
HR Zone: 5b
Power Zone: 5-6
Pace Zone: 5b
Workout: 5 x3 minutes with 3 minute easy recoveries
Comments: Keep cadence comfortably high, focus on technique

Speed skills intervals
Purpose: Improve economy
RPE: 8-9
HR Zone: not applicable
Power Zone: not applicable
Pace Zone: not applicable
Workout: 6-8 x 20 seconds with 90 seconds of easy spin/walk recoveries between intervals
Comments: Focus is entirely on one single aspect of technique such as run foot strike or pedaling through 12 o’clock position. Movement is fast at high cadence.

Anaerobic capacity intervals
Purpose: Improve power
RPE: 10
HR Zone: not applicable
Power Zone: 7
Pace Zone: 5c
Workout: 3 sets of 3 x 12 revolutions (count right foot 12 times) with 3 minute easy recoveries between intervals and 6 minutes between sets
Comments: These are essentially sprints. Form must be perfect or injury is possible.

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