Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Interval Training

A number of years ago we purchased a returned trainer from the basement of REI. When we got it home we noticed that there was a Chris Carmichael DVD included in the box. Well, being the good cyclists that we are after a month or so we pulled the DVD out and watched it while we did a trainer ride.

This was our first introduction to the world of intervals and it wasn’t pretty. Honestly, this was probably the closest I’ve ever come to throwing up while riding but the funny thing is we kept riding to this DVD. Why? Beats me. My dad tells a story of a guy who was hitting himself in the head with a hammer over and over again and when someone approached him to ask why he replied because it feels so good when I quit. I’m thinking we used this same logic for riding to this DVD over and over again.

The thing is once we got used to doing intervals I noticed that I could climb better and ride faster. At that point I realized that the pain and torture of intervals was worth every second.

In my self prescribed training plan I’m planning on incorporating intervals into my rides beginning next month. I have mixed emotions about this. I’m not looking forward to the pain of adapting to them but on the other hand I’m looking forward to riding stronger.

If you’re not familiar with intervals here’s the how my typical interval session works.

20 minutes of warm up riding
5 minutes of the hardest riding I can stand without throwing up
5 minutes of light recovery riding
5 minutes of the hardest riding I can stand without my head exploding
5 minutes of light recovery riding
5 minutes of the hardest riding I can stand without my legs cramping into a giant knot
5 minutes of light recovery riding
5 minutes of the hardest riding I can stand without crying like a little school girl
5 minutes of cool down riding
30 minutes of pass out on the couch and reflection time to wonder what the heck I just did to myself.

Every time I do intervals there is a strange break in the space time continuum that occurs. While I’m doing my 5 minutes of interval torture, time actually slows down to what feels like one hour per 5 minutes. I know this because when I look down at my watch after what feels like 5 minutes only a couple of seconds have expired. Then, when I’m riding my 5 minutes of heavenly light recovery riding, time miraculously speeds up to warp speed of 10 seconds per every 5 minutes. I guess this is one of the benefits of interval training that not everyone gets to experience. This is quite the strange phenomenon.

I did a little research about the scientific benefits of interval training but this post is getting kind of long for my short attention span so I’ll save that for tomorrow.

In the mean time, happy interval training.


DC said...

I can't find my CC book "Ride of your life" so thanks for the refresher! I can't remember where I read it-and I could be wrong- but if you train with watts vs HR/perceived effort, that once your power output drops by more than 10% any suceeding effort is a waste of time, because you've already caused the muscles to fail. any thoughts on that??

Mike J said...

DC - You're probably right but I don't have access to watts so I just use the beat up/HR measuring stick.

DC said...

That beat up/HR stick is my comfort blanket on the road.
As long as I keep below 173BPM I feel pretty confident that I'm not going to have a heart attack!

Keep writing

Jeff said...

I find that I need to do intervals on the trainer or else I get bored. Although, yeah, sometimes they do make me want to puke.

Anonymous said...

I love your work intervals. And i am gonna try out mine too.