During late July and August I have been doing 2 kinds of interval sessions on the static bike in the gym. I use the bike in the gym as I have wanted these sessions to be very controlled which I find very difficult to do when cycling off road in the real world.
Tabata – 20 sec on/10 sec rest (4mins)
I do a 15 min warm up easy spin. Then sprint all out as hard as possible for 20 seconds with a 10 second rest before doing it again. I do this for 4 mins and then roughly a 10 min easy spin warm down.
This has been really hard. By the start of the 3rd min I’m really starting to hurt. The sweat is dripping off me, my breathing heavy but not too bad however my legs are burning and the last 5 secs of the efforts feel like forever. By the 4th minute I’m breathing really heavy and starting to feel a bit sick. When you hit the end of that last 20 sec effort your legs are jelly but I’m feeling quite satisfied that I got to the end of it. It’s tough to even warm down properly for the first 1-2 mins as it’s that hard to turn the pedals (even against no resistance) but gradually the strength comes back and an easy 10mins warm down goes by quite quickly. I then finish off with some long stretches.
Threshold Pyramids 2min-4min-6min-8min-6min-4min-2min (2min rest between)
I call these threshold but it’s a guesstimate at best using the equipment I have available to me. A lot is done on feel…
I do a 15 min warm up easy spin. The efforts I do I based upon maintaining a cadence in my case 90-95 rpm as this is my most efficient area (again by feel) and trying to keep my heart rate at about 165-170bpm which is around my threshold… ish. I use the resistance as the variable so as I get fitter and my heart rate doesn’t increase as much for the effort, the resistance goes up. The 170 bpm mark for me is just past where my legs ache but I can still keep going. It’s where I like to sit for hill climbing. The resistance for me represents the gear I would be pushing so I’m trying to push a “bigger gear” (more resistance) over time.
The first 2 efforts at 2mins and 4mins tend to feel like part of the warm up but once I’m in to the 6min and 8min efforts I feel like I’m working. On the way back down it gets harder and harder and even the last 2min effort is a struggle to finish. Although I’m breathing heavily it’s never a real strain to catch my breath but by half way through the legs are burning and maintaining the cadence takes concentration.
Although I have no numbers to prove it I certainly feel like my hill climbing has improved a lot since I have been doing the “threshold” intervals. I can push on the pain barrier for a lot longer now and I just feel more comfortable at a higher heart rate for longer. All in all this means I’m going quicker, which is ultimately the end goal.