Why Intervals?

Why Intervals?

By TNT Coach Chris Ludwig

 Interval training has long been used by elite athletes to make a difference in peak performance. For field sports, winter athletics, track & field, runners, triathletes, cyclists and a host of others. But why me? I’m only a recreational cyclist!Even for someone like you, who simply wants to finish a century, can be beneficial. Adding intervals even one day a week consistently can make a huge difference.  

Intervals are simply a hard effort pushing the body to its limits, followed by an easy effort so the body can recover, in preparation for the next effort.

Intervals are instrumental in building:

  1. Strength
  2. Speed
  3. Recovery

You may not realize, but on a typical rolling, hilly or group ride you’re unknowingly incorporating intervals. At AMBBR you WILL be doing several sets. The excitement of the start, with endorphins flowing, you’ll hit the first one. It’s about 9 miles to the first climb and unless you’ve settled in, that’s another. So on and so on…..

The preferred method is to incorporate intervals (hard efforts) ranging from 30 seconds up to at least 5 minutes. Usually, the hard effort is followed by a recovery period, either for the same amount or even shorter time. Shorter intervals often assist in building speed, while longer intervals can increase strength/stamina. Both are good for aiding in recovery if done correctly. They can be done on the flats or in the hills.

It’s also beneficial to add to the number of intervals with each passing week. Perhaps starting with a set of three (3), adding one or two more with each week. Within TrainingPeaks plans provided by QT2, intervals are incorporated, with full rest (no intervals) occurring after about 6-8 weeks. The body absolutely needs a break after being abused like this.

In addition, the incorporation of a “Z2 Tempo” near the end of a long ride is essentially an interval. This push at the end of the ride will definitely increase your overall speed, strength and recovery.


Why Intervals?
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