Cycling Fitness Coaching For Interval Training In Endurance Training Programmes
Strength and Endurance Training Programmes can give you high threshold power, good recovery ability, aerobic endurance, muscular endurance, core strength and upper body muscular endurance. All these are quality attributes for elite cycling fitness. Your training programmes need to be varied and balanced, with outside road training, yoga, indoor exercise bike training and plenty of rest.
Here let’s focus on gaining elite cycling fitness from interval training, both on the road and indoors on your exercise bike. In three sessions of 30 minutes, Interval Training can give you as much benefit and improvement as five sessions of 60 minutes of steady tempo or aerobic training. Why is this? Working your muscles during High Intensity Interval Training combines two of the most effective fat-burning methods. First, through working your muscles to a level of fatigue that prompts the highest amounts of oxygen use during a quick burst. Second, at this level of ‘VO2 MAX’, triggering an afterburn effect which can last for up to 48 hours after your workout.
So interval training accelerates your elite fitness goals through boosting your metabolism and building lean muscle tissue, faster than steady state training. Why is this? Normal tempo cardio training just maximizes your aerobic fitness, but very gradually between essential conscious occasional days of rest (we recommend every third day should be a rest day). But High Intensity Interval Training taxes and maximizes BOTH aerobic and anaerobic fitness. Aerobic respiration requires Oxygen to generate energy, while anaerobic training does not. And High Intensity Interval Training affects mucle tissue at a cellular level, actually changing what’s known as the ‘mitochondrial’ activity in the muscles themselves. This is why Intervals can get your muscles in better shape but in less time.
Find a quiet circuit near your home with minimal junctions or exit driveways – because you will be accelerating from 15 to 45 mph (25 to 65 kph), over 300 metre spurts. If there are plenty of hills nearby, you can do sessions of around 50 minutes, with 3 minute efforts on the rises, followed by around 8 minute rest periods. But you can be more intense on the flat. For around 40 minutes on a flate circuit, keep sprinting for trees or road signs that are about 300 metres ahead. Jump out of corners for these landmarks in gear of 53x16 and put maximum pedal power to accelerate until you can gear up to 53x14 and keep the power on. For a racing cyclist this will simulate how you will have to be able to accelerate to close gaps or gain the right position near the end of a bunch sprint.
Soft pedal with no effort between the sprints, for around 400 metres. Then accelerate again and repeat this for 12 to 16 times during your session. At the end, do two close 300 metre power sprints ahead of a ‘Big Finish’, where you will be on maximum power. Then your interval session is complete and you can rest and warm down, by soft pedaling over the next few kilometers home.
Home Interval Training
Use your home exercise bike or turbo trainer for lots of easy suppleness spinning to relax, together with aerobic tempo and interval training. For home interval training, get used to counting your pedal revs and using a build up routine, where you count for 20 revs hard, 20 revs soft, then 30 revs hard, 30 revs soft and so on, building up to 200 revs hard and 200 revs soft. This is maximum intensity and then come down to 160 revs hard, 160 revs soft, then lesser sprints in jumps of 20 revs, until you get to just 20 revs hard and 20 soft. Give yourself our final spurt of 100 revs on full power as ‘The Big Finish’ (visualizing,say. Your sprint victory like Mark Cavendish or Sir Chris Hoy would do it!). Then take 500 revs of warm down and relax.
So on the road or on your home exercise bike, High Intensity Interval Training will improve your Elite Cycling Fitness in double quick time.