Wednesday, February 07, 2007

How hard to do an interval

Someone asked me what power settings were prescribed by Dave for my workout.

In the book there are ranges assigned for SMSP, MSP Zone 2, etc that are a % of your MSPO.
But the real key is to do the intervals at the highest power setting at which you can complete the entire workout. See this post for more details.

So it's better not a set # but rather find it by trial/error. Sometimes I over shoot sometimes I undershoot. But it's usually feels easier to start with and then gets harder as the workout proceeds

If you want some #'s to see how you stack up to the rest of the world go to Hunter Allen's site. And read the power profiling article. I often find myself wanting to go through the testing to find out what my #s are. But on the flip side there is something wrong with this dependency on some testing telling me where I stack up. In these days of power trainer you hear plenty of people throwing their #s around. My FT is 4.6W/Kg, etc. Or you need to have at least 5.0W/Kg to get on the podium. yada yada.

The next time I get spit out the back of some pack, I'll yell to them to wait for me because my FT says that I should be dropping them.

#s are meaningless except to yourself to track your progress.

Getting back to my intervals. For example: 2sets of 8reps of 2 on 2off with 4 mins between each set. I did them at 300W on my Taxc Flow which is a meaningless # to anyone but myself. The real world accuracy of the Tacx is questionable. But what is important is that the unit is calibrated every time I ride and I believe in its repeatablility. So from day to day and year to year the numbers can be compared to each other.

The first few were very doable and I could have easily upped the power on them. But wisely I kept the same power setting. It was a real struggle to complete the last ones of the first set. In fact I bogged down on the last one. After the 5 minutes rest I started the 2nd set.

It was tough. Really tough. But I did them all except one where I bogged in the last 20seconds.

In looking at past logs I'm pleased to see that I did 2 x 7 x 2on 2off at 290W and some at 300W last year. My Tacx inputs your body weight when doing the calibration. I'm lighter this year so I'm assuming that the calibration routine factors this in and I can compare the #s from one year/weight to another.

So I'm improving. I did 4mins of additional work this year at the same or higher power.

So back to the original question about what to shoot for as a sport XC racer. The answer is the highest that you can for the entire workout. A better question would be.

How much total work should I be shooting for during a SMSP workout as a Sport XC racer? I'm going to hazard a guess of a goal of working towards(Stair stepping your way to) 25-27mins of total work (SMSP phase).

Typically an expert race (if it's a lap course) has one additional lap. Which might add on 30-45mins of racing. Of that racing maybe 10-15 mins is at SMSP power levels. So a goal for an expert might be to work up to 40-45 minutes.

I dunno, just guessing. That's why I'm not a coach.


At 10:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't mean to make you post an entire blog entry in response ot my question, but I do appreciate your comments. This is my first attempt at doing the block training and I don't have the Morris book because it is out of print. I ended up following a link on somebody else's blog to your blog to read about your training.

I have completed the weight training phase as well as the endurance phase, and I was schedule to begin the intervals today. Not knowing what my MSPO is and being able to work off of some percentage of that, I didn't know where to start today on my first set of intevals in terms of watts to shoot for during the interval. I didn't want to have those spikes, but wanted to maintain a power level throughout each interval.

For day 1, I did 3 sets of 7 x 1 minute on, 1 minute off with 3 minutes rest between sets. Trying to keep in mind to choose a power that I could sustain throughout the workout, I chose 257 watts for starting purposes. Finished the workout in a sweaty pile of whatever and felt worked over alright, but I was able to maintain the watts for each of the 21 intervals of gruel.

I guess I should experiment a little to see if a tad higher resistance to get the watts up would work and allow me to complete the workout. That's why I had asked about how does one choose a place to start in terms of the power for beginning intervals. Sounds like what your saying is that it is trial and error to find out. I will keep a journal to track what I am doing so I can refer back to it next year.

My other question would be if one uses out of the saddle climbing during XC races on some of the climbs, is it okay to work some out of the saddle intervals on an exercise bike (it's sturdy and can take it) into the SMSP block training?

At 6:58 AM, Blogger ashwinearl said...

I definitely stand some during intervas, But it's not the same as when you are on your real bike.

On the trainer it's more of a feeble attempt to use my body weight to overcome the resistance. If I don't keep cadence above a certain threshold that I bog down.

The bike doesn't move underneath you like it does on the road so it's harder to stand on the trainer than on the real road.

But MTB DOC used to say power is power regardless of how you produce it


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