Friday, February 01, 2008

The difference between 1 minute and 2 minutes

I was discussing the SMSP intervals with a friend who's drinking the same kool-aid. We both experienced a similar phenomena with our 1 and 2 minute intervals. For both of us we can put out some good power for the 1 minute intervals, however we have to drop our power levels considerably to complete the whole workout for the 2 minute intervals.

My initial guess for selecting power for the 2min intervals is always too high. Say for example I do my 1 min interval at 330W on the Tacx ergo. I tried to do the 2 min intervals at 320. I'd make it fine till about 1:20 into it then the legs would just fail. My friends experience showed an even greater difference in power between the 1min and 2 min intervals.

It could just be cummulative fatigue from doing consectuive workouts, but I'm more inclined to believe that there is some level of systemic change that occurs in the transition from 1 min to 2 minutes.

There is another theory I've got which is that I ramp my cadence up pretty good before hitting the button to engage the dedicated power output. It's sort of cheating a little, I guess. But I've got a good head of steam going and with the 1min intervals might have enough momentum behind me to ride it through, but after the cadence starts to slow a little I can't maintain it.

When going to 3 min, 4 min, 5 min intervals, the difference in the power at which I can complete the workout isn't as drastic as when going from 1 to 2. And when the tranistion moves from SMSP to more sustainable power there is an even smaller difference.


At 11:13 AM, Anonymous tumbler said...


I think the threshold where you start to need to work aerobically happens between 60 and 90 seconds. You can survive for a minute totally anaerobic.

At 11:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yea, I feel that is about right. Look at any track or other record progression over various distances and you will see a sharp drop off and then a levelling out as the race gets longer. I think your goal of holding only 10 watts less for double the time at those intensities is a little bit of wishful thinking. You need to remember that the fall off is not linear but curvealinear at that duration.

I suggest obviously starting at a lower level and then if to ez can go harder from there, this would give you a target for the next bout.

Hope that helps, just some thoughts from a college swim coach who also does some cycling :-)


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