While the cat was busy with another day of stretching out on the couch, I had to get in a bike workout before heading to Erie for the weekend.
With the Nation’s Tri coming up in basically a week, I’ve been focusing on doing more speed/race pace specific workouts to get the body (and legs) primed for the race day. Its mostly been a lot of interval and tempo work of which some I’ve been able to get through and some being messy. For today’s bike workout, I decided to try an interval workout developed by Dr. Johnathan Little and Martin Gibala from McMaster’s University Dept of Kinesiology. In a nutshell, the actual workout lasts 27 minutes and is 12 intervals of 60 seconds at 95% of VO2 MAX and then 75 seconds of low intensity. The result of this low volume, high-intensity traning (HIT) are performance gains similar to high volume endurance training at a steady state if done 3 times a week. If you are a physiology geek (and I say that in a good way), you can check out the full abstract that was printed in The Journal of Physiology on January 25, 2010 <<link. Conventional wisdom for endurance training is volume, lots of volume, and more of it when you’ve had enough but with the kind of schedule I have and time constraints, if there’s a way to train smarter and optimize training time, I’m all for it. In fact, I’m currently on a marathon training program that only has me running only three days a week.
I set-up shop in the Torture Chamber with the usual set-up:
- Kestrel Tri Bike with CycleOps Powertap hooked into the Fluid2 Bike Trainer
- Garmin 310XT Monitor to track time and watts
- Motorola Xoom Tablet with My Interval Timer Pro app to keep track of interval time
- TV with Rdio app for tunes (Deadmau5 – For Lack of a Better Name)
- Big Fan
- Water bottle of Nuun
The tricky part before the workout was figuring out what exactly 95% of my VO2MAX really meant. I’ve never done a VO2MAX test formally but have done other tests like Heart Rate Lactate Threshold and an FTP test on the bike. Luckily, I found an FTP wattage chart which translated different FTP watt ranges to intensity levels. I knew I had an FTP of 260 watts from a test I did back in April so that translated to having to hit between 275 – 322 watts to be around VO2MAX. It wasn’t exact but at least I knew the numbers I had to hit on my bike.
The workout itself wasn’t that bad. I felt like it stretched me but not to the point where I felt like I could not finish the workout after any of the intervals. After the first 8, I decided to challenge myself a bit more and bumped my range for the last 4 intervals to be between 320 – 340 watts. The resulting power ranges/heart rate stats can be seen below:
The red line correlates to my heart rate with the green line representing my power (in watts). The black line is my Threshold Power (FTP) @ 260watts. Its cool to see the how the different power levels affect my heart rate and the rise/drops during the high intensity/low intensity portions. Data like this is useful to me to see how consistent I was with my intervals and whether or not I pushed it hard enough or too hard during the intervals. You can see how the last four intervals are higher than the first eight in both Power and corresponding Heart Rate.
I’m going to try to incorporate the Little Interval more into my workouts and see if it does improve my cycling fitness as I gear up for Ironman Poconos on October 2nd. That being said, time to finish packing up and head out to Erie for a weekend of spending time with family and friends and of course, more swim/bike/run training. Have a great Labor Day Weekend!