Do you want to know how to get pretty fast, pretty quick? The answer comes down to interval training. Interval training is basically about raising and dropping your heart rate with the intention to improve the speed in which you recover. In mountain bike racing, your effort levels and corresponding heart rate are generally pretty high and you have little time to rest on the odd descent. The quicker you can drop your heart rate after an effort, the fitter you are and the faster you can potentially be. Your body adapts to interval training relatively quickly allowing you to see improved results sooner. When performing intervals, try to do them somewhere uninterrupted like a field, fire trail loop, on road or on an indoor trainer/stationary bike etc.
Basic Interval Workout
Here is a basic interval workout to get you started:
1o min warm up - light spinning, gradually increasing speed
5-8 sets of 3 min at about 70% effort
2 minutes recovery in between each set
10 min warm down
total 45-60 min
Keep in mind:
- When you start writing your own programs, keep in mind that the shorter the effort, the higher the intensity and vise versa. Longer efforts will help to develop your ability to sustain your lactic threshold while shorter efforts develop speed and power. If you are planning a long term program, do the longer intervals (3-5 min intensity) first and shorter (10-30 sec) intervals later in the season.
- do intervals a maximum of 2 times per week to prevent overloading your body as intervals are very taxing.
- consult a health professional of you have a heart condition or have a history of heart conditions before performing intervals
- The recovery in between efforts is as important as the effort itself so remember to back the intensity right off in the allocated recovery time.
- your recovery consists of gentle spinning and it is important that you don't stop to rest (unless you are feeling ill, feel an injury developing, having a heart attack etc.)
- intervals are meant to be hard work so STOP BLUDGING!
stay tuned for an article on using your heart rate monitor for intervals.