Question: I’m training for the World Senior Games 40-km time trial in October. My two critical weekly workouts are intervals descending from 7 minutes down to 1 minute, each done harder than the previous one. I also do a pyramid workout featuring 4×2 minutes at 90% of max heart rate, 12×1 minute at 92%, and 12×30-second sprints. In mid July, I’ll begin doing 3-minute all-out repeats up a 5-percent hill one day each week, and 15-to-20-minute repeats at 90% of max heart rate on my TT bike on another day. What do you think? — Jon B.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: I think if I help you and I ride that event this year, you’ll beat me! But since it isn’t on my schedule right now, I’ll share some thoughts.
I think you’re on the right track, Jon, with one important qualification. You must be very careful to monitor yourself for signs of overtraining. You’ve outlined an ambitious, intense program. In particular, the 3-minute all-out climbs are VO2 max training, which is notorious for producing burnout in short order.
Another useful workout would be a training time trial or hill-climbTT once every couple of weeks, if they’re available in your area. There’s nothing like competition to produce an optimum workout, even if you can push yourself hard in training.
Competition gets the adrenaline flowing, and for some reason adrenaline has a protective effect, allowing you to go very hard without as much risk of overtraining.
In contrast, when you do solo intervals, some days you have to force yourself to go hard. It’s my theory that this taxes your system to a more dangerous degree.