Sunday, September 6, 2009

chewing on intervals

a truth about me:
I am quite disciplined, but I only commit to being disciplined about something after I am sure that I can fulfill the requirement necessitated by that discipline.

in other words, I only commit to doing what I'm certain I can do.

and if I bite off too big of a chunk, having misjudged my capacity, I chew that damn thing anyway, because I said I would.

I bring this up because I have committed to a tapering philosophy and plan for this week that centers on intervals.
now I know that intervals are the big thing, how everyone trains, the only way to get better, blah blah blah.
however, I find them difficult to incorporate into most rides I do, and so my attitude is that all rides I do have intervals: they're just not precisely the kind you would want to graph and use as a model. I always work for segments of time above lactate threshold level, and I always have periods of recovery. sounds like interval work to me.

but this year, while scouting the internet for a tapering plan, I came across the following, and decided to adopt it for my final pre-lotoja week:

• Reduce your mileage. Although you want to continue riding, you need to cut mileage
substantially to get a tapering effect. About 7 days before your important event, cut your average mileage by about two thirds. So, if you’ve been averaging 200 miles per week, slice it
to 65-70. (I LIKE THIS PART.)
• Continue interval-type training. (CONTINUE??) But reduce the number of intervals each day. Here’s how the week before your event might look. After warming up for about 15 minutes, follow this procedure:
Day 7 5x3 minutes at slightly above lactate threshold
Day 6 4x3 minutes at slightly above lactate threshold
Day 5 3x3 minutes at slightly above lactate threshold
Day 4 2x3 minutes, fast
Day 3 1x3 minutes, really fast
Day 2 Day off or light pedaling for 30-60 minutes
Day 1 Event
This tapering protocol reduces your overall workload because of the drastic mileage decrease.
You have more time to recover and less strain on your legs.
But the intervals guarantee that you retain the muscle enzymes that help you process lactate.
The fast riding also means that your neuromuscular system will be accustomed to going fast
when you ask it to during the event.
This type of taper works because it combines rest with intensity. It allows recovery but encourages speed.
(from a march 2003 post by fubar5)

so today I did my 5-interval Day 7 drill. I even used a watch. I played the game.
I experimented with doing intervals on a hill, and found it challenging, because the recovery phase is hard to hold steady (going downhill put it too low, while just going slower led me to a point where the bike wanted to fall over and my heartrate was still too high). luckily I had flatlands aplenty, and could hit my other intervals more easily.

tomorrow will be Day 6. I'm not sure yet where I will ride, but I know I'll perform my interval work as required.
because I bit, and now I'm chewing.
and looking forward to Day 2, and then the completion of Day 1, and then . . .
Day 0, on which I'm sure the intervals are all about eating, drinking, and sleeping.

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