Friday, December 16, 2005

Grueling intervals

You know what I'm talking about - the feeling of utter exhaustion, the legs are heavy, tired and full of lactic acid. The taste of blood is all too prevalent, no matter how much air the lungs seem to draw in, it is just not enough. The heart rate is through the roof and the feeling of dizziness has set in. Most sane people would regard it as madness to do something like this, willingly and knowingly. Not to mention that it's not done once, oh no, it needs to be done over and over and over again. How? Why? These are questions that have been asked, but can anyone really answer them? These sessions are so hard and mentally demanding that it takes two days to prepare, to find motivation and inner strength. To push one's body so close to the edge, over and over again, it takes mental focus. It's all too easy to be "nice" to oneself and not put in the required intensity. Rain, snow, sleet, sun, cold, wet, hot - it doesn't matter, these sessions are what brings us up to the next level. They need to be completed properly and somewhat frequently. It's all about walking up the ladder, one step at a time. There are no limits for the person that wants to succeed, really wants to. But there are consequences for the individual that understands what it takes to make it. Year in and year out he must be willing to follow a rather boring training plan, to the "t". He knows that during the long, hard interval sessions he must be willing to push himself past the threshold of pain, far past it. Not once or twice, but over and over again. There is hardly no excuse for dropping a training session, family vacation during the summer or 10 degrees below zero with blowing snow - neither will do. He must train. If you really want to succeed and you are willing to make the sacrifices along the way - you will make it.


Anonymous Fred said...

That's the spirit!

Blogger mags said...

:) Yes. Truly. :)


Blogger ashwinearl said...

When I first start intervals I'll usually hit a day where I just can't make the power I'm supposed to. Sometimes I try my best, other times I say live to ride another day and rest instead of forcing it.

Blogger mags said...


Good point. By no means do I advocate being a "slave" to your training program. Listening to one's body is very important. If you feel tired, rest! Too many athletes do not rest enough, they feel they HAVE to follow the training plan. "Just 3 more days and then I can rest". This does not work - and when your body is really "run down", 1 day of rest is not enough - it takes 3-4, at least. But, on the other hand, many riders do not train hard enough. They take it to the other extreme. To walk up the ladder ever year, those hard intervals are a must. And they must be completed even when it hurts. It builds the engine.

Blogger servento said...


What kinds of interval sessions do you usually do?

Blogger mags said...


It all depends on where I'm at in the year. During the last half of my base period, I start putting in 2 sessions a week of level 3 intervals (HR around 84-85%). I usually run them for 3-7 minutes. I also do 1-2 session a week of "race-pace" tempo rides, where I'm in the upper level 2 - lower level 3 area (HR around 80-84%), these sessions range from 60-120 minutes or more, uninterrupted. As I enter my build-up phase, I start incorporating level 4 and 5 intervals as well. I believe in longer intervals at slightly lower intensities and lots of "race-pace" sessions. Now, one little thing - keep in mind that I'm doing 30 hours of training per week. The amount and lenght of my sessions should not be incorporated into most people's training program. Do you have Olympiatoppen's book on endurance training? If not, I can email it to you. Lots of good info there, should give you some background knowledge on these topics. Let me know!


Blogger servento said...


Yes, that'd be great. Thanks! My e-mail address is holmemo @

Blogger mags said...

Will do.



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