Wednesday, July 13, 2011

MTB Intervals

Love this workout. Basically I let the land do the time-work. Picked out a 15 mile section of trail, and on different parts, held an all out sprint until the designated area was over. Basically this is a Vo2 workout, done without a watch or a power meter/heartrate monitor.

I'm a big fan of doing this on my mountain bike and not on the road bike because it helps with handling. Nothing gets you to the point of good handling on a mountain bike like sprinting through the woods, dodging trees and trying to stay on two wheels.

Because of the layout of the land, the rest times vary. It feels a lot like a race because there are so many "attacks" coming at somewhat random times. Love, love, love this workout!

Also, it's quick. All told, with a warmup and quick cool down, this took me under 2 hours to complete, staying in line with what I'm trying to do regarding keeping my weekly workouts all about quality and sharpness.

On another note, I'm really bummed right now as I planned on having my new full suspension frame to build tonight. Well, because of the wonderful US Postal service and their policy of not leaving packages at your door, I have to wait until tomorrow morning. I know it's only a few hours, but I'm so psyched about having this bike in my stable I can't wait! I'll post pics when it's built!

Tomorrow will most likely be a mellow ride. I'm trying hard not to overload my system right now. I feel like I'm still walking a fine line between peak fitness and overtraining. Instead of taking time off, I'm instead putting a cap on my riding. For the next few weeks leading into more races, the weekends are for big hours in the saddle, and the week is generally for rest, sharpening, and quality. I don't mind taking days off when I must, but I believe a smart "plan" can keep me on the bike without problems.


  1. Fartleks are king. I used to hate them because they weren't analytic enough, I want rigid numbers! But once I moved up here to altitude and mountains I realized that effort and fatigue were all that mattered... your body will let you know when you've done the work. If you listen to it. The Kenyans do tons of fartlek work. And if you think about it, trying to predetermine when you'll get tired is sort of silly.
    Whenever I order something I put in a note NOT to require a signature on shipping. Nothing worse than seeing that little note saying "We attempted to deliver". And with new bike parts a few hours is agony! Can't wait to see the build pics!

  2. Yeah, I can really see the value in fartleks, especially now. All of my training up until this point in my endurance "career" has been strictly numbers oriented, but without the use of a HR monitor or power meter right now, I'm left to fatigue and effort like you said. I can't imagine what this would feel like at altitude!
    I should have thought about putting a note not to include shipping-talk about being disappointed! I had even put off meeting up with some friends for a drink because I thought I'd be building my new rig last night! I was all set to have a couple beers and build a bike! Perfect night for a bike nerd!:)

  3. Altitude doesn't change perception of effort. A Z4 EFFORT is a Z4 effort no matter where you are... but if you were using HR or power then those data points change. You would see lower wattages and (probably) lower HRs. One problem that athletes often encounter at high altitudes is that they continue to use familiar, lower altitude data points. It's here that PE becomes particularly useful. Also the ability to know ones PE. I see VERY often athletes who are lost with out HR or power and don't have a good sense of their PE. Fartleks and also progression workouts are excellent tools to teach PE.

  4. I imagine the lower HR and Power numbers would be SUPER frustrating if you weren't to accomodate for the change. It's a good thing to remember that effort is effort. From my limited experience I see that way too many people rely on their power meters and hr monitors for their training. Both, I think, are awesome tools if you use your head, but at some point you MUST know what your body is telling you.