Interval Training

I have been meaning to blog about my indoor biking for a while now. But to do that, I needed to make a sustained effort, a good schedule and of course bike a lot. Today I think it is a good day. Why? Hopefully this blog will answer that question.

The training I do is called interval training, as the name implies, one trains in a sequence of training exercises sand-witched between recovery periods. In simple words, you train for a minute and rest for half a minute or so. I will give you and idea of how this works but will spare the details and ideas to the specialists.

The biggest problem I had as winter arrived in Laramie is that it gets very cold here, sometimes sustained sub-zero temperatures. It is not uncommon that my nose freezes and ice forms over eye-lashes! So, biking outdoor is almost impossible even if there is not much snow on the road. 

In a conversation at the Durga pooja, one of my friends and a fellow biking enthusiast Mr. LP mentioned to me that he trains indoor on his trainer and I could come to his place and try it out. So, the following weekend I found myself at his doorstep with my bike. He rode on his trainer, in front of a big projection tv showing(telling) me what gear to choose, what cadence and for how long. I was hooked.

Before I left his home, he lent me his old air-drag trainer. That week, I don't think I completed the 45 minutes training video. But since, I have gained in speed, endurance and comfort on the saddle.

I don't have many of the fancy gadgets that many bikers have; not that I wouldn't want them but at this moment in my life I cannot afford them. Anyway, the only gadget I have on the bike is a 10$ bike computer that gives me current, average and max speed, time of this and total run, total miles.

To make sure I am improving, I am following a simple rule. In each training session, my idle speed should be more than the average speed and that my average should increase by .1mph. I have come to think, that this will increase my endurance and peak performance at the same time. I think of this as a simultaneous maximization of my min-speed and peak speed. You can do the math, but in simple terms if my average speed is 13mph before I start at the end 5 hours (I have done 65miles), to increase that to 13.1mph at the end of 6th hour, I need my average speed in the 6th hour to be 13.6mph. (i.e. I need to do 78.6 miles in 6 hours). Similarly, if I am at 14mph at the end of 20th hour (280miles), I need my average speed in 21st hour to be 16.1mph ( so that I would have done 296.1miles at the end of 21 hours). [Now, that is perhaps unrealistic! To idle at 14mph is exhausting at the least and to top it up with high intensity training at 20+mph is insane!]

But what I have achieved in quite good. I crossed 100miles today (since my last reset of the bike-computer) in just over 7.6 hours at an average of 13.1mph. My top speed in this period was 25.5mph for 5seconds (how long matters!!). But I have sustained 23mph for 15seconds (the length of low gear, high cadence training) and I am happy about it. All in all, it is working out very good for me. I try to do twice a week, on most weeks it has been possible to do that. Now, I think I am ready to graduate to the next level of the training. Let's see what is in store (or with Mr. LP)!!!

To my secret Santa: New Canari bike-shorts and jersey are really good! :) Next up in the wish list is a nice pair of shoes! 


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