As a general rule interval training sessions can bury you in the pit of miserable suffering and exhaustion within a few minutes of starting them, which is why they’re so damned effective. Seeing as it’s Valentines day though we thought we’d be gentle and caring, and let your bodies chemistry do the work.
During very short bursts of power, your body doesn’t get a chance to use all the usual fat and sugar ‘burning’ with oxygen type power sources. Instead it relies on the conversion of phosphates into muscle power. This is a massively inefficient way to get power compared to steady state muscle operation (it typically uses stored ‘fuel’ at over 30 times the rate of aerobic exercise) and causes rapid accumulation of lactic acid as the muscles are working without enough oxygen. However it does offer very rapid acceleration to peak power.
Developing these rocket fuel reactions and training your nerves to fire muscles into action immediately, is not only useful for competition, but also those technical climb sections where you suddenly need a whole heap of power immediately.
The best bit about these rocket runs is that they’re so short you won’t even have time to start lactic acid build up, and the rests between them will make sure you stay fresh and ready for the rest of Valentines evening.
Fix a stopwatch somewhere on your bike where you can easily see it.
Head out, warming up gently as all this sudden sprinting plays havoc with unready bodies. Find a gently sloping climb free from traffic on the road, or free from slippery patches off road.
Key yourself up to sprint and then let rip as fast as you can for 10 – 15 secs. Lactic acid will typically start to accumulate after 16 – 18 seconds, but if you find your legs screaming before then, keep your sprints short enough to avoid pain.
Keep the stopwatch running and ride gently round (ideal time to practice, wheelies hops or whatever, or find a nice singletrack run down to where you started.
Get back to the start point and as the counter hits 3 minutes sprint as hard as you can again.
Simply repeat this 10 times (until the counter gets to 30mins) and then roll gently home warming down as you go.
NB. as it’s Valentine’s night we suggest you keep your 15 second burst and stop technique for bike work rather than bedwork.