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Less Is More

Updated: Feb 28, 2023

One of my favourite sayings is "Less is more". That is until more is required. As we are getting close to the end of winter (thank god) and the temps start rising and the days get longer so we ought to think about building specific intensity into the weekly programme.

Assuming you have laid some solid foundations and have a decent base of fitness, otherwise these sessions are going to be a 10 on the RPE scale rather than an 8.

That key session is the very simple over and unders. The basic premise is that you ride above your anaerobic threshold and then below it, alternating between the two intensities. Depending on your discipline, where you are in your current training and to some extent your phenotype I would suggest slightly different approaches. If you are looking to race TT’s then the overs would typically be longer and only marginally above your threshold power with a shorter under. If you are looking to race crits and road races I’d suggest a more intense over but which is shorter in duration than the under.

The main purpose of these sessions are:-

· Building power at your threshold heart rate. If your not seeing HR at threshold then the intensity is too low. Similarly if you cant do at least two blocks of 12 minutes then the intensity is too high.

· Teaching your body to handle and process lactate, by going over your threshold your lactate levels rise quickly and the clearance of this becomes difficult until you get to the under when the body is able to clear it and then shuttle some of this back into your muscles to be used as fuel.

· Introducing some specificity into your training, you could do flat intervals and they do have their place in your training but out on the road no one is riding at a steady wattage as the terrain and elements make that impossible. So teach the muscles how to deal with fluctuations in intensity.

I’ve personally done various permutations of these over the years and they all work to a certain extent, you can do them out on the road however the best place is the indoor trainer so you can modulate the effort easier.

And just to ensure I do as I say, below is todays session. I did this on the rollers just to add another level of difficulty, always find it harder to hit the same power on the rollers due to the lower inertia. So not my best numbers ever but that’s not the point, it’s more about hitting the right physiological responses in order to create the right stimulus.

Todays goal was to suffer and that I did.

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