Background: I bought my first road bike in 2018 and did roughly one 40 mile unstructured outdoor ride per week until maybe 2021. Before this I had done very few aerobic workouts. During 2021 I did two unstructured outdoor rides per week. In 2022 I did three unstructured outdoor rides per week. I bought a Kickr on Black Friday and have been religiously following the TR criterium low volume plan, which during the build phase has two V02 max interval sessions and one threshold session per week. In general I’m always been very good at sprinting but my power curve is extremely sharp and drops off very quickly during an effort of anything greater than 2min or so.
Up until now when I’m just riding around outside my natural cadence is about 85. During threshold-style efforts cadence would be about 90-95, and anything harder than that would be higher – maybe 95-105 on efforts above threshold but not an all-out sprint, and 100-125+ on sprints.
I’m toward the end of the build block in my current plan and am being served up workouts like Mist-1 (V02 PL 7.8), Ansel Adams (V02 PL 7.9), and Avalanche (V02 PL 8.4). Up until now I’d be doing these at a cadence of 90-105 and it would just crush me after about 2.5 minutes or so in interval length (not immediately but after several intervals), however recently I tried something new and did these efforts at a cadence of 82-87 or so. Much to my surprise I was able to crank through it with a much, much lower RPE. The notes for these workouts call for a cadence of ~100 during the interval.
Am I doing myself a disservice to crush through these intervals at a lower cadence? At the higher cadence I felt nearly maxed out, with the lower cadence I feel like to can grind out more power for a much longer period of time. Or is doing a higher wattage for a longer period of time (and not caring about cadence) going to force the adaptation for higher power anyway (perhaps more anaerobic for a longer time vs actually V02?). Does it really matter?