Intervals in November

Anyone else getting abuse for doing intervals in November?!


If you are talking about people giving you a hard time, just let them complain. They are just feeling insecure.

They’ll be asking you for tips when January rolls around.

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Just seems like a lot of people I ride with are against focused training so early in off season. Not saying that it’s not beneficial!

Ignore those people as a lot of it can depend on when your goals are. It’s probably the same bunch of people that are riding through the winter like it was 50 years ago on old school death trap road bikes and not eating because that’s cheating.

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Mixture of them, people who leave the intensity much later and focus on long slow miles. There’s obviously more ways than one to skin a cat.

An interesting blog post - A Breakdown of Tony Ryan's "Cycle Racing Coaching Notes" - Premier Endurance

The person who trained Sean Kelly and others back in the day!

They won’t be able to give you any more abuse after you drop them.


+1 to this

Dropping is the best revenge.


I kind of got this today. Good friend of mine, also been my trainer/coach for a long time, who’s opinion I value very much mentioned I should drop all intervals until like February. Reasoning being that yes I will build fitness but without a proper base for that fitness, meaning it’d be unsustainable. I was surprised by how much that hit me in the face, suddenly I’m reconsidering all of my training and stuff. If I continue as I am I basically have ‘everything to lose’ because if I’m not in the slightest bit successful next season it could be a case of ‘told ya’.

So, at TrainerRoad, Sweet Spot Base is indeed called base but how grounded is that base part of it?

Has your friend put together a training plan for you that knows when your target events are? If no, he can’t speak with good authority as to what you should or shouldn’t be doing right now.

If you’ve mapped out your training plan to your events using TrainerRoad and you follow the plan, you have put yourself in a position to be successful. I’d stick with it, imo.

He hasn’t, but we mostly attend the same races, peaking for Nationals. Of course, it would be amazing to prove him wrong and have my best season yet using TrainerRoad, but at the same time, training with doubt in your mind isn’t the best thing.

But disregarding that, I’m now mostly wondering about the actual base, say building the base of a pyramid, and how sustainable fitness gained via say SSB and Short Power Build, compared to doing no intensity for way longer and therefore longer rides, supposedly building a way wider base.

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I can attest to this being true, at least anecdotally/n=1. Last season I had 3 months before my A Race, with a good 15 years of zero training in my legs, I had to take severe action. I did only VO2 and Threshold interval workouts. I got great fitness but after the race when I stopped the interval training my fitness fell substantially.

If FTP is a measure of your general fitness and VO2 work help to pull your fitness up, I don’t see any harm in adding one high zone interval workout per week. That said, one interval session per week probably won’t contribute that much during a base phase.

The answer, as always, is “it depends”.

Thinking of things in a pyramid is just a simplification of the energy systems to help people understand the concepts, rather than a prescription for how to do things.

I would ask yourself some questions:

  • What does my event profile look like?
  • What energy systems do I struggle with?
  • What energy systems do I have a talent for?
  • What type of stimulus do I respond the best to?

When people say “wide base”, it could be a bunch of different things. Is it endurance power? Is it muscular endurance?

If you need to raise your endurance power up so you can comfortably spin in a pack until late stage attacks, then long 3-6 hour low zone rides might be the right way to go (i.e. Traditional Base plans). If you are a crit racer or XC racer, you are probably going to benefit more from a lot of Sweetspot and muscular endurance work.

The definition of “wide base” is completely related to what type of building you are constructing :wink:

Get used to it. For all us OCD perfectionist cyclists who are trying to eke out the most from our training, we will always be worried about wasting time/energy, making the wrong decision, etc.

I had very little idea of what I was doing last season and yeah there were gapping holes in that training plan, but I went with it. So maybe the best thing you can do is commit to your plan and go all in but be aware and observant of your progress in case you do need to alter course a bit.

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I recently asked around as to whether there has ever been a training philosophy such as this (“energy system progression” — train ONLY Z2, then train ONLY Z3, etc.), so far the answers are “no”.

Not really, partially because its mathematically impossible (or I guess to be precise, impractical). There aren’t hard boundaries between zones and it would be a pretty demotivating way to train.

You usually focus on progression of an energy system, but that is within the context of a training block where there is other work mixed in.

This is my thought as well, racing XCO, SSB and stuff fit really well! I guess the other school of thought is so ingrained, and many people have reached lots of success with it that it becomes ‘the way to go’. I just decided I’m sticking with what I’m doing as I understand the sustainability of the fitness I’m building shouldn’t be an issue.

Ya they’re my thoughts too @sbrands, last two years I’ve done SSB and been flying by Jan Feb. Road racing at Cat 2 / Cat 1 it’s tough because the talent can vary so much it doesn’t matter what some guys do they’ll just beat me anyway.

Glad someone out there feeling same way :blush:

It also depends on how much time you have to train, if you only have a few hours a week, then knocking around doing base miles isn’t going to help.

This is purely based on my single year of structured training.

I started SSB1 in late November last year. By the beginning of January I was flying and February saw me scoring points in every single race I entered. Foolishly I thought ‘well that’s it then, I’m flying, job done’. Stopped TR in April and slowly bottomed out until June/July.

This year I’m going to mix the intensity up a little more but IMO, intervals are my friends and I’m going to soak them up.

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