Short vs long anaerobic workouts

Would you say that it’s more optimal to keep anaerobic and sprint specific workouts short (60 min or less) to reap the most benefits? (If total weekly training time is not an issue and there is enough time for longer endurance rides besides the specific anaerobic sessions)

I know that even a 60 min workout and longer sprints (30 sec +) have a lot of aerobic contribution, but I have this feeling that keeping the session short and compact is better. Just add the endurance elsewhere.

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Depends what you do outside the hard efforts, surely? If you do an all-out sprint, you might need quite a while at z1 until you can do another one. So the whole workout will be longer.

If you want to do endurance with it, you could easily do it at the end. Don’t think it would be limited by anything then, other your probably empty glycogen sources.

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Yes I have a 1:5 recovery period between intervals and total of about 8-10 intervals which is about 60 min (something like the workout Wynne) and don’t see the point of extending these types of workouts beyond those 60 minutes. Feels like junk volume for the specific anaerobic goal. Other rides in this training phase are medium/long length zone 2 and recovery rides.

I would guess it depends on your goals. If you are training to be a track sprinter then maybe leave the workout there to max the anaerobic adaptations. But if you are doing any event longer than a couple minutes then everything I’ve read says more volume is more better. So tacking on some extra volume after your workout would probably be better as long as it doesn’t add too much fatigue for later hard sessions.

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Yeah, you’re right. Thanks.
I also sometimes add a few of those intervals at the end of a long ride, to work on being able to sprint at the end of a longer road race. But I guess having a few dedicated anaerobic sessions under 60 min could better those sprints as well.

To echo another poster above, if you have the time it would be good to do a reduced workout at the end of a longer ride.

For example, better to ride 1 hr endurance then execute your 1 hr anaerobic focused sprint workout as opposed to doing the workout first then ride for an hour afterwards.

Your ability to spike watts under fatigue is the relevant metric and should be the goal (if you want to increase real world race-type performance).

In addition, I think weight training is most important if you want to increase raw power. I don’t think you can match gains produced in the weight room to your neuromuscular power by doing ‘on the bike work’, tho both are important

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(basically what this person said ^^^)

Would you ever try a workout that was two sets of anaerobic intervals with say 30 min of Z2 endurance between? I don’t know how much positive effects that 30-min would have, but it might drive some adaptation by doing the second set of intervals in a more fatigued state thne if you just cranked all of them out right away.


If your goal is to increase your anaerobic output then the best way to do it is to complete the intervals at the beginning when fresh and you can push max watts and get maximum recruitment. There are definitely situations when you might want to do them after some fatigue but generally you want to be very fresh for that kind of work.


Bumping this for a bit more info.

I am a high volume rider, I do 20ish hours a week plus running (around 25 hours this week for example). Sometimes there is a workout option that has the same Plan Level, but in a much shorter duration. Obviously volume is NOT my issue, so I really don’t need to add more for any reason. So is there any good reason why I shouldn’t just do the shorter workout?

When I can I like to do my workouts at lunch, but that’s only 30 minutes so that limits my workout options. But I commute 2 hours round trip every day. On the days I can’t swap a shorter workout I just do the workout as a part of my commute if I can, or immediately before my commute so I’m doing Z1/2 for an hour after my workout.

I was thinking of making workouts even longer if they will provide a benefit, but I’m thinking that’s just wasting time.