June 05, 2012

H.I.T.oo Early

H.I.T. - a current buzzword for lighting it up....High Intensity Training is all the rage! It seems that most everyone has a workout or class that is HIT...and given the nature of exercise physiology one must ask why?

What's the nature of physiology? Well, high intensity - anaerobic (despite the misnomer) efforts are produced via fairly straight forward pathways..namely the ATP-PC system (very short term) and Glycolysis (up to several minutes)...these capabilities - capacities, are the result of developing the infrastructure needed to support them whether by volume of 'stuff' that facilitates energy production or the aparatii that allows sufficient recovery, neither of which I have currently.

As I have both terrible fitness and occasionally surprising power on rides during the last month or so, it seemed like a terrible idea to do a HIT workout on Thursday, but I did it anyway as I was riding with a client and it was on his schedule. The workout is called FTP Coastdowns and it consists of riding 2:00 averaging FTP and then letting that rolling average drop 10 watts or so by softpedaling for 10-20 seconds...then sprinting the average back up to FTP before letting it again drop 10W...and repeating for 8-12 minutes total interval time. Rest intervals should be at least 1:1, but we cut it short a little...anyway, here is what the workout looks like in both macro and up-close views:

Close up of a coast down - 2:00 at FTP'ish (in this case 330W - which is really about 110% of my current FTP) followed by a block of efforts between 5 and 15 seconds at between 400 - 880 watts...usually with about 17-20 seconds at ~180 Watts for recovery.

The upside is that I could do 7'ish minutes of it..the downside is that it was a 10-12 minute interval, and I was DONE by the third block! That I could consistently turn out 5-15s efforts at better than 500W is probably more about Type II muscle mass and genetics than training - but I'll be curious to see what I can do when true fitness returns. True fitness requires taking the time to actually build those systems mentioned above...so that is my goal these next months, but I can't say I'll swear off the hard stuff completely. Here is the workout macro view - 34 efforts like the ones above:

Would I improve by doing just these types of efforts - or doing more of them..probably, but my hypothesis is that I'd plateau much earlier than if I take the time to build a more efficient engine and improve my overall endurance and capacity. Guess we'll see. I need to do some more reading to better understand how this all falls together...

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