Interval training is often mentioned as the key to successful cycling training. Therefore, interval training is a cornerstone in all my training programs, and I believe it is the most time-effective way to achieve great results.
Here is a list of 10 tips that can rapidly improve your interval training:
1.High priority to your interval training
First of all, you must decide to do interval training. If you give high priority to your interval training, it’s also much more likely to become a success.
Try to perform your intervals as the most critical part of your ride.
Prioritizing interval training means that it is more critical for you to perform your intervals than, e.g., getting your planned distance, joining a social group ride, or even participating in a race.
2.Schedule your intervals
When you have decided to perform your interval training, it is good to make a crystal clear plan for your interval training.
You (and your training partners) must know what will happen when the interval training begins.
Intensity, distance, and recovery should be well defined to understand. There should be no need to ask questions during the interval session.
3.Have a goal
When you perform interval training, you will often try to pace yourself through high-intensity efforts that require a high amount of mental power.
If you have a goal with your interval training (for example, a time trial), it is much easier to go through the challenging parts of your workout.
4.Warm-up before interval training
Warming up before interval training should be a no-brainer. Metabolic processes are temperature-dependent; thus, many enzymes perform better at higher temperatures. In addition, oxygen transport from blood to tissue is more rapid.
Warming up increases your performance and makes it possible to train at higher oxygen consumption.
5.Use a heart rate monitor or power meter for pacing
Pacing is a discipline in itself, but heart rate monitors and power meters have made it easier than ever before to pace yourself through an interval session. There is a steep learning curve and many positive experiences with both kinds of monitoring.
6.Active recovery between intervals
It is tempting to stop pedalling after a hard interval, but it makes good sense to keep pedalling at low intensity because it helps your recovery.
Road cyclists can also use the recovery periods to maintain your oxygen consumption at a relatively high level and thus make it easier for you to reach high aerobic levels in the next interval.
The bottom line is you will get more time at a higher percentage of your VO2 max, and that will give more stimuli for both peripheral and central adaptations.
7.Cool down after interval training
When you have finished your interval session, it is recommended to perform a short cool down. If you are serious about your cycling training, this is the time when you should start your post-training recovery process.
Eat proteins and carbohydrates, drink water, and ride easily to boost recovery.
Train alone, train with other riders, try different routes, try different bikes, and naturally try a broad range of intervals sessions. The best way to get experience is to experiment with different strategies, and that is also a great way to keep your motivation high.
When you have performed your interval session, you must never forget to evaluate how it worked out for you. Are there any things you would like to adjust before your next interval session?
10.Share your best interval training tip!
Please remember: I don’t have all the answers to excellent interval training. If you have some good suggestions, please don’t hesitate to share these tips with the readers on Training4cyclists.com. Your comments are highly appreciated!