Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Nation of Bonkistan

Yesterday was a strange day. I felt sloth-like on the bike at the beginning of my ride. I've sworn off looking at any GPS data until the end of this week, so I can't say if I was slow or not. I felt slow. I also know that perception is a poor indicator...

In contrast to that perception, I ended up being just on the borderline of bonking. Got all the symptoms of impending trip to Bonkistan. I backed off in time to avoid the worst of the symptoms, but there were a few touchy moments when I thought about to make yard biscuits. I recovery spun for about 10-minutes then hit it hard again. After that I felt great. Better than before. I even did some heavy-effort-low-cadence work for kicks.

This ride-bonk-recover-ride cycle got me thinking... Since I rode about as fast as I could at a steady pace for 1-hour before bonking, that should be close to my lactate threshold (LT), perhaps a bit above it. But I haven't seen this type of ride-bonk-recover-ride cycle in my interval training so far. I've been doing intervals where my heart rates look like this:

I've followed Friels' advice of the recovery intervals 2x as long as the work interval. For a 3-minute interval, do 6-minute rest interval. There are lots of places on a typical XC course you will see a 3-minute all out effort. But, where will you ever see 6-minutes of recovery in an XC race? Am I training in a weakness?

I'm thinking I should be doing intervals that look like this:

Smaller micro-intervals imposed on an longer interval of at or near LT. Train it like you'll ride it. Don't condition the system to expect a long recovery period that isn't coming! Instead, learn to limit and recover without getting too far away from the LT. Good idea or bad idea? Hmm....