Here’s a question (that just came to mind whilst trying to stop my lungs from exploding and my stomach contents from appearing…).
[I am thinking about short running intervals here, but I am sure the same question would apply (and an answer would be of interest there too) to the bike, and slightly longer intervals too].
Out the back of my house there is short, steep hill (it hits about 15% max). When I feel like a beasting I will do repeated intervals on it. It is about a minute or so (for me) bottom to top. Slightly less on the first interval, a fair bit longer after a few efforts (!).
At the moment my running fitness is a fair bit lower than it has been, so whilst my overall time up the hill is longer than I might be “capable” of, I’m feeling it earlier on in the effort than I would hope. It’s steep enough to really hiit you even if going at a sub-flat-out pace.
So the question: if I want to get the most training effect and adaptation from such a session (call it 5-10 efforts. I just managed 6), how do I want to attack this hill?
If I go all out from the bottom, I’m slowed to almost walking by the top, though my HR is of course still sky high.
If I hit the start at a more reasonable pace I’m a bit faster at the top, HR is still the same sky high level.
Do I simply want to do it in the fastest time possible? Is pacing relevant here? It’s a reasonably short interval, so it is sort of flat out, but in reality it isn’t quite.
Do I want to try and do the same pace all the way up (and make that pace the highest I can such that I can maintain it?) Is there a benefit from going slower earlier and ramping up, or faster earleir to stress the body more earlier?
There are a couple of excellent comments from @Coach.Neal.H on pacing, but they tend to be more about getting through a section/hill at the best overall pace. I’m talking about training impact, which may or may not be the same thing.
Am I over thinking it?
On a trainer in ERG mode we see the Systm efforts typicaly as a constant power for the whole effort. This is less easy when running, and when you’re sprinting up hill for 60 seconds its hard to gauge that even with a foot pwoer pod.
For example, Revolver has constant power throughout the intervals, and each interval at the same power. The first few are relatively easy (I said relatively, Grunter), by the end you’re blowing on each and every one. Is that optimal? If one COULD change those levels, would it be better for the earlier ones to be higher power, the latter ones at a lower level so that each interval is the same ‘effort’. (I’m thinking of something like W’ here - what you’re capable of changes with fatigue). Without a personalised power model (even more than 4DP) doing such a thing is pretty hard to get right, but of course we often see th eadvice to slip in to level for these intervals and turn it to 11 every time. For, say, a 60sec effort is that appropriate still? I’m choosing my own pace when running up the hill then I have the ability to try and gauge this.
Sorry for the rambling, this was meant to be a 2 line question, it turned in to a thesis.
I’d love to hear from the coaches, but all opinions welcome!