How many times have you simply survived an interval workout? You talk to yourself, you turn your iPod up louder, you dream of the bacon cheeseburger you will consume as a reward, and you watch the seconds tick by like cold molasses.
Today's interval session certainly had some fitness benefits but it also included a learning objective. What is your body telling you at different outputs? The goal was to train myself to *know* what power I am producing by observing perceived exertion signals.
My completed homework assignment
Interval #1 - 20' right smack in the middle of Zone 3 (Tempo)
This is my happy place. I felt like I could ride for a long time at this level.
Pedal Force - there is noticeable force on the pedals but not the kind of force that feels like it is doing muscle damage.
Breathing - controlled breathing, could talk if I needed to
Drool Level - 2 out of 10, controllable and socially acceptable
Interval #2 - 20' at the low end of Zone 4 (Threshold)
This level still felt good but a few warning signs crept in.
Pedal Force - just shy of the kind of force that you feel deep in the muscle.
Breathing - still controlled but a bit more labored. Could talk but couldn't carry on a conversation at this level.
Drool Level - 4 out of 10, socially acceptable among fellow cyclists but a little drool certainly hit the top tube.
Interval #3 - 20' Pin it. (Goal of maximizing my 20' average watts)
I knew this would hurt and it did. Specifically, the legs begin to really burn about 10' into it and I have to block out all thoughts other than "keep pedaling".
Pedal Force - um, yeah. This is a deep slow burn but it is different than a sprint finish at the Tues Night Worlds.
Breathing - CTB! (stands for Can't Talk, Breathing) No conversation going on here. I might be able to manage a grunt...but probably not. HR is pretty close to max for the last few minutes of the interval.
Drool Level - 9.5 out of 10, absolutely socially unacceptable and passing cars were probably horrified by the sight me spewing saliva and grunting my way up Teton Pass.
This was a solid workout AND I learned a bunch by paying attention. Thanks Coach.