For cycling, riding outdoors is a must. It’s important to work against various terrain (flats, rolling hills (or commonly referred to as rollers), steep hills, mountain ascents and descents…), conditions (wind, heat, humidity, cold, wet conditions…) and variables such as group rides or racing in a peloton, individually facing these conditions or on individual timed trials, optimal gearing for your strengths, riding for extended periods in proper form (core engaged, upper body relaxed (shoulders dropped, comfortable elbow bend), with optimal technique (raised engagement of the hamstrings, hip flexors, glutes, tibialis anterior (shin muscle))…etc. All that said, you will never get better consistent interval training than indoors on a trainer; and furthermore, you will never push yourself as hard individually, as you would in a group dynamic situation such as in an advanced cycling class – training with power and prescribed intervals led by an educated and experienced coach. That’s just the facts of the human psyche. Without incorporating interval training into your training schedule, you’re literally limiting yourself in terms of performance potential. With prescribed intervals and recovery periods (between intervals and sets), you are able to train at higher intensities – especially when amongst your peers and led and over-watched by a coach (as previously mentioned), and therefore, the strengthening of the cardiovascular and muscular systems is elevated to new levels. With adequate recovery* between such intense sessions and overall training workload (volume, intensity, frequency), one will raise their lactate threshold (LT)** or in laymen’s terms, work at the same intensity as before at a lower heart rate and work at higher workloads at a previous heart rate range experienced at lower workloads. For more on this subject, contact me via my website http://www.toddparkertrainingprograms.com/ , on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CoachToddParker?ref=tn_tnmn , https://www.facebook.com/pages/Coach-Parker/122623211181590?fref=ts , or https://www.facebook.com/ToddParkerTrainingPrograms?fref=ts , on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/toddparkertrainingprograms , or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/CoachToddParker
*As endurance athletes training 1-3 sessions per day, 5-7 days per week, we are never “fully recovered”; however, an adequate level of recovery is required in order for strength gains within the systems (cardiovascular, muscular…) to “take hold”.
**Lactate Threshold or LT is the most common intensity to work on improving. With a perceived exertion of 7.5 – 8 out of 10, this workload is often sought to sustain during races lasting ~15-60 minutes; however, depending upon the course terrain and distance, one will often “crisscross” below into Sub-LT and above into VO2max. LT is approximately 80-85% of one’s max HR, and 75-85% of Max Sustainable Power for most individuals. Breathing is more labored at threshold, so conversation is generally limited to a few words – not long sentences, and muscular strain/fatigue is very prevalent. Blood lactate accumulation is at your maximum sustainable levels before increases do not allow fast enough clearance, and the buildup forces you to “back it down” to allow for O2 recovery and metabolic processes to clear byproducts and regenerate new fuel.