From the flamme
rouge to the finish line
Suffering is compulsory, complaining is optional, winning is nice
When & Why?
The SWEATS Intervals, Specifically Work Endurance And Threshold Systems' development; many results for one training hit.
All good training sessions are meant to be specific to the activity you are undertaking or the objective you are targeting. Well this one session covers just about everything.
I've developed it over the last few years and used in the right place, at the right time, with the right intensity, it brings about suffering and results in equal measure.
The SWEATS will help you develop speed endurance and find a race finishing top-end, that you thought were beyond your limits. It's for what we call, the final kilometre "dash for the cash"; the bit from the flamme rouge to the finish line!
It doesn't matter what you've felt like in the hours leading up to that moment, it's the rider that's the fastest and strongest in the run in to the line that always has a good day. It works for road racing, sportives or time trials. If you ride a bike, these will help.
Use them sparingly, once a week for three weeks in the run up to the start of the season or for a mid-season, pre-target top-up.
The turbo is best for this session as it gives a more measured response over the duration of the interval. It's also much easier to track progress by using speed or power to measure specific performance improvement through removing environmental variables; wind, hills, traffic etc.
Of course it can be done on the road but you don't get the same "repeatability" and you have to keep your head up and eyes open!
Get the bike in the big ring and depending on your current level of fitness, choose your gear to suit. Once you've chosen the gear, that's it for that specific section of the interval, don't go jumping around the block. However, you can use different gears for the different interval durations.
Keep your cadence at or above race pace and bang out the following intervals;
▼ 20 minutes @ 95% FTP pace~ 5 min off
▼ 5 minutes @ 95% VO2max pace ~ 3 min off
▼ 4 minutes @ 96% 4 min pace ~3 min off
▼ 3 minutes @ 97% 3 min pace ~ 3 min off
▼ 2 minutes @ 98% 2 min pace ~ 3 min off
▼ 1 minute @ 99% 1 min pace ~ Cool Down
You start the interval by getting up to the appropriate level of sustainable intensity within 30 seconds, then hold it for the duration.
You will soon know if you've got the wrong intensity! If you haven't got a power meter, or don't want to be hindered by a prescriptive interval, the objective is to "just" get to the end of the allotted interval without blowing.
The percentage intensities indicated above are more for dramatic effect than an actual prescribed power or pace setting. You get the idea just by looking at the structure. These sessions really are full-on. Believe me, you need a big fan and a towel, you will sweat!
Recover at "smelling the flowers" pace and get ready for the next attack on the senses.
Here is a power distribution file showing how this session targets your training right where it's needed. As long as you're targeting your overall race performance that is. If you're not, you should be!
Unfortunately the SWEATS break my Slacker's Charter, which is all turbo sessions should be less than an hour; but sometimes you've just got to "man up". As our American cousins would say...
The Warm Up & Usage Warning
All interval sessions require a thorough and proper warm up...
Having said that, for this session I use a five minute warm up to simulate race pace from the start. You don't get a warm up when doing European Sportives. Remember about training being specific to your sporting activity?
If you're trying them for the first time, use a ten minute warm up and cool down. Then adjust as you see fit,
To be honest, it's almost
impossible to include these intervals in to a normal weekend road ride!
If you feel brave enough feel free to have a go and email me to let me
know how you got on...
The Self Coach Manual...
Contains over 60 pages of drills, sessions, information and everything you need to get you race ready and higher up the finishing order than you now are. For the price of a training tub you can transform your season, winter or just bike riding pleasure, by taking your fitness to new levels.
The pages here, contain quite a few of our world famous drills, but only a "vanilla" version of them. Your own, personalised Self Coach Manual contains much more than all the drills, all their variants. All you have to do is decide which ones you want to use, and in what order. It's that simple.