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FAQ ~ Puncheur Effort Levels


The bizarre reality of a single Puncheur Interval

With such a diverse range, where should I pitch the effort levels for the Puncheur Sessions, and, if doing it indoors, what resistance should I set my turbo at?
Sonia Insley ~ UK

Our Puncheur Session is a reversal of the Criterium Intervals.  Neither of which would be your session of choice if left to your own devices; but it's my job to take you to places you'd rather not be! 

If you can complete either of these sessions without tasting a little sick in your mouth, then you haven't gone hard enough!

Looking at it below. it looks easy; a declining duration with a static 60 second recovery...

pucheur interval

But as you'll see from the traces in the top chart, the reality is somewhat different.  As the time duration decreases, the power output (suffering) increases, and the heart rate maximums actually drop.  So there is no way you can pace it on heart rate.

And there is no way you can pace it on power.  No two people will have the same power split across these time periods, so don't try to work out a power level for each effort; it will be what it will be.

You just ride each effort as best you can, with the standard proviso that you have to make it to the end of the session to undertake your full gas, ten second sprint.  You will mess it up the first time you do it!

If you're doing it on a turbo, the best resistance setting would be a "neutral" flat road setting, or a slight resistance if you need something to push against.  If doing it on the road, a flat one is best, and if you have a tail wind, so much the better.  After all, this is a Speed Development session; it's all about the speed.

gearsOne option to consider as a starting point, no matter where you do it, is to use your gearing to help guide you for the effort levels.

Try the first effort in the 17, the second in the 16, third in the 15, etc

This way, you'll be in the 12 ready for the final, leg bending, sprint; without having to think about it too much.

During the sixty second recovery phase, try to hold it in the gear you have and just back off the cadence slightly.

Keep the momentum and energy in the bike flowing, but let the heart rate come down and the lactate dissipate.  It won't be easy, but we're not here to do easy.

If you're on the road, be careful, keep your head up.  If you're on the turbo, you can close your eyes and hang on for the last ten seconds!

At the end of the session you will have a power distribution chart very similar to this one; lots of Level 7...

All I can promise you, is that no two sessions will ever be the same!

level 7

And if you've done it correctly, apart from feeling a warm glow of self satisfaction, you'll probably end up looking a little like this...

paul le bihan

Have fun, give it all you've got, and in a couple of weeks you could end up looking like this...

richard palmer

Richard Palmer taking the win!
Quennevais Track 2015
Next week, we'll be practicing "our finishing throw"

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