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Fit Recovery on How to Know if You’re Doing Your Cycling Intervals Properly…


February 2015

This post, as it says on the top left of my Home Page, is written in plain English. It assumes you actually know what an interval is and that you are fit enough to do them.

My interval set is done on a trainer, seven reps, 1 minute full blast, hardest gear, greatest resistance, 150-170 rpm cadence (I’m guessing of course, it’s really freaking fast). 2 minutes to recover, repeat. With a 5 minute warmup and 4 minute cool-down, that’s 30 minutes on the nose.  It always starts out sounding like a good idea.  It rarely finishes that way.

So, how do you know if you’re doing your intervals right?

Some form of this conversation will happen in your melon…

Interval 1: This is awesome! I’m gonna be killin’ it when spring rolls around.

Interval 3: I’m rockin’! Keep it kickin’
…Recovery time is close to 1:45
Interval 4: Okay, better than half-way there!

Interval 5: Okay, only this and two more! Is that my heart beating in my neck?!
…Recovery now takes the full two minutes.

Interval six: WHAT THE FUCK was I thinking when I started this?! I’m a fuckin’ idiot!!!
…Why the fuck do they call this two minutes “recovery”? Recovery my fuckin’ ass. Okay five seconds to go and only one more.
Interval seven: Am I fucking dying? Holy shit, I just puked in my mouth! 30 seconds to go… Fuck, did time just stop all of a sudden! What were my mother and father thinking when they had me. 15 seconds to go… Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck…fuck, fuck…FUCK!

And now the cool down…

If you say or think, at any point during the cool down, “Ah, fuck this. I’m done”, but keep going anyway…

Yup, you did them right.


  1. 150-170rpm – wow, just wow

    • bgddyjim says:

      It sucks so bad… Oh my God! Best guess, it works out to around 48-50 mph… According to Sheldon Brown’s gear calculator (but that only goes up to 120 rpm @ 52/11 gear selection)

  2. trikatykid says:

    I will try this, and then I will be back to curse you. I can already tell. And then I will be back in late June/early July to say thank you because I have a hunch this workout in the off-season will translate very well to my 70.3 tri!

  3. what does this do for your physiology, boost VO2Max, stuff like that? You do this all year or just in the off season, when it’s -5 wind chill outside. I HATE riding indoors, does my head in – however if someone can confirm that doing this once every 2 (?) weeks will increase an aging (almost 54) cyclists key kpis then I’m tempted… plus only 30m ? most sessions like this I’ve seen run 60mins..

    • bgddyjim says:

      Reversing the order, give my interval workout a try, if you can do a full hour, you’re one tough dude. 30. Minutes is all I can take! Second, intervals help everything. I do them though the winter and spring (outdoors – usual on inclines). It’s benefits are too numerous to count. Worth every minute. Try it, you’ll like it.

  4. heavyman927 says:

    I’m not at your level but I go through the same thing. In fact, when I start I think, “I’m really getting fit. This is fun!” At the end, like always, I think, “Can I trade my bike for a good set of golf clubs?”

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