I have been training the wrong way for the last 3000 miles. I am the type that just can't stand going slow. Problem is, when it comes to cycling, you have to go slow in order to go fast.
If you go fast from the get go, you never get the most out of your muscles. Then by the end of the season, you are running out of power while those who started slow are just coming into theirs.
Here is how I'm told it works. You go slow for longer distances to slowly bring all of your muscles into play. The capillaries begin to spread and attach to the muscles that have not been used as much and this helps get oxygen to your body. This is important when you start going hard. You'll need that oxygen!
If you just hop on and go hard, the body tries to work with what it has. It tries to feed fewer muscles and those muscles get overworked. Overworked muscles are unhappy muscles. Unhappy muscles equal unhappy cyclists.
So, even though it is a little late to change my ways, I have started a plan to do more interval training rides. This is where you go easy for a set time or distance and then go hard for a set time or distance.
Here are my laps of Cleveland Park:
I was happy to see that on my hard laps (the red ones), I was able to stay under 7 minutes per lap. I also was able to nearly match my last hard lap to my first - only 4 seconds off. That last lap was actually not part of the training. I did a lap with some other cyclists.
The result of this was that I felt like my legs got an even better workout than when I push for an hour. By the way, my average speed was 17.2 mph for 1:26. Even though I felt my legs got a good workout, I recovered much faster. I really think this is going to help.
My plan is to do this most Tuesday or Monday evenings. Thursday evenings are for my climbing training. I'll do intervals there as well, but they will be up Paris Mountain. This Thursday, my plan is to do five "laps" which should give me about 20 miles.
I think I just might be ready for the P3 when it comes around...