One of the great things about endurance sport is the ‘see-saw effect’, or perhaps more aptly the, ‘pain – pleasure phenomenon’. Let me give a few examples. The wetter and colder you get on your long run: the more enjoyable the hot shower afterwards; the hungrier you get on your Sunday ride: the more satisfying the massive feed when you get back; the stronger the desire to stay in and watch telly: the greater the feeling when you complete your session. However, for me, this pain – pleasure phenomenon is never more significant than on a Thursday evening for Thursday is Turbo Pain Day. This hard-core interval sufferfest starts featuring in my mind early and remains as a lingering feeling of unease beneath the surface for the duration of the day. Summoning the mental strength to drag myself from the warm house to my cold shed where my Cavallo del West TT bike waits eagerly atop my Taxc Flow turbo trainer is tough. When I do get out there, the first few pedal strokes feel like I’m on the final few KMs of Le Mont Ventoux I.e. the legs are tired, sore and it hurts! Even a good dose of Calvin Harris’, ‘Let’s Go’ on the headphones only briefly relieves the mental and physical trauma. The key is to get going because after 10 or 15 minutes of the warm up the legs wake up, the sweat starts dripping and endorphins begin to stir. After that it’s all about summoning the mental strength to get that first interval out the way (stato types see below). Once that’s done it’s a question of ticking off each minute as it comes – thinking about the full session ahead of you is a killer. Just stay in the here and now. The final interval is always a teeth grinding affair with a lot of self-deprecating swearing (in my case anyway) and the final 30 seconds takes an eternity as legs scream and the heart feels like it’s going to explode. But after this frenetic crescendo comes the easy warm down during which the agony is immediately replaced by relief and a flood of turbo charged endorphins. The neighbours’ thinks it’s odd, and I can see why, but if I could bottle that feeling and inject them with it, they’d understand. Have I ever regretted making myself get out there? Never!
Turbo interval session: My usual interval turbo session is outlined below. The aim is to get into the ‘red’ as much as possible to push the lactate threshold up. I can only hold this session when on top form. Usually the final 360 watt burst is less than 3 mins and I can’t do 10 reps!!
15 minutes warm up
1 min at 250 watts
1 min at 300 watts
1 min at 330 watts
3 mins at 360 watts
2 mins easy spin
Repeat the above for up to 10 reps.