This morning whilst doing a fairly solid interval session on the bike I started to think about intervals and the nature of them.

I was thinking about recovery or more specifically how we implement the recovery interval (RI). This thought came about during one of the recovery intervals and not while I was doing the work interval.

Because… to attain the purpose of the session you need to have full in the moment focus. This is training and not entertainment!

As we know, an interval is really just an intervening period of time. When we are talking ‘intervals’ its just repeated periods or blocks of time. Like 6×5 minutes for example.

Most commonly intervals are prescribed at high intensities but I don’t think that always has to be the case.

Intervals can be done at varying efforts from easy, moderate, to mod-hard, hard, fast, all out, to heart rate, specific watts, cadences etc.. While the recovery interval (RI) can also be vastly different in respect to time due to the training effect we’re after, and it is this RI that I really wanted to discuss in this post.

The point of the RI is to get ‘x’ amount of recovery and re-focus before the next portion of work. I commonly see athletes still working too hard in this period and thus negatively effecting the session.

I think the thought process is ‘damn this is too easy and I’m not getting the aerobic benefits, so I must keep the intensity up touch’ which is just utter crap because your training week has a cumulative effect on your aerobic development.

In the RI your job is to recover as much as possible before the next effort, it’s not about still holding a certain pace, it’s not about a certain heart rate its just a very EASY section to allow you recover enough to be able to put a high quality effort and focus into the next period of time.

It’s really not about how many miles you log. Its about the focus or quality that goes into your training and the RI deserves quality too.

Start training smarter and you’ll be a healthier and better performing athlete.