In recent times the intervals being subscribed to help improve individual time trial performance for cyclists have slowly become shorter. For those who think that going out and pulling huge twenty minute intervals in an effort to improve their time trial performance may need to investigate this further. I have been prescribing shorter intervals for several years now that are above threshold power to time trialist specialists and have seen very good results. Its interesting to note research that supports this training technique. The following research was done in the 1999 to prove just that. Here is what the abstract has to say:
Effects of different interval-training programs on cycling time-trial performance. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 31, No. 5, pp. 736-741, 1999.
Purpose: We have investigated the effect of varying the intensity of interval training on 40-km time-trial performance in 20 male endurance cyclists (peak oxygen uptake 4.8 0.6 Lmin-1, mean SD).
Methods: Cyclists performed a 25-kJ sprint test, an incremental test to determine peak aerobic power (PP) and a simulated 40-km time-trial on a Kingcycle ergometer. They were then randomly assigned to one of five types of interval-training session: 12 30 s at 175% PP, 12 60 s at 100% PP, 12 2 min at 90% PP, 8 4 min at 85% PP, or 4 8 min at 80% PP. Cyclists completed 6 sessions over 3 wk, in addition to their usual aerobic base training. All laboratory tests were then repeated.
Results: Performances in the time trial were highly reliable when controlled for training effects (coefficient of variation = 1.1%). The percent improvement in the time trial was modeled as a polynomial function of the rank order of the intensity of the training intervals, a procedure validated by simulation. The cubic trend was strong and statistically significant (overall correlation = 0.70, P = 0.005) and predicted greatest enhancement for the intervals performed at 85% PP (2.8%, 95%CI = 4.3-1.3%) and at 175% PP (2.4%, 95%CI = 4.0-0.7%). Intervals performed at 100% PP and 80% PP did not produce statistically significant enhancements of performance. Quadratic and linear trends were weak or insubstantial.
Conclusions: Interval training with work bouts close to race-pace enhance 1-h endurance performance; work bouts at much higher intensity also appear to improve performance, possibly by a different mechanism.
Cyclists training for time trial events should investigate the integration of shorter intervals done at above threshold to help improve their time trial performance.