As we learn about optimized intervals and how to train with them, it’s helpful to have some input, so we have put together a specific simple example using the images below. We will use FRC ranges in our example and thought process.
On the athlete details chart in WKO4 in the first image below, we can see listed the FRC power 379-504 watts and the duration of 1:50-0:45 minutes. Please note that this range is reflective; in the FRC range, as the time goes longer, the power goes down in our ability to sustain said power, and vice versa. This means that the manipulation of the FRC training is mainly a function of time or power. We can talk about total work, rest interval, or number of intervals, but these mainly take care of themselves within the interval session and reflective of power prescribed or time prescribed in the FRC range.
When working on the intensive side of the power/time, if there is a need, known deficit, or maintenance of training, this is described in the athlete details page above or the optimized interval chart below. In this specific example, the intensive FRC range is 445 watts/49 seconds (last 30 days) on the chart, and 504 watts/45 seconds on the athlete details page.
The optimized intervals chart for the last 30 days in the intensive FRC would indicate intervals of ~50 seconds at 445 watts +-15 watts. The desire is maximum power, since this is the intensive side of the equation. This means there are a few if/then statements to consider; time is first priority to stay in FRC intensive range. If you can’t do the 445 watts of power for the given time, you need to increase recovery between intervals. If you can do the power higher than 445 watts for the given time, this should be only a few watts (+-10) and only for few intervals (this normally takes care of itself, and you won’t want or be physically able to do it). The progression means you may start at 440 watts and do more intervals or you may start at 4 intervals of 445 watts and progress to more intervals (say, 10), at which point you would then go back to higher power for the given timeframe or more time for the given power of 445 watts. Remember that as you start to increase time, you are now moving toward the extensive side of the FRC rather than the intensive side, so it’s best to always maintain power and thus increase recovery or do fewer intervals to get this power for the given time.
If you’re working the extensive side (1:22 and 380 watts from the last 30 days), then again you are trying to accomplish the maximum amount of time at 380 watts (+-10). In this case you can skew to 1:30 time at your error factor if you can produce more power for a longer period of time before you go up in power or interval numbers. If you can produce 8 intervals for 1:30 at 380 watts, you would then progress to 1:20 at 400 watts for 4-5 intervals and again increase the number of intervals. You can also increase rest between intervals, but if this gets to be long, then you might move back to the intensive side and go with full and complete recovery between intervals.
To summarize and show visually in the third image below, when working on intensive FRC (the red line), you need to stay within the time area and complete that power with full recovery. Knowing that max power for that timeframe is desired, err on the side of more power for a touch shorter time for the total number of intervals. Progressively build to more intervals. When working the extensive FRC (the orange line), again stay within that time frame for the given power and work on extending that time for which you can produce the power rather than raising the power itself. So it would be best to do another interval at the orange line for a touch longer time than more power for the same time as you are progressing through training.
For more information on optimized intervals, click here to watch a webinar on the topic.