Drop Intervals

Attacking the bunch from 500 metres out in the Laurent Desbiens
Lactate Overload Tolerance courtesy of Drop Intervals

When & Why?
Use this session for the four weeks in a run up to a crit or a big event that's likely to end in a sprint or an uphill finish.

It generates so much lactate, you'll be able to taste it.  But over a four to six week period it will allow you to tolerate and make use of lactate for that end of race party we all love to hate.

On the turbo ONLY!!!  Don't try this out on the road.  For the road you need vision and clarity of thought.  At the end of sixty seconds, you'll have neither.

How hard can it be?  You start in a big gear then knock it down a cog every 10 seconds and stop at the end of a minute!

As the countdown approaches, you need to build up to full lead out speed, then hit the interval with absolute 100% full on sprinting pace in a 53/52x13 for men, 14 for the ladies.

At ten seconds, while still out of the saddle, change down and keep going.  Do the same again after another ten seconds, then again and again and again.  At the end of sixty seconds, you'll be in the 18 or 19;  quite breathless, blurry eyed and somewhat disoriented.  It's fantastic!

Take the recovery time according to the session and repeat the intervals the prescribed number of times for each set.

At the end of the set, take a full five minute small gear spinning recovery, then go again for the prescribed number of intervals.

Keep going until you cannot complete a full sixty seconds.  When you can't STOP.  Doing this session half-heartedly will only bring half-hearted results.  Always go for quality over quantity; always!

In the fourth recovery week, you drop back to Session A.

After the recovery week, strong men can go for the 12 as a starting gear.  I don't recommend the 11 and you really, really, really need to be mindful of your knees when pushing a big gear.  Normal people like us, should not be sprinting in an 11, or even quite possibly a 12.

The Warm Up Warning
All interval sessions, especially this one, require a thorough and proper warm up...

Once thoroughly warmed up and at "race pace" readiness, undertake the following session.

Session Description  A B C
Ten minute warm up    
Ten seconds in  53 x  13 13 13
Ten seconds in  53 x  14 14 14
Ten seconds in  53 x  15 15 15
Ten seconds in  53 x  16 16 16
Ten seconds in  53 x  17 17 17
Ten seconds in  53 x  18 18 18
Recovery Time (minutes) 4 3 2
Repeat this many times 3 4 5
Ten minute cool down      

Session Timings

Warm Up 10  
Interval Effort ~ up to 15  
Interval Recovery 8  
Cool Down 10  
Total Session Time 43 mins max

Session Schematic


  Duration in seconds shown up the side