In many of my “The Power of 3” posts I have written about the importance of “anchoring” time and effort. In it's most basic terms this means that the shorter the interval the higher the effort. If you instruct on bikes with power, then a higher effort should also translate to a higher wattage. This “anchoring” concept holds true as long as riders are given appropriate rest or recovery after each interval or hard effort. If riders are not given enough recovery between intervals their effort may still be high but their output or wattage will start to drop as fatigue increases. The ability to see this phenomenon is one of the most “powerful” features of a bike with a wattage meter.
The theme for my Above Threshold classes this month is to show my participants the importance of recovery. Over the last few months I've been using a lot of interval sets where I decrease the interval time from interval to interval and I expect to see a higher average wattage for each interval. For example I may have my participants perform intervals of 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1 minutes, each interval is followed by a 2 minute recovery, with the goal of increasing average wattage for each interval. This month I'll have my riders perform the same intervals, but I plan on reducing the recovery time to as low as 30 seconds between each interval. At the beginning of the month I expect to see wattage drop from interval to interval, as the body fatigues from lack of recovery. In the middle of the month I expect the see wattage held steady from interval to interval and by the end of the month, as the body adapts, I hope to see wattage again increase as the interval time decreases.
The body is truly an amazing organisms and it adapts to the stresses it faces, be patient and enjoy the process.