Outside magazine, March 1995
Six-time ironman champion Dave Scott knows the value of active rest. He also knows the value of intense training. To help his athletes mix the two, he lays out a ten-day regimen instead of the standard weeklong plan. "On a ten-day cycle you can get in three hard anaerobic threshold sessions," he explains, "and still rest adequately in between."
Scott designed this ten-day regimen for a reasonably fit recreational cyclist. You need a heart-rate monitor and a measure of your anaerobic threshold to follow it precisely. To figure your AT, get in a good warm-up, strap on the heart-rate monitor, and ride a 30-minute time trial. Push as hard as you can for the last 15 minutes. Then take your average heart rate over that 15-minute period and subtract five beats per minute. That's your anaerobic threshold, the upper limit of your aerobic effort.
Our hypothetical cyclist has an AT of 160; you can use her to gauge your own effort.
Warm up with 12 to 20 minutes of easy riding, and find a hill with roughly a 4 percent grade. Then start your 30-minute climb. Vary gearing and effort, alternating hard intervals, ranging from two to 12 minutes, with 30-second recovery periods of spinning in a low gear. Our hypothetical rider's heart rate will vary from 148 to 163 beats per minute. You get the point: "This should hurt," says Scott. When your half-hour ascent is over, descend easy and take an eight- to 15-minute cool-down.
Day Two: Active Rest
Day Four: Active or Complete Rest
Like the hill workout, the intervals are two to 12 minutes long, but you don't get to rest between them this time -- rest, such as it is, comes when you let your heart rate drop slightly (to 140 for our rider) during some of the intervals. But Scott also wants you to push up above your AT on some of the efforts. Including warm-up and cool-down, this workout shouldn't last more than an hour.
Day Six: Active Rest
Day Seven: Active Rest
Day Nine: Complete Rest