Great article (Indoor training: Do this once a week). I have been doing a very similar type of sprint training. The only difference is that I do 30 seconds all out and 1 minute rest (you recommend more recovery time; is a shorter time worse/harder for you or your body?).
30-second sprints are fun — and a great way to ignore bad commercials.
Your ideal recovery time depends on your goals.
If you allow full recovery (at least a few minutes), your intervals will be faster, more intense and of higher quality
Think about sprinting at 100% possible effort and recovering until you’re at about 50% possible effort. You should be fresh and ready to pin it.
This allows you to go 100% every time, and it helps you develop max power and speed. If you race BMX/4X/DS, you need some of this.
If your rest interval is too short to fully recover, your heart rate rises with each interval until you hit red line. The interval quality suffers — and so do you!
After the first few intervals, your “on” phase might be 85-95%, and your “off” phase might be 80-85%.
This won’t develop hole-shot speed, but it will help you sustain a very high workload with turbo-braaap efforts. Downhill, Super D and cross country riders will get faster and more confident.
Try this: Put a cycle computer on your rear wheel and keep track of your top speeds. This will help you get the quality you want. Power meters are ideal, but they’re crazy-expensive.
Added the next day
I just did the 30 on/60 off workout. Findings:
– I spun pretty easily for 50 minutes watching The Office on NBC.com. (The 30-inch Apple Cinema Display is awesome!)
– At :50 I pinned it for 30 seconds. It felt very good.
– Spun easy for 60 seconds then pinned it again. That felt pretty good.
– By the third sprint I was definitely losing snap, and I had to concentrate harder to maintain top speed. I wasn’t hurting, but I wasn’t fully fresh either.
– By the fifth sprint I’ll guess my “on” was about 85% effort and my “off” was about 70 percent.
Pretty cool. I can see how this would help aggressive XC descending. Sprint out of the turn, pump/coast, repeat. Dude, I am dying to ride some trail!!!