In our Manual we see some discourse about the Spinning Eye (Manual 2.18). While in class today, I happened to be coaching off the bike (insert reminder about the importance of coaching off the bike here), and I observed that my participants were not recovering from higher intensity intervals (i.e., 85-92% MHR) within the timeframes I had imagined.
Now whether the participants' recovery times were influenced by inadequate aerobic bases, or whether they had simply not ingested sufficient amounts of complex carbohydrate, not slept enough, been subjected to stress, or some confluence of these and/or other factors; we cannot be fully sure. We are now concerned with an issue of coaching in the moment, or perhaps, if you will, creative coaching. (Isn't there a CED on that subject?) We also have to deal with implications for ongoing periodized coaching before this blog post ends.
My Spinning Eye informed me that in the immediate aftermath of an interval culminating in a sprint, full recovery to 65% MHR had not occurred in the first several minutes. How did I know? I watched breathing behaviors -- still locked into oral exhalations -- and triangulated that with relatively tense postural dynamics (heightened shoulders and locked elbows), and too much force at the pedals for that floor intensity. It was in the fifth minute that I confirmed recoveries to said intensity of 65 percent. Following that, I cued only one more similar interval culminating in a sprint before class moved toward cool-down and stretching .
While I had planned to do at least several more of this type of interval, I called an audible (as it were) and changed the profile, which to some may seem the painfully obvious choice.
However, the whole reason I raise this subject is that I have attended more than a few classes where the instructor will imposes a prescribed set of intervals, despite the participants clearly not having recovered from any of them. We know that the benefit of interval training rests with the concept of attaining recovery of floor intensity.
We have a very real need to be compelling, I realize, and this may even collide with entertainment appeal at points; nevertheless, we do well to balance that with the realities of science.
So, from one instructor to another, I would say that we further do well to use that Spinning Eye to check recovery along with whatever else, and then we make informed decisions as we coach in the moment.
(I would also say, as a matter of further discussion in my class and possibly yours, that perhaps we need to explore the 'whys' of recovery times and potentially alter the training week/month in response to this. What is current balance between low and high intensity training? Should it change??)