Spring Training Series: Brian's Take on the Power of Interval Training
Brian’s Take on The Power of Ascend Interval Training
Meet Brian: a diehard skateboarder (pre-college) turned triathlete—who can still land a double-kickflip on a good day. A self-proclaimed endurance engine, Brian enjoys training for long races. He predominantly trains for triathlons and half-Ironmans, but this year he’s set his goal high: training for his first full Ironman (Ironman Louisville) aiming to qualify for the Ironman championships in Hawaii next year. The kicker? This powerhouse athlete trains almost exclusively indoors. We want to know how the Ascend interval training method keeps Brian race-ready and one step ahead of the competition.
Does the Ascend interval training method improve your performance on the course?
Having trained with Ascend for nearly a year and a half, I’ve noticed a few key benefits of interval training. Triathletes usually come into the sport with minimal cycling experience, and get frustrated when they can’t get faster, even though they’re going for long rides every weekend. The problem is they aren’t getting outside of their comfort zone, and if they are (like climbing a mountain), there isn’t enough built-in rest.
Ascend’s structured intervals push me beyond what I think I am capable of, but they are followed by proper rest (high cadence, reduced resistance) to let my legs quickly recover so I can do it again. This type of training is so hard to do on your own because it’s uncomfortable, but it’s what actually makes you stronger and faster, and Ascend’s instructors, music, and ambiance actually make it fun.
How does training at Ascend make you a stronger athlete?
Ascend’s instructors are knowledgeable and holistic, so they keep me focused on all of the details that matter when training such as warming up the body, proper cadence, form on the bike, and cool-down and proper static stretch techniques. All of these things matter in keeping me healthy, flexible, and most importantly injury-free. Having to be sidelined for a race due to an injury is one of the most frustrating experiences, and more importantly it’s completely preventable!
The other key benefit I’ve seen is the core strengthening that’s built into Ascend’s training. A strong core makes you more effective and efficient at practically any endurance sport, but everyone ignores it. I consider the core strengthening I’ve gained from Ascend as a bit of extra “free speed” against my competitors.
What’s your favorite part about training at Ascend?
I would definitely say the community. In order to get the miles needed for long course racing, there’s so much training I end up doing alone. Having the community at Ascend keeping me accountable gives me inspiration to show up and give all I can on the bike. I mean this literally. If I’m away too long, I can usually expect a message from May or M.B. wondering what the hell I’m doing that’s more important.
In general, how does Ascend help you get race-ready?
The winter is usually a time where I don’t have the motivation to train due to the short, cold days. But, Ascend has actually made indoor training something I look forward to every week. I’m coming off a winter season as race-ready on the bike as I’ve ever been! Over the last five months I’ve increased my average power by 10 watts, and since I’ve been riding almost exclusively indoors, Ascend gets the credit for this. So I’d say, above all else, Ascend keeps me race-ready by motivating me to stay at peak fitness all year round.
For more on how Ascend helps Brian meet his training goals, head over to Alexandria Stylebook.
Blogpost written by Ascend content expert, Ashley Hart.