I?m not sure what ?race? I would have been fit to participate in, but the ?race tempo? I managed to achieve during my short but painful interval session today wouldn?t have troubled too many people.

Perhaps instead of ?race tempo? Coach Hannah should have used the phrase ?chasing to get back on tempo? in my case.

In any event, riding as hard as possible for three minutes hurts, no matter who you are or how good you are. It?s as if the lungs and the legs are competing for attention. ?Me, me, me? I hurt the most? says Mr Lung, on the verge of collapse. ?No, it?s me, me, me that?s causing you an indescribable agony,? say Mr Legs.

Interval sessions ? when part of a structured plan – work, though, it?s a proven scientific fact and anyone in a white coat and thick-rimmed spectacles will look up from their Bunsen burner and nod in agreement.

It?s just they?re not very pleasant and after a shade over 30 minutes on the bike I felt more tired than I did after yesterday?s two-hour spin in the rain.

I chose a quiet left, left and left again circuit on the outskirts of a village for my interval session and after a warm-up got to work.

During the first interval I ?attacked? hard and tried to maintain the pace as long as I could. I pictured myself as Stephen Roche in Villach, August 1987? if I could just keep going the rainbow jersey would be mine.

It seems grossly unfair that three minutes eyeballs out lasts exactly eight times as long as the two-minute rest period in between.

I?d just about recovered my composure when the stop watch told me attack again. Obey the stop watch. Obey the paper.

This time I wasn?t interested in being Stephen Roche. I just wanted to be at home watching Homes Under the Hammer and seeing some wide boy make 82 million quid from buying and selling tumbledown houses in Folkstone or wherever.

Interval three was horrible. I resolved not to look at the stop watch at all until I was certain at least two minutes had passed.

Glance. Damn. One minute eight seconds.

I couldn?t get comfortable. My power faded unless I concentrated totally on keeping the pace up. In the saddle, out of it. Hands on the hoods, then on the drops. My discomfort caused me to continually switch position.

When it was all over I rolled back home, got showered and changed and set off for Manchester to watch people who do interval training for a living.


10 minutes at base endurance level

3 x 3 minutes at race tempo with 2-minute rest periods in between

10 minutes at base endurance level

Total time: 33 minutes

Distance covered: 14 kilometres (8.69 miles)

Average speed: 25.4 kph (15.8mph)

TOMORROW: A scheduled rest day. Then a base endurance ride on Sunday.

HOW?s your training going? Any amusing incidents to report? Or do you have an irrational hatred about something relating to your riding? Tell us on the Cycling Weekly forum.