Interval Training

August 3, 2017

If you signed up for Fitz’s Challenge 2017 before August 1, you probably have your training plans well underway – congratulations. You’ll be hill-ready by October 29.

The official Fitz’s training program was sent to everyone who signed up during the early bird period. We’ve had a couple of questions from enthusiastic participants regarding interval training, and which hills around Canberra are the bestto get ready for the big day.

Dr Michael Hanslip, who devised the official Fitz’s training program, has the following advice:

Intervals are done to failure. Failure is ideally defined as a 10% drop in average power over the interval. But as most people don’t have power to play with, you have to come up with a proxy indicator. If you are doing your intervals on the trainer then a mere 2-3 km/h drop in speed equals failure. On the road you have to critically assess how you went.

As an indicator, in general if you aren’t doing 4+ you were probably too critical of your performance or you started off too hard. And if you do many more than 10 you either aren’t critical enough or you’re going too easy. 6-7 is optimal. But do NOT just go out and do 7. Try to get high-quality intervals each session.

As to the best hills in Canberra for Fitz’s training:

Mount Stromlo is ideal for all kinds of climbing work. Mount Ainslie can be used, but avoid the last steep pitch to the parking area up top by ceasing at that last left kink. Black Mountain can also work if you repeat from the water tank, avoiding the first steep pitch after the first time. Finally, I’ve had good success on Red Hill, but as it’s short, do extra (not 2x, more like 1.4x) for climbing repeats, whereas climbing intervals sort themselves out.

Any questions? You can contact Dr Michael Hanslip at or contact Pedal Power ACT directly.

Yet to sign up for Fitz’s? Register here.