Profile: Lather, Rinse, Repeat…and Cruise!

Lather, Rinse, and Repeat (LRR) is the name I give to high-intensity interval classes, specifically VO2 max intervals of 3 minutes or more. The VO2 max level of intensity is labeled as a “very hard” effort on the RPE scale, about an 8 on a 1–10 scale. Using power zones, VO2 max is 106% to 120% of FTP, functional threshold power. Anywhere within that zone can elicit aerobic adaptations, but it should be noted that working at 120% of FTP is quite a bit harder than 106%.

The higher you go, the greater the anaerobic contribution (depending on your level of training, of course). It’s a level of intensity that, while extremely challenging physically, is very rewarding physiologically. In other words, you get a lot of bang for your training buck when you train here. You also get a nice mental boost knowing you can work that hard!

Nevertheless, working this hard for this long above lactate threshold is not for everyone, especially older riders and those who are new to exercise. However, with progressive training, you can gradually bring most of your riders to the point where they can work this hard—or at least, get them to the point where they can do most of the intervals. Always remind riders that there is never any shame in sitting an interval or two out. 

The original ICA LRR profile, with seven 3-minute intervals in Zone 5, was first posted in 2018. I followed that up with an LRR profile “take two” with 4-minute intervals. It’s easy to replace the music in these types of profiles since your focus will be on the intensity for those 3 or 4 minutes, not so much on the choreography of the song. 

Now for the fun part! Drum roll, please…

I’ve taken this profile and tweaked the ending to include two intervals at a lower intensity, but boy, it sure doesn’t feel like that when you’re in the midst of doing them! 

I call it Lather, Rinse, Repeat…and Cruise. To me, it kind of feels like a hard outdoor workout where you do your interval repeats, then you need to ride home but you do it at a fairly high intensity (though not as high as the intervals). 

I have done this ride several times with my winter training programs and it was really well received. I definitely got some “whews!” when we got to the end of the final two intervals! 

I have created two versions of this profile: one gives cues using power zones, and for those who do not teach with power, there is a version with cues using perceived exertion. If you teach with heart rate, use the perceived exertion version. 

I hope you enjoy this profile; let me know in the comments!

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