Quick Profile: Descending Track Intervals

This ride is patterned after a running workout on a track. Runners use training sessions like this to assess their fitness level using different energy systems at the start of the training season and then will fine-tune the areas needing work. I use it with my cycling classes to provide them with a simple understanding of the body’s different energy systems, each with different durations, outputs, and responses. 

Each interval is performed at a specific intensity and power level, which are tied to a pace in a running road or track race. Many of our riders have participated in running races, perhaps their local 5K, 10K, or even a half marathon or marathon. Using road races as a frame of reference can help instill a deeper and more personal understanding of the various energy systems than explaining the Krebs cycle (don’t even think about trying that). Even if they haven’t participated in running races, most people have some firsthand knowledge of running intensity, even if it was from gym class 40 or 50 years ago! In fact, more people will understand running intensity than cycling intensity since there are no gears, bike weight, or coasting downhill to confuse matters.


  1. Bill, this profile rocked. My riders and I really loved it. Challenging and fun!

  2. Thanks Bill! I loved everything here and one of the riders in my class asked for disco, so that worked great 😉 Btw, was it the fray that sang drop kick the punks? I found a song by the fate and wasn’t sure. Thanks again for this easy to follow and fun playlist!

    1. Author

      Kelsey – Great. If you’d like another disco song, I suggested one in Friday Favorites several weeks ago. “Sizzling” by Daphni featuring Paradise is a new disco song that sounds like it’s from the ’80s.

      The Faint performs “Drop Kick The Punks”. They are an Omaha-based indie punk band that Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes) used to belong to. The Fray is completely different. They’re more pop rock. My daughter is a big fan but I don’t share her musical tastes.

  3. Love this! Very creative, straight forward and challenging. Thanks so much! Love all your profiles! Thanks Bill!

    1. Author

      Lynda – You’re welcome. Again, all of the Quick Profiles are the result of an excellent team of contributors at ICA. Of course it’s straightforward. You can only run straightforward; otherwise, you’ll trip over your own feet.

  4. Thank you, Bill, for this QP! I can’t wait to use it this week! I so appreciate the effort and creativity that goes into creating these profiles. I find them invaluable!

    1. Author

      Barbara – You’re welcome. Thanks also goes to the rest of the ICA team, including Jennifer Sage, who provides the forum, inspiration, leadership, and oversight, Karen Cruz, who keeps us on track, and Shari Miranda, who turns my gibberish into somewhat coherent English. I personally like this QP because it’s presented from my point of view, which is road racing and running track intervals. I hope that this idea motivates other instructors to use their own unique POVs to create their own unique profiles.

  5. Thanks for the profile, and especially the short recovery songs Bill! Here are more tunes I like to use for short recoveries:

    Brown Eyed Handsome Man by Nina Simone 2:07
    Hope by Rush (acoustic guitar only) 2:02
    Transmitting Live from Mars by De La Soul 1:12
    Roller Rinks and Chicks by Freddy Fresh 1:00

    1. Author

      Thanks for the suggestions, Stacy. I’ve added the first two to my “Recovery Songs of 2 minutes or less” Spotify playlist, which is now over 80 songs long. I couldn’t find the third and fourth songs on Spotify.

    2. Thanks Stacy, I added the first two to the ICA short recovery song list (mostly less than 3 minutes, a few go up to about 3:15). That playlist is now well over 1,100 songs!

      Like Bill, I couldn’t find the last two.

      1. Is there a link to the ICA short recovery song list? Thanks!

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