The Duration and Intensity of Rest Periods Is As Critical As Your Intervals, with Sebastian Weber

Why do we have rest periods at all? In this episode we dig into the details of this question, along with examining different interval types and the appropriate rest for each.

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When Trevor first mentioned he wanted to do an entire episode about rest periods between intervals, I teased him—I often tease him—for being so excited about a seemingly mundane topic. Little did I know we would have such a compelling conversation with today’s main quest, the lead physiologist at INSCYD, and a previous guest on Fast Talk, Dr. Sebastian Weber.

So, why are rest periods so important, and why are we having this conversation? I think it’s safe to assume that when most cyclists design an interval workout, we focus most of our attention on the length and intensity of each rep. The recovery between reps? Well, that’s often an afterthought. Sometimes it’s flat-out ignored.

Which is a mistake, because the length of that recovery period has a dramatic effect on what energy systems are used from one interval to the next. For example, if two interval workouts are performed for the same length of time and at the same wattage, but one is done with 20 seconds of rest between reps and the other is done with 5 minutes between reps, they will be dramatically different, particularly in terms of how that wattage is produced for subsequent reps. We’ll emphasize that fact again and again in this episode.

We’ll start today’s show with a simple question, one that few athletes ask themselves: why do we have rest periods at all? Then Trevor and I will discuss the metabolic milieu that is “perturbed” during intervals, and what happens next when we rest.

For most of the episode, we’ll talk about the different interval types and the appropriate rest for each—everything from threshold intervals to VO2max intervals, from 2- and 3-minute intervals to Tabatas and sprints.

Again, our main guest is Dr. Sebastian Weber of INSCYD, and we’ll also hear from national champion Ruth Winder, Dr. Stephen Cheung, and exercise physiologist Jared Berg. Who knew rest was so important? Well, Trevor did, and after this episode, you will too. Let’s make you fast!

Let’s make you fast!

Episode Transcript

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