Where do long climbs fit in training?

A ride popular in Honolulu that I used to do weekly is call Tantalus. It is a beautiful, scenic ride through what feels like rain forest. Extremely enjoyable, and despite the effort, relaxing and invigorating. This is on a paved road, on a road bike. The route I prefer is a clockwise loop, about four miles climbing at six percent followed by an exciting decent that takes about twenty minutes.

My question is, what does this ride fulfill in my training plan?

It is too hard and too short for an LSD ride. My lactate threshold rides are typically done as intervals, like 3 x 12 min with 3 min recoveries, or 2 x 20 min with 5 min recoveries. I used to just grind up the hill all in, as best I could, arriving at the top ready to fall over.

Is it better to go long and steady, what might be called a tempo pace, or break it into segments like intervals?

Another parameter: I am training for Ironman 70.3 Hawaii which includes a long climb, five miles at two percent.

Does that tilt the response in favor of long and continuous, or will I get more out of the effort by alternating hard and easy?

You know, that specificity thing. No sprints or getting into the break for me, just Ironman stuff.

Good question!

Here’s a related conversation: Zones, Rides, Reality you may want to check out.