First VO2max today, brutal

Hi guys,

I did my first Vo2max workout taylor -2 today after an 18% FTP increase. Right at the beginning of the workout it became evident I wouldn’t be able to complete it at the prescribed wattage. I had a bad night of sleep and really bad meal yesterday, had a light breakfast 30 minutes prior to the workout. So I reduced intensity 10% which stiil left me with intervals at 110% FTP for the first 2 sets. I upped the intensity 2% for the third set and barely made it through the last interval.

Two questions for you:

  1. Did I still get the intended benefit?

  2. It looks like my limiter was my legs which were fried as opposed to cardiovascular, both breathing and heart rate where under control. I experienced the same thing during the ramp test. Breathing and heart rate low but legs fried, which never happenned before. It seems the limiter at my new FTP is much more linked to strenght/muscular endurance rather than cardio­. Is this normal? After my FTP went from 131 to 155?


If you dropped the intensity by 10%, you may have actually been riding at 104% FTP, not 110%. This puts you more in threshold territory, but you’re still getting benefit for sure, just maybe not at VO2.

1 Like

Going from 131 to 155 is a huge jump! Kudos! Your first VO2 will almost always be really tough, especially after an almost 20% increase, so I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Perhaps try putting a 15-30 second back-pedal in between intervals (sparingly) and see if that helps you reset and prep for the next interval.


The first to sets were at 167W compared to 155 FTP so that would be 108% of FTP. To be exact and the last at 171 out of 155 so that would be 110%.

At 120% FTP I could barely push the pedals after the 20s/30s/40s ramp up. I was just way too much.

Aaaah. I was doing the math from using the intensity % in the app!

If you’re getting near enough to 110%, then I’d say you got some good VO2 work out of it.

1 Like

I have the same workout on the schedule tonight! This will be my first vo2max workout, and my first workout after a recent 15w ramp test bump.

I’m predicting it will be hard for me as all my training for the last 8 weeks has been SS. I’ll report back.

1 Like

How was your cadence? High cadence will shift some of the load from the legs to the lungs.

How’s your spin? Are you a pedal masher or are you able to offload the quads a bit?

Did you try standing? Standing is okay for VO2max work, as long as it doesn’t burn you out and force you to bail on the interval.

SS and VO2max workouts both require a lot of mental fortitude, but VO2max work is less forgiving. Losing focus at 120-150%, especially in ERG mode, can really punish you for the rest of the interval. I like to go into hard intervals at a steady high cadence and really focus on breathing, with forceful exhales.

1 Like

I tried to hold 100 RPM throughout the workout but the last 2-3 intervals of each sets my cadence dropped to 95, 90 for the last interval of the last set. I did not try standing. And I also try I as much as I can to smoth my pedalling exerting force througout. But even then 120% was way too much for me today. I think I’ll have to adapt to the new FTP. Next week I’ll be okay I think.

Is this your first vo2 session in a while? I would try the easiest version taylor -3 and see how that goes.

It was my first session ever. The closest I’ve ever been to VO2max work is Goddard in SSBLV1 at a FTP 18% lower few weeks ago. It was a breeze.


Even when one’s FTP value is really well-established, finding the right target for VO2max work is a trial-and-error thing. 120% is a good place to start, but adjustment is often necessary – up or down – to find the target that’s repeatable for the prescribed durations that day. Maybe it’ll be 112%, maybe 127%. You need to be engaged in this discovery process.

Now, if it’s a bit of a shot in the dark when your FTP value is pretty well nailed down, it’s closer to a wild guess when you’re not all that sure where your FTP is at. Based on your other post, and the 18% jump, my thinking is you’re still zeroing in on where your FTP currently is at. So the above goes double: seek out the power that’s repeatable for the prescribed durations. Don’t stress about what percentage of your FTP is, since that’s a pretty fuzzy estimate right now anyway. You’ll have plenty of chances to figure this out as you work your way through the plans!

Good luck


Thank you for this reply. Since the beginning with trainerroad every workout has been uncovering new territory. But I must admit that SSB is very confusing as to what every type of workout should feel like. I kind of understand now what Z2 and tempo work should feel like. Now after 5 weeks of SS work I think I get it. Over/under not too sure, threshold not at all, and VO2max same.

And this big FTP jump make things much harder to figure out. I just know that my fitness is improving, which is the ultimate goal. I think I could have gone through the whole workout at 110% perhaps a little more. But I much prefer having a slower progress that’s steady and doesn’t get me sick or jaded. So I lean toward the conservative approach for the first week at new FTP. And complete every workout even though not exacly as prescribed.

I’ll will definately have to make adjustments down the road.

don’t be discouraged, with some more rest and fueling you should try taylor -3, you can even turn it down to 110-115% and see how you go.

that should give you the confidence to progress to to taylor -2 and bluebell etc.

Oh rest assured I’m not. I’m absolutely thrilled! I’m the fittest I have been in the last 10 years. I have more energy, downplaying a workout won’t discourage me. It’s just a reminder of the progress and the work I have to make. That’s what I like with structured power based training. Just when you think you are at the top of your game. It’s lurking right there in the corner to place you right were you belong. “Shouting no complacency. There’s so much progress to make! So much to learn, so much to master!”

1 Like


Wow… your starting ftp is 131… I just started with TR 2 weeks ago and my ftp is 132…
I’m 52 years old and hoping to reach at least ftp 200… setting a long term target…

I thought I’m the weakest cyclist in the universe… your progress gives me courage…
I’m into 2nd week of SSBV1 and every workout is something to be discovered.

I’m always worry about the next workout… trying to gauge the difficulties through TSS and spikes on the graph… scary…


Of no that’s my starting FTP for THIS year. I started below 110 in november last year. Got up to 138 in april after TBLV1. And after a summer of erratic but fun riding I started back in september with SSBLV1 at 131.
I’m 42 back on the bike after 10 years of young kids and severe illness. My goal is 200. Hopefully by April. I know it’.s possible since I already achieved 250 in 9 months of indoor riding 11-12 years ago. and I have a stronger aerobic base now.

So I guess there is hope for every one of us. Provided theres work, dedication, and no misplaced ego.

1 Like

So, I did this workout tonight and I had the opposite experience. I actually found the target watts too easy and did most of them 20-30w over. In fact I felt the best in the latter intervals upping it to 40w over.

I’m wondering if I did them wrong. I started each interval out of the saddle for the first 5 seconds to get the power up and then let it settle to an even wattage. Does this inflate my effort starting hard out of the saddle for the first few seconds?


Monday was V02 hell for me. When I see an V02 day coming I have to prepare myself. I have to eat better and higher carb the night before and load up the day of. When I am loaded up on carbs. The V02 rides go so much better for me. Like @Nate_Pearson I have to fuel for these rides.

If I go into one unrested or depleted it’s a train wreck every time.

1 Like

You didn’t do it wrong, out of the saddle or otherwise (get the power any way you can!). It’s probably just that these short intervals are easy for you, even at 120%.

All my VO2 workouts were longer 3-5 min intervals, then I tried some shorter 30/30 workouts. I did Sleeping Beauty (30/30@115%) breathing through my nose.

It may be your natural physiology and/or your recent training which makes these relatively easy for you. Keep experimenting with different types of intervals to find a type that’s a challenge.