120 % as VO2 seems easy-ish Why?

I’m doing VO2 on tuesdays now. Bluebell today. 3 sets of 6x1 min ints with equal rest, 5 min between sets. With that short of an interval, at even at 130% of FTP, my HR barely gets to 93 % of max HR by the end of a minute in the last couple of reps in each set. How do I know I’m getting the VO2 Benefit if very little time with HR above 90% of max HR??? By the end of the 3rd set, I’m ready to be done, but not dying.

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My guess is that you have a high anerobic capacity, so that you don’t stress your aerobic system at that intensity. You may be one of those folks who benefit from a 30 sec all out effort before a 2-5 min effort at 120% or 130% of FTP.

Or you set your FTP too low. To see that, I‘d check to see how you are doing on longer VO2max efforts. 1 minute is quite short. Try 2-3 minutes and then you will know.

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1 minute intervals are still really part of a build up to true vo2 max work. I wouldn’t expect to approach max hr on them. I had 30/30s today and I never saw 80%, it was only the last set that I got over 75. Meanwhile if I had done 3 minute intervals my eyes would have been bleeding.


Thanks to all. So if these shorts are a buildup, go with the prescribed power and don’t worry?? Last week was 30-30s, so this week doubled the duration. Same 120% of FTP

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I did Bluebell +2 today. First set was a tester, just to see how I’d react to the 1min intervals. Easy peasy. Had to ramp it up hard start style – average 168% for the first ~15+ seconds then ease off the power and let HR ride. Gasping breathing was a good indicator I was hitting the zone. Also, high RPMs (120+) also made things easier. Was still feeling fresh at the end so I banged out another 5x1min.

For 30min of VO2max work, TR power analysis says I did 12:40min in VO2max and 15:30min in Anaerobic.
TP HR analysis shows I spent only ~18:30min in VO2 zone but I didn’t get there using VO2max zone power.

Also, the rest intervals between sets is waaaay too long. My HR was dropping below 100.

Indeed, Bluebell is a walk in the park in comparison to 90sec and over, things really start hurting at the 90sec mark, in my experience.


I did the same hard start each time 150%or better for 10-15 sec then last 20 sec of int down to holding about 130%.

As one of the above said, my FTP is possibly set too low. I’m a mental wuss or something on ramp test. I’ve failed to make a FTP test over 280w but on the road, my SS intervals (based on HR settling at about 88% FTP in SS in longer than 8 min) says FTP might be 290 ?? It’s been set at 280 w, but has hopefully risen. I’m in week 3 of build and feeling good with all workouts

Standard tip: don’t judge anything about your VO2max work and power levels until you do something entitled “Spencer” or “Kaiser”.

Or try 30/15s - Brasted and Rattlesnake.


Yeah, I guess I’ll see what happens when doing the longer VO2’s. Thanks everyone!

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Looks like you do not use ERG mode. I always wonder when it’s best not to. Shorter quicker rampups make ERG a pain to use??

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It’s like a past me wrote this thread. I had the same thoughts when I started getting into the VO2 max stuff in SSB. This is my first year of structured training. Really, any aerobic/endurance training. Those were my butter workouts. I got pumped for my VO2 days because I felt like a champ and knew I’d crush the “harder” workout of the week.

Now I’m in my last week of short power build and having taken up the VO2 gauntlet so to speak, I really really miss the SSB days haha. I see a Kaiser variation on my schedule and immediately feel part of my soul escape my body… The remaining soul usually leaves around the third or fourth interval.

A general observation for me which I’m sure rings true for some others, and has been discussed on the podcast before, is that my “exceptional” VO2 max capability was mostly relative to my quite poor strength endurance. Now that my Z3/Z4 have gotten better, my VO2 max and anaerobic work (while still being an athlete that skews to the higher zone abilities) have regressed to the mean in a way.


I had spencer yesterday. 3 minutes is tough. Didn’t finish as prescribed so the glutton for punishment in me tried again today. Better result today. 3 minutes is tough.


I can’t speak to that as I use a dumb trainer. One minute intervals are kind of weird, not short enough but also too long.

I crank it up to 130 RPM for the hard start then either back down to 120 RPM or switch it up a gear at 110 for the remainder of the interval. I don’t think ERG would allow you to do any of that.

For 30/xx and >1min intervals I mostly just go with one gear and cadence.

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Thanks! So am I to get the message that I should trust Coach Chad’s prescriptions now so later I’m not already a little crispy?? My gravel and MTB events are all from Sept - early Nov. now.

This was totally me when I started TR and proper structured training. Super awesome at VO2 but terrible at anything below that.

Was this discussed on a certain podcast # or just in general?

I won’t pretend to be a coach, but from my experience and that of others’ I’ve seen on the forums, I would probably stick to the program. At the end of a workout, bump up the intensity a bit if you know you can do more. After you do a few workouts and know you can do more, then maybe increase intensity for whole workouts. But from my personal experience, had I started bumping things up at the beginning of my blocks, I’d have put myself in a hurt locker way too early and I’d have likely not been able to stick to the plan subsequently.

The RPE/Duration thing is also covered briefly in the podcast #252.

I tried to find the exact podcast where they discuss this in response to a submitted question but was unable to pinpoint it. In my head I feel like it was Jonathan and Pete in the studio, but it could have been Jonathan and Chad. I know, how on earth could you get those two heads mixed up :man_facepalming:

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Had the chance to screw around with one of those masks that measure inhaled/exhaled gas content…tried a few different ‘VO2Max’ intervals. One of the things about 2 minute, 1 minute, 30/30 intervals is that they feel easier because they are. My O2 consumption never reached a plateau during those types of interval.

If you don’t think those are easy workouts, just check the compliance rate on Bluebell vs some workout like Kaweah. The ride stream for Bluebell is filled with rides done above the prescribed work rate…or rides with athletes tagging on some extra work at the end. Compliance rate is >85%. Somebody once told me Rattlesnake was a hard workout so I checked that ride stream…same story…high compliance rate, riders ‘cranking it up’, riders doing some work after. It feels easy because it is easy.

Meanwhile, that Kaweah ride stream looks like a total massacre. Oosh.

You’re probably not getting as much VO2 benefit as you could. Prevailing academic wisdom is that you get the most improvement in VO2max by working at around 100% of VO2max. Doesn’t mean a workout like Bluebell doesn’t give you SOME VO2max adaptation…just means there are more efficient workouts that could do better.


To be honest, stuff like Bluebell are unlikely to give much V02 response. Too short/rests too long. Work needs to be longer than 60 secs or rest down to about 30 secs.

They are fairly easy to be honest…I’d not really call them V02 workouts…more like V02 prep workouts- I.e. they prep the rider mentally and physically for the harder V02 workouts that are coming up later in the plans that really will hurt and elicit v02 response