30 minute suprathreshold interval workout for the indoor trainer on ERG mode

Looking at my notes “solid threshold workout” which probably means 8/10.

I was well-rested and well-carbed, which probably helped.

I have done this suprathreshold workout once a week for the last two weeks, starting at 97.5% and moving up in 2.5% increments to 107.5%, hold for a minute, then down. The pain is not as high as the intense pain of a VO2/120% 3-5 minute interval, but it is definitely a very difficult workout even with the 97.5% start. I’d give it 8.5 or 9 out of 10. Had I started at 100% then I’d say 9.5 or who knows, maybe I would have stopped at 21 minutes (which would be the new ending point from which to build). That said, raising FTP (or in descriptive terms the ability to ride ballz to the wall for an extended period of time and not get caught by those chasing you) involves finding the right balance between intensity and duration. One way to develop this ability is finding the right combination of intensity above FTP with duration in excess of VO2 efforts. I personally don’t think tempo or sweet spot work as well, and I think VO2 efforts should be balanced with longer durations that can’t be handled at 120%.

It is important not to miss the forest from the trees. The point of the workout isn’t to focus on 2.5% - that’s an arbitrary number for the purpose of finding a small increment that can be used to repeatedly increase the power requirement over time while keeping a lengthy duration. Maybe 2.5% is fine but it’s better to start the effort lower at 97.5%. Or maybe start at 100% but use 2.0% increments. Or maybe an absolute number like 5 watts, or maybe 3 watts. The increment should be fine-tuned based on what works best for the cyclist, not taken as the end-all-be-all data point. The overall effort for 30 minutes is the focus; the incremental change in power is adapted to the cyclist to accomplish the effort.

Physiologically, assuming FTP is around LT-2, for both the first 15 minutes and the second 15 minutes, overall blood lactate and hydrogen volume will be increasing, first at an accelerating rate, then at a decelerating rate, so when you are done you will be flooded, though the mechanical stress on the muscles won’t be as high as with something like a 5x5 VO2 workout. Despite the workout being quite difficult, my legs didn’t feel nearly as bad as they would after a series of VO2 intervals. Guess I’ll find out for sure at the gym on Saturday!