A Modest Proposal on VO2Max Introductions

Subject: A Modest Proposal on VO2Max Introductions

Ah, greetings and salutations, esteemed sufferers!

In the illustrious chronicles of my cycling training, marked by a recent resurgence in my engagement with TrainerRoad (a decision propelled by an initial FTP detection of a modest 198, subsequently escalating to a sprightly 211), I’ve encountered a rather curious situation that tickles my fancy for dialogue and perhaps, gentle reform.

Let’s set the stage, shall we? Post my FTP elevation, I was greeted with the formidable Boltinghouse - a concoction of VO2Max intervals that, quite frankly, seemed more suited to a superhero than a mere mortal like myself. The outcome? A humble retreat after the inaugural set.

The saga continued with Mono -2, a threshold endeavour that I could only conquer by dialling down the intensity to a more palatable 90%.

And lo, the pattern persisted with GoatCitadel, another VO2Max challenge that I managed to surmount, albeit with a slight adjustment to the intensity.

This narrative isn’t just mine but seems to be a shared tale within our community. The prevailing wisdom suggests that grappling with these Herculean VO2Max workouts is a rite of passage, with the noble act of intensity reduction serving as our shield.

Yet, one ponders, would it not be more prudent, more considerate, to introduce these VO2Max challenges with a touch more grace and a bit less abruptness? A gradual crescendo rather than a sudden drop from the heavens, as it were.

Could we, as a collective of earnest cyclists, entertain the notion of easing into these trials, allowing our bodies and spirits to acclimatise to the demands with a tad more finesse?

I posit this as food for thought, a morsel for discussion amongst us, the valiant pursuers of cycling excellence.

Yours in spirited pedalling,

1 Like

Are you advocating for a ramp up to vo2 max of like 5-10 seconds. Or just lower vo2 max level. I would think a ramp is a bad idea as an abrupt change in output is similar to what happens in racing.

If Mono -2 (4x6min threshold over-unders) feels too hard, then your FTP must be set too high. Perhaps that ~90% of it that you could complete the intervals in was more in tune with your real FTP?


Assuming a) that you’re not unwell or obviously fatigued and b) that you’ve not changed anything in your equipment setup that would affect your power numbers …

… i’d be minded to agree with @visa.k’s assessment. As they say, shortish o/u intervals at prescribed power should feel like an 8 out of 10 at worst.

If it was me, I’d be setting my FTP back to 200w and possibly giving support a shout so they can review.

There is a flaw in your premise somewhere, because TR does ease you in to these trials. Thats what the progression levels are for.

What was your VO2 progression level before your FTP evaluation, and how did you get to that level?

VO2max is supposed to be hard. Sure if your completely new one or two introductory workouts could be useful to prepare both mentally and physically for the regular VO2max workouts. But any trained cyclist should be able to jump straight in to a 5x4’ interval. And a noob should be able to jump in to a 3 sets of 6 30-30’s .

Also why did you put your post though ChatGPT?

I am currently not using TR but I remember mono as a low PL threshold workout that should be very doable and I could google boltinghouse which looks like an easy vo2max. If you can’t complete those workouts mark them as failed and adaptive training will give you easier workouts or lower your ftp


I’m not sure he did. I suspect it was meant to be Swiftian, after Jonathan Swift, the original writer of ‘A Modest Proposal’.

Hmm… that rather depends on the intensity.

I would imagine that Mono should be straightforward for anyone with an accurately set FTP, though I can see Goat Citadel getting unpleasant if you were coming straight off the back of mainly endurance and tempo work, especially if you’re not naturally a very punchy rider.

1 Like

Sharing these pics so others don’t have to go look them up like I did.

Mono -2 is essentially giving you 6 mins at FTP with 5 minutes rest. There are only 4 intervals, so that’s a total of 24 mins at FTP and the recoveries are only at 40%, so that’s serious rest. This should definitely be an easy workout.

While Boltinghouse might feel a bit challenging if you’re not used to doing any VO2 work, I’d argue that 1 min on and 2 mins off should definitely be doable, even if painful. I do get your point here though, and they could ease you into VO2 a bit lighter if that was the goal. However, this is likely scheduled as a way to quickly judge whether or not your FTP is accurate. Telling the software if it was easy, moderate, or brutal will help define the rest of your plan very quickly.

All that to say I agree with the others, your FTP is too high, and this is common with Ramp tests and AI detection. It’s not just you. It happens to lots of people, whether new or more experienced. Try doing a more traditional 20 minute test instead and see if you can hold that FTP.


What is your history of training and riding?
How did you get your ftp?
How do other intensity workouts feel like?

Hello again, everyone!

Just a quick note to add to my earlier message. My FTP increase happened soon after I restarted training on TrainerRoad, despite having over 10 years of structured training under my belt. For context, I’m not exactly built for sprinting—standing at 170cm and weighing in at 59kg.

The idea of gradually increasing the length of VO2Max intervals was mentioned, and I wholeheartedly agree that it seems like a more sensible approach.

Also, a side note: The thought of using ChatGPT for writing posts is intriguing, albeit a bit daunting. Might give it a shot one of these days!


1 Like