Block Vs Linear Periodization

Has anyone tried block? How did it turn out? Any tips or general advise? I’m thinking of a VO2max block for criteriums and just soaking up information to determine if it’s worth trying.

For those who have to look it up (like me!):

I would say go for it! Maybe 3xVO2/week with maybe a couple Sweet Spot rides?
Before my forced time off I was embarking on an 8 week VO2 block (6 on/2 off).

However, there’s probably more useful things you could do to prep for crits than a VO2 block. Not sure what those would be, just a hunch.


Yes, I’ve done block training per my coach. Typically, she’ll have me do a progression of different interval blocks. Normally each block is 3 weeks, then a rest week, then 3 weeks of the next block, etc… For example, Tempo/Sweet Spot, Threshold, Over/Unders, V02 Max, Tempo w/accelerations. Each week typically has 3 interval days, 2 endurance Z2 days, and recovery ride for 6 days on the bike a week.


I have done a 5 day VO2max (alternating days between 5x 6 minute intervals and 6x 5 min intervals with 2 min rest between) block as part of a peaking process in multiple years and when followed by a rest week, had good results. In fact, I set a PR on a 20 min climb six days after finishing the block. The end of day two seemed like the worst but I noticed that by day four my legs were starting to adapt. It still hurt, but the power output had stabilized and the perceived suffering was no longer increasing, just staying the same or slightly less. While the total work performed each day decreased only slightly, the TRIMP (heart rate equivalent of load) decreased each day, either due to fatigue or adaptation and was down 12% by day 4.

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Any insight as to the difference in how you responded between block and linear? Obviously block is working for what you’re doing? What are you focusing on (crit, TT, gravel etc…)?

@steveh67 coolio! What were you focusing on? Criterium, shorter punchier road/circuits?

Not that you asked :wink: but I was training for a TT. I decided on doing Rattlesnake-type workouts vs standard 3-4min intervals for various reasons.

  1. boost FTP after stagnation;
  2. work on power at VO2max;
  3. develop ability to spend longer continuous time in VO2max (vs much shorter intervals).

After the VO2 block I had a block of Threshold training planned (40kTT Spec) to really help solidify the work.

That was the plan, anyway.


I have done two different types of blocks - the one I referred to earlier was alternating days of 5x 6 min on/2 min active rest and 6x 5 min on/ 2 min off. This was general VO2 max training for early season cyclocross. I have also done 5 day blocks of sprint training to build repeatability of max efforts, usually in late November in preparation for my regional CX championships. Similar feeling on those block days, e.g. drop in max sprint power over the first two/three days, then power stabilizes and perhaps even gets a little better on the last day.

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I often do a less intense but race specific block 8 7 6 and 4 weeks out from a big A race. So 8 weeks out is race/zone specific but also just way more TSS than normal, then 7 is less volume but same intensity, 6 is more moderate, then repeat week 8 four weeks out.

I think block is really interesting and going to use it more for specific athletes that I think can handle it. I’m not sure 5x vo2max is possible for some, myself included. maybe 3x max.

Let us know if you try it!

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@brendanhousler will do. Your method is interesting for what I’m try to do. This would be for master nationals in August. So about 14 weeks out. I’m just in SSB2 sort of modified as I’ve been racing on the week ends. If I finish SSB block and start a 8 week super vo2 block beginning of June that might work out. Only wrench in this is a family vacation July 7-15 (Maui/hell yeah!) at 4 weeks to go to Nats. I’ll just have to do a vo2 block on the surfboard that week…:surfing_man:


sick! what age group? ill be out there for Nats. Course is gonna be HARD and Fun!

week off will be fun and no problem so don’t sweat Maui (sounds so dope).

Yeah hit the vo2 block 8 weeks out and see how you respond. Be realistic with yourself so it doesn’t trash you before Nats.

Lmk if I can help you with anything, keep me posted!

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I’ll be doing 50-55. How about you?

Yeah the week off I’ll sort of plan that to fall after the first 4 week block then probably do a lighter/shorter block in that 3 week coming into nats.

just pointing to this, second half mentions block p quite a bit. I also love the last minute or so, there is simply no certainty in training science


@sryke super thank you! Yeah he stresses individualization at 30:00 meaning some will see better results with traditional while others block.

The overall takeaway I’m getting again and again from multiple angles is time at/above 90% MHR. Which ever way gets an athlete the most and they can recover (not overtrain) is the best for that athlete. That’s interval type, micro/meso scale dependent.

So, for me, I’ve always tried traditional. No complaints with the method. Just my lifestyle and career that make it maybe suboptimal for me. I’m usually gone every week for a block of days then off for a similar length block. This is way too simple but, the overall affect is plateau. Anyways, my situation is irrelevant, but, for guys like myself block training might be a way to punch through the plateau.

Don’t know, I have my reservations with this. I touch this intensity zone mostly/only in winter. It comes with racing in summer but I mainly do it only in winter. This winter was the first time I did longer intervals again. Before that I spent to winters with mostly intermittent intervals, e.g. these 30-30s or 60-60s or similar. This winter/spring I saw the first time are real improvement again in the spring races. I attribute this to the longer intervals.

Why? Because with these intermittent intervals you do not train a key element properly: the mental aspect. I’d say learning to deal with discomfort is almost as important as training your physiology. I don’t race 30s on, 30s off. I race storming up a hill several times over 2-4h (for spring races). I’d say one has to train both components.

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35-40; cool, I wouldn’t go lighter/shorter, that’s the one week you want to go ham, then 2 weeks out go light but still intense, then do any normal taper that you are accustomed to based on which event is your focus and roll into the event in last week…good luck! maybe grab a coffee or something out there

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Coffee? Ummm, hell yeah! :grinning:

I looked at the calendar and moved the “block” week ahead one week. The week in Maui will be essentially week 2 and pick it up on week 3 and 4. A little extra taper but, I think that’s ok for my age. Looks good on paper. I should get a podium for planning!:wink:

lmk if you need to run anything past me in the meantime; can always link up on training peaks. have a great week!

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Now i did a 4 day HIIT Block. First time with exclusive 8 min intervals with 2 min rest. In the blocks i made before I always add some variations to make it more interesting. But this time i wanted to control the intensity better and make pacing easier.

I did:
Day 1: Morning 4x8 and afternoon 3x8
Day 2; afternoon 3x8
Day 3: Morning 4x8 and afternoon 3x8
Day 4; afternoon 3x8

So 20x8 at all,. His was sustainable for me, with very slight increase of power and a significant drop in the HR. in the night after the two session my sleep was not so good, but still acceptable. Day 2 and 4 was not easy also,. but i recover pretty nice.
Last day was strongest. Bit of course the fact that it was the last one have a bit extra motivation. After it I feel mental fatigued. I think this will me no problem,. now come some recreational rides with my wife.
The next weeks i focus on LIT with only one HIIT and one group ride each week. I’m curious if iI could see a advance.

Wow, double ups on days one and three must have been very difficult. I have never attempted that.