Can you train threshold and vo2 once a week and gain any fitness?


In the past I always had a goal/season/a-race etc to build a plan around in which a previous coach would basically prescribe the following:. I do a build phase with a bunch of LSD stuff which then would turn to more threshold work (basically 4x16 @ 95%) for a couple of months, then closer to the events we’d change the 4x16 to more like 4x8 or 30/15’s (vo2) stuff. This worked ok.

Once covid hit I stopped structured training and just rode my bike a whole bunch. No vo2 stuff, just some threshold work and lots of hours. Obviously lacking any vo2 work that system has gone away and I am slow as sin now.

I do not have a goal, but I would try to get back to my mid pack cat 3 level. My old coach used to always tell me that you can’t do threshold work during the same phase as vo2 and vice versa. He always said threshold stuff takes the longest to build but it also takes the longest to go away. We never would have a week that was like 4x16 on tues and then 30/15 thurs. It was always threshold to vo2 to race, then start over again.

If I have last year of just riding around (some rides are still very long 5-7hrs on sat) and about 10-14hrs a week, could I do a plan as follows and still gain fitness?

mon (off bike)/tues (threshold work)/wed (just ride mix nothing too hard 2hrs/thurs (vo2 work)/friday (off)/sat (4-6hr ride)/sun (recovery ride).

I love my long sat rides, and i’ve really loved the last year of unstructured training. I guess what I am trying to do is add a bit of structure back , but I get bored when it’s only threshold or only vo2. I’d like to maybe do both, but was always told you can’t train both systems during the same period. I’d like to know why or if that’s true?

Also, my 10-14hr weeks are a mix of road and mtb.

Thanks for any explanation or information.

That is absolutely a schedule that will allow you to gain fitness.


You totally can and I think some coaches would recommend that you do a bit of everything always, just put the type of work that isn’t in focus on “maintenance mode”. So during LSD period do minimal but enough to sort of maintain vo2 and threshold so they don’t nosedive. Then during threshold focus, prioritize that work but keep 10-15 mins vo2 work at the tail end of a workout somewhere…maintainance mode. Then in the vo2 block, vo2 work is the focus and threshold goes into maintainance mode. Just prioritize what needs to be prioritized in any given training period.


Yes, this is basically the TR Pol model (1 day Vo2, 1 day threshold, as much Z2 as you want/can handle the rest of the time). It works.


I am a firm believer that it is important to touch upon all systems in pretty much every phase. It is just that the emphasis and time spent on those workouts differ. I have also seen through years and years of being an athlete and now coaching, that you can get very close to race shape just through base work. The VO2 takes most of the effort but really only for the last 1-3% of your potential. Ironically it is what we spend focusing on the most.


Thank you all for the quick and informative responses. This allows me to keep some “fun” in the training and also let me touch both areas and have variety. Thanks!

Just combine Tuesday and Saturday as long with intensity. Then recovery all other days.
M off
T 4-5hr with LT sets
W 1-1.5hr easy
Th F easy endurance <=2hr
S 4-5hr with vo2
S 2-4hr easy endurance or off

This is how I would train if I had no life obligations. Replace weekend with race if you have one.

Check out TR’s Experimental Polarized plans - they offer pretty much exactly what you want. 1x threshold, 1 x VO2Max, the rest endurance rides.

As said by a previous poster, that LSD time will make you fast. Have you raced and seen that you’re slower, or it just feels that way?

I did this this winter, and had a bump 5 watts in FTP. One FTP workout, One VO2 Workout and one Z 2 workout/week, plus 2 strength sessions

It won’t be as effective as 3-5 day’s a week but any training IMHO will get you fitter, go for it @deep :+1:

It is pretty much exactly what i’m doing at the moment. it is what fits my life and all the stress.
i do a 30 minute workout during my lunchbreak on tuesday and thursday. either an over/under or VO2 workout. All other riding i do, which is up to about 10 hours a week on average, is mostly endurance riding. This is currently the best way to have every workout be productive and achievable (sometimes a stretch), but greatly helped consistency. May not get my best peak fitness ever, but for sure worked well enough.

I combined SSB LV with my outdoor riding before and eventually, it would just be a bit too much.