Combining Long + Short Vo2max in one workout?

I was reading an article on combining V02max by Pezcyclingnews (great website) and the author goes into High Intensity Decreasing Interval Training (HIDIT) where he referenced this research paper.

Alternatively, a longer interval can be used to bring HR and VO2 up to ~90%. In practice, longer (3+ min) high-intensity intervals are not frequently used for a few reasons. Remember that Seiler found the 4×4 min protocol was less effective than the 4×8 min protocol. Further, longer efforts at a high intensity can only be sustained for a few repetitions before exhaustion is reached, making it hard for athletes to accumulate time > 90% VO2max.

Once ~90% VO2max (or ~90% HRmax) has been reached, the goal of the high-intensity session should be to maintainthat intensity as long as possible. This leads us back to the findings of Billat, who showed hat short, 30 s efforts with equally short recoveries can be used to maintain VO2 near maximum levels for extended periods of time.

Putting these two concepts together leads us to the findings of Filippo Vaccari and colleagues, who proposed a High Intensity Decreasing Interval Training (HIDIT) protocol (Vaccari, et al., 2020). HIDIT combines a couple of longer intervals to accelerate the body’s HR & VO2 response before switching to shorter intervals to maintain the near-maximal effort as long as possible.

As expected, the HIDIT protocol resulted in significantly more time spent >90% of VO2max when compared to a short interval protocol (30 sec work with 20 sec recoveries) and long interval protocol (3 min work with 2 min recoveries).

I found this very interesting and I consistently face a problem of trying to fit both long Vo2max (4-8min) and Short (30/30 or 30/15 or 40/20) in my build phase. I usually have one day a week to do them and my other intensity day is hard group ride that averages 40 - 45 km/h.

Following the ideas in the article and research paper do you think this Vo2max workout protocol could work?

2 or 3x 4min Vo2max intervals (1:1 recovery)
5min z1
followed by 10x 30/15 or 30/30

If the goal is time at Vo2max would this reach that objective? Anyone tried this or any advice?

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As always it depends. The problem I had with HIDIT is that I cannot generate enough power in short/short intervals to sustain vo2 max breathing. I have low anaerobic capacity so my breathing was slower than during longer vo2 max intervals.

There is also not definitive conclusion if the time spent during session is more valuable than overall time (are 2 days of 15 minutes of vo2 max worse than 1 day of 25-30 minutes done with lower intensity?). Personally I see way better results from 3-5 min intervals done max and in block than any other type of intervals that should elicit the same adaptations (HIDIT and Bossi intervals as an example). But this is my personal experience and it can vary a lot. HIDIT was mentally easier and was nice change to introduce something else - that was the plus side.

Filter on zone vo2, mixed intervals


I’ve had this idea for a while finally tried it.

4 sets of 8x 30/15s started with 2min effort.
24min of work and 23 minutes at 90%+ heart rate and breathing stayed high during the short efforts.

Rpe much lower than 5x4min etc. but I’m not sure is it as effective.
I did this at the end of block of long VO2 intervals around 20min of work, capped at 18min 90%+hr.

Anyone tried anything similar?

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I just did Panther today (outdoors) and found that the 3 minutes AT 108% wasn’t nearly long enough or hard enough. I barely cracked threshold HR even with a high cadence, and reducing the rest intervals throughout the whole workout by 1/3. It wasn’t until I started doing 60/40s at approx 120%—much higher than prescribed—that I was getting HR as my VO2 proxy to a reasonable level.

I think, for me, the hard start organization will be more effective. I haven’t done it yet but want to try 125%-130% for 30 seconds into 105% for 5 or 6 minutes.

It’s not a sustained interval but I also am a big fan of Megantic.

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