Did I lose all the benefit of this workout?

On this workout I couldnt hang on for 3 minutes at 125% repeatedly. Just nope.
How bad is it to take the occasional breather (I have to stand up and soft pedal for 10-20 seconds)? Am I losing the benefit of this workout? Is it better to drop the intensity to complete the 3 mins or is it better to push at a higher power output and take those short breaks?


Is this from a plan or a workout you’ve selected? That would help with an answer.

Thanks @BaronGreenback I’m not currently on a plan, I kind of just try to do 2 hard workouts per week. I guess its similar to what I would do on a low-volume sustained build plan…

I’d say drop the % a bit and do the full 3 minutes of each interval. If you’re giving yourself a rest during each interval period, you’re changing the nature of the workout. Resting a bit longer between intervals isn’t as big of a deal, but if it turns into more than 5 minutes, it’s probably a good idea to dial it down or pick a workout with a level 1.0-2.0 lower than the one you’re currently doing and see how that one goes.

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Personally, I would lower the intensity to get the full 3 minutes. My experience with three minute efforts goes something like this:

First 1:15 completely manageable. “Comfortably” hard effort

From 1:15-2:00…maybe 2:15: really have to concentrate, and breathing begins to get heavy.

Last :45. Hold on for dear life.

With each interval, the second and last phase (as seen above) occur a little earlier in the interval.


3 min at 125% is brutal for me. I seem to handle 1:30 and 2:00 pretty well, but beyond that the wheels come off quick.

Check out Mount Deborah. 3 min at 105-109%. I always do this one instead of the 3 min @ 125% workouts and then bump the intensity up as needed.


Few people can for more than a few intervals. This looks like an extremely tough workout.

Not as bad as some might think, IMO.

As far as 9x3min workouts go, this appears to be one of the hardest. The original progression in Short Power Build was:

  1. Dade (9x2.5min @ 120%)
  2. Mathes+1 (9x3min @ 115%)
  3. Kaiser+2 (9x3min @ 118%)

But another way to progress is to focus on a single workout, like the one you’ve picked, and either drop the intensity or have planned backpedals. Then with each passing week, up the intensity and/or shorten/ditch the backpedals. Eventually you want to be able to complete the entire workout without backpedaling the work intervals. Doesn’t matter how you get there.

Also, consider backpedaling the recovery valleys. When push comes to shove, it’s way more beneficial to nail the work intervals.

Lastly, nine intervals isn’t some magic number. If you can nail 6 out of 9, that’s better than nailing three and floundering on the remaining six. If you scan through the catalog, you’ll notice a lot of 3 min VO2 workouts only have six intervals, e.g. Spencer+2 and Kaiser+4.

3@125 is no joke… A lot of people struggle

I would suggest trying 1 or 2 minutes and see how you do

thanks for the tips, will keep at it!

As above, drop intensity a bit and try and complete them. But don’t sweat it too much. If it’s benefitting you, then the workout will get easier over time.