DOMS and causes? + 5, 6 or 8 minute intervals for VO2/FTP training?

These two topics are really unrelated. The first question I had is related to DOMS. My DOMS is at its absolute worst in the summer time. Also on days when I cramp it’s even more significant the second day after a hard ride. I’ve tried a zillion different things to eliminate cramping and DOMS and have yet to find a solution. Although I suspect a lot of it is hydration. When it’s this hot, I guess it’s just hard to replace fluids no matter how much I drink on the bike, before or after a ride.
When I have DOMS should I go ahead and complete my training ride as scheduled or delay the training ride to allow further recovery? Two weeks ago I had DOMS and instead of doing 4min intervals I did Z2. Two days after that I had a really strong midweek interval session posting an all time best 10 minute power. So in that case waiting seemed to work out OK. Last weekend I did my 4 minute interval session Monday and my really hard intervals on Weds. Saturday of this week I was still fatigued. Not surprised after the ride Wednesday.
So again the question as it relates to DOMS - should I complete my ride as scheduled or at least attempt it? Or do you take extra time to recover when suffering from DOMS?

My next question relates to VO2 training. Some of the reading I’ve done says longer intervals are better with 8 minute intervals being the sweet spot. I’ve found some TR workouts with 8 minute intervals, but in many cases, even though they show up under the VO2 filter they are only at 102% of FTP. Should these 8min x4reps be at 102% of FTP or actually a little higher? I’ll probably do my first workout at 102% of FTP just to see how the 8 min blocks go but these are substantially down on my 10 minute power.

Right now for VO2 training I’m leaning towards doing 1 session a week that’s 6-8min intervals and another session thats 2-3min intervals and probably dropping the 30x15x13s as we get into the fall. There’s three reasons for this change. 1-My trainer seems to work better on longer intervals and isn’t as great at short punch intervals. 2-I have osteoarthritis in my left knee which seems to be more susceptible to multiple accelerations so if I can cut down on the number of accelerations I may be doing my knee a favor. 3-I do the 30x15s outside for the trainer reasons listed above and daylight is now significantly shorter than it was a month ago. So I’ll be spending a lot more time on paved trails vs road due to visibility concerns and motorists as I’m riding more in the dark/dusk. So completing intervals indoors makes the most sense and those tend to work better if they’re at least a minute in length if not 2 or 3 minutes in length.

I’d appreciate any help or insight that can be provided.

Tough to answer these without any of your background or training history however to answer:

  1. Not sure there is any evidence to suggest doms are worse in certain seasons. if you’re a new cyclist doms will feel a lot worse earlier on than after a few years of cycling.
  2. don’t cherry pick workouts - 8 minute workouts are great in a block that align to your goals but not sure the worth if you’re just doing it as a one off. follow the workouts in one of the plans and add z2 around it. vo2 max workouts provide the %FTP as a guide - it is okay to move the intensity around as you see fit.

if you would like to provide more colour around your goals etc i can try and help further.

The workout wouldn’t be a one off, it would be a regular occurrence.

I’ve done a couple of the TR plans and went backwards last year on FTP. Granted there were also some circumstances that might have made some of that not the fault of TR, but regardless even when I got back on plan and adhered, I still went backwards or didn’t progress. So lately I’ve been doing my own workouts similar to what I was doing prior to TR and finding TR workouts that align with those and I’m back to progressing on the bike.

My question on VO2 was really about what types of intervals to target when doing those workouts. Some of my reading has suggested that 8 minutes might be the sweet spot?

Regarding DOMS specifically, for me it’s quite a lot worse in the summer. Only thing I can figure is it’s something about dehydration. Rest of the year it’s not really a big deal at all.

As I wake up with DOMS I just watched a YouTube short where the coach considered that under fuelling in a ride is the problem. You can be comfortable and completely re fuel on return but you were still low at some point.

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I’d def go harder, esp if the 8m # is less than your 10m # !!

another nice ripple is do a 30s hard start around 120-130% FTP, then go into the 102-107% FTP eight minute banger. Will help get the HR elevated sooner.

those are super fun, enjoy, and good luck!


For VO2 max, I’m not sure it matters that much. Just pick something and do it. Do 6 x 3 mins, or 4 x 4 mins, or 5 x 4, or 5 x 5, or 6 x 6, or 4 x 8… Do a power where the first one doesn’t seem horribly bad, but the last one you’re not sure if you can do. Or you can hard start them, but I think you would still want some power numbers to go by and adjust accordingly. From what I’ve heard and read, you want to get around 15 - 30 minutes of time at power. And remember, have fun :face_vomiting:

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do you really have DOMS? delayed onset muscle soreness? its typically associated with eccentric movements (muscle lengthens under load) from gym work. cycling is concentric (muscle shortens under tension).
i would think you are under fuelled, under recovered, under hydrated, or generally carrying fatigue (from oxidative stress, not eccentric load stress in the muscle)


That’s a good point. I suspect a lot of it is hydration this time of year. When it’s this hot I find it impossible to consume enough fluid on the bike due to sweat rate. I usually drink a few glasses before each ride and stop once or twice to fill bottles at gas stations and it’s simply not enough.
If it were simply “fueling” I’d have similar experiences regardless of temps. So I think hydration is a big part of it. Carrying fatigue could be part of it too? I ride more, like most of us when it’s warmer and days are longer.

Did 4x8 earlier this week. That was really hard, I think due to some residual fatigue and the fact that indoors it gets pretty warm in the room I exercise in with only a tiny fan. My HR at the end was 98% of HR max. I was hanging on by a thread but got it done but it was only 102% of FTP. Outdoors that workout probably would have been easier as I’ve had a few 10 minute blocks north of 110% of FTP but doing these indoors is always harder for me. I’m experimenting with different blocks/interval lengths and number of intervals right now. I might do 5x4 or 5x5 next to see what that feels like.

From experience, I can tell you that cramping = significant DOMS. I’ve solved my cramping issues, but I’ve never had worse DOMS in my quads than I’ve had after quad cramps, and I was a bodybuilder and power lifter before I was a cyclist.

Seiler would suggest that running at 98% max HR is too hard in training, because the adaptive signal gets reduced, not increased. in training (not a race) he suggests capping the work to 90% of vo2 max in longer efforts, to get maximum benefit without the nervous system stress. in other words harder isn’t always better.

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I was really only at threshold I think HR was high mostly due to heat inside with no ventilation? Just guessing. But it was a hard effort regardless. I’ve read that as you get beyond 95% of max HR and approach 96 or 97% it’s best to reduce power slightly to keep at 95%?

Does this also apply if you’re not at VO2 power? There seems to be a lot of confusing info out there about this. On a shorter interval my HR is better controlled, on longer intervals it basically just drifts higher even at threshold. Heck I’ve even had it do that below threshold at sweet spot on a 20min block once. It was again inside. The room gets super hot with me in there mashing pedals.

@Abidingdude what did you do to solve your cramping issues? I’ve not totally eliminated it but made some progress this year.

VO2 power is any power which takes you to vo2 max. vo2 power is variable and time dependant time. bear in mind indoors you will struggle to get rid of heat (stress), but the stress is the signal for adaption. the dose of stress shouldn’t be too high

This is what I was thinking. I don’t get DOMS from cycling. I don’t care how hard I rode or dehydrated I am. I get DOMs from running and from weights, but not cycling. To the OP, is all you are doing cycling?

Very true. I never get DOMS from cycling. Only from very hard runs.

Yes I just cycle. I’ve tried to mix in some running but have a knee injury dating back about 25 years that makes running pretty tough.

From the “racing and training with a power meter”, there’s a table to quantify the number of reps.

You measure the third interval and the last one should not be umber 5/8% less in average for 5-8min intervals. I might be off a bit in those number as I don’t have the book handy now.

Assuming that you didn’t fade you avg power, you still have something in the tank and should keep going, stop when you hit that decrease in power, always considering the third one as a baseline.

This doesn’t sound like DOMS, not in HOW its being created (concentric vs eccentric movement) or what its exhibiting. This sounds more like “hollow legs” which while similar is different. Hollow legs come from underfueling and under drinking on and off the bike.

My bet is if you increase your carb intake before, during and after riding, and ensure you are drinking a LOT more water, this will go away.

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I can fuel more with carbs, not sure about drinking more water, I drink a TON of water.

That’s maybe your problem. Do you add carbs or salt to your water. If its pure water you’re washing what salts you do have out of your body.