Failed workouts in final week before rest

I’ve been a TR user for a fair while but this is my first time working through a plan.

I’m into the week before the rest week, you know, the horrible one, and have failed two workouts - quit after the first interval.

The first of these two (A VO2max workout, 3mins at 120% x6), I redid it the next day without any problems.

The second of these two I did last night, will have another bash tonight ahead of a long outdoor ride tomorrow in lieu of workout three).

The feeling was of basically not having any power in the legs, so I’m putting it down to tiredness. There’s probably reasons for this I won’t bore you with (bad bowels/small child in the house that shouts all night).

Is it worth pushing through these at lower intensity, or should I just take the extra day, if I can still get all three in in the same week?

The fact that you were able to do the workout ok the following evening shows that it was just fatigue/bad day that caused the failure rather than not being able to do it. Hence just take extra rest day.

1 Like

There is undoubted benefit in turning down the intensity of a VO2 session and completed all the intervals - unless of course you are unwell etc.

I would be tempted to try the session and see how it goes. If it gets hard tone it down a bit, if it gets impossible just bail out and rest. If you do get a session in you will feel a lot better mentally about it afterwards.

Co-incidentally I had to turn a 3min * 6 @ 120% workout this week and after 2 intervals I had to turn it down to 95% and still struggled a bit. Looking at it afterwards I still got in 19:30 of VO2 so rather than feeling annoyed I was quite pleased I had gutted it out and achieved some training benefit from the session.

1 Like

I think this is in part discussed in last weeks podcast, towards the end of the show. I’ve always believed and recommended to others that a 5% reduction was reasonable, if the quality of the work was sufficient. Now I’m not so sure. I think it all comes down the adaptations the workout is designed to encourage AND the adaptations you’re looking to achieve.

I think any reduction can be reasonable though I wouldn’t argue with the experts!

Going from my experience (n=1) last night, if I hadn’t turned it down 5% for last 2.5 sets, then the sets would not have got done. My legs were burning and suffering after turning it down and I’m sure the adaptions will come from the efforts I put in…

I guess it might come down to the the reason your turning it down? If its just because it hurts a bit then not a good reason. Choices for me were bail and rest (not a mental thing but legs were not capable of maintaining that power/duration) or drop 5% complete with plenty of suffering, then rest and maybe get some adaptions…

(Legs are bit fatigued at the moment as I can compare to doing the same workout recently previously without the same reduction.)

There are probably loads of reasons your FTP will fluctuate during a week/month and will never remain static, to that end and the fact the intensity setting is there, I’d encourage those to use it to get the workout done… IMO bailing and completing can contribute differently to your mental well-being, depending on how you want to look at it, you could easily talk yourself into it being positive or negative… I would try and view both choices as positive.

Here is a chart I made to see the impact of changing the Workout Intensity for 120% based VO2 Max workouts.

Essentially, even dropping down to 90% Intensity keeps you at the low end of VO2 Max range. Depending on the duration of your intervals, you can easily salvage a workout with some quick adjustments rather than bailing or failing.


Also, adjusting some workouts isn’t really failing them. Failing is quitting or adjusting so much it is no longer the same workout. Eventually you’ll learn what your target should be for similar workouts.

Don’t get discouraged by adjusting those late in plan workouts when fatigue has built up. IMO, just do as best you can as long as it is still relatively close to the target, it isn’t always the power target that is the goal, but turning on cellular signaling by getting the muscles in a specific state, be it a low energy state, low oxygen state, or tolerance to lactate.

1 Like

That’s interesting.

I’ve always preferred to lose duration than intensity when it comes to VO2 max, so doing a 2 min rather than a 3 min interval, maybe I’ll reevaluate that :+1:

“Failing” is such a loaded term, I try to use it only for days when I was fit but didn’t start a session. :grimacing:

I would. If you listen to episode 191, where Coach Chad covers the 2nd half of VO2 Max, he comments that the time at high O2 uptake is the larger point to consider and improve. We are looking for that time of high uptake and extending that time is more valuable than doing higher power in shorter time.

Worth a watch/listen.


Yep, VO2 is all about maximizing that duration of huffing and puffing.

thanks for the input. I’ll try and drop a bit of intensity if things get unmanageble before bailing on this sort of workout next time.

1 Like