Fine tuning power in short VO2 max sessions

As a newbie to PM intervals (seasoned in HRT intervals) I just did my first powered VO2 max session and I kept on overshooting the target Watts by more than 20W…which is normal at this stage.
I’m sure that with time fine tuning levels of high bursts of power shall become more precise…but…any tips on how to replace pedal pounding with precision high power shall be welcome.

If you are not failing work outs don’t worry. True VO2max is an oxygen based zone rather than a power based one. To train their VO2max zone properly some folk have to push beyond a powerzone. This is a good piece on it Watts Doc #23: Training Your VO2max, and Why Not Rønnestad 30/15 Intervals - Empirical Cycling

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How short are the VO2max intervals?

With VO2max intervals you are looking to go hard. In fact, if you are overshooting the target by 20w (or more) for the duration of the interval then the % at which you are doing VO2Max work might not be quite right for you.

If you are used to HR training it might be worth looking at your HR in conjunction with the intervals to see if you are getting the expected/ desired outcomes.

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Outside? Inside on the trainer? If inside was erg turned on? You don’t provide any details on “short vo2max sessions” - was it 30-sec hard, 30-sec recovery?

The session was Tumbe which includes 15 50 seconds 115% or 120% intervals with ~2 min in between. roughly.
It was executed outside on a 2km criterium that is “kind of” flat.

As a 1.6 session it wasn’t too stretching/ or got the HRT all the way to the productive zone but, as the first powered TR VO2 max session, it was a very good choice made by the adaptive AI, mentally and physiologically.

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50 seconds at 115%/120% followed by 2-min recovery, and repeated 15 times?

Divided into 3 sections.

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So a 2km loop that is somewhat flat. You definitely should be able to build up the pedaling mechanics and mind/body skills to better follow the target. In my experience two things to focus on: 1) geting in touch with how it feels to transitions from recovery spinning to hard push, and learning how to judge how much to push and then finesse the power, and 2) when given the chance to do similar workouts inside, turn off erg and keep practicing the mind/body connection.

Regarding the workout, if that was 120% for 50-sec and 2-min at 85%, repeated 5 times to make one set (and 3 sets total), that might be a really nice over-under workout.

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Aha! A new usage of the word ‘nice’ that I was previously unaware of.



You’ll find it is false high precision. Anything threshold and above will elicit VO2 max if for long enough. I did a VO2 max workout this morning. I don’t work to a precise power but feel my way into it during the first set of intervals. There’s a minimum power I try and keep all the intervals above, if I’m feeling great I will push higher and try and maintain it for full set, if I’m not feeling it then I might be holding on to keep it above my minimum bench mark power for all the intervals.

Once you realise that workout intervals can fall into a range it frees you up. It’s the same for threshold , it doesn’t have to be 100% threshold, there’s a range you can work within.


Agree with everything you said, however learning how to control power during training has helped me burn fewer matches on races and hard group rides. Proven to be a worthwhile skill to practice while doing outside intervals.

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just wanted to add that Tumbe is roughly 50 seconds at 120%, then 2 min at something, repeated 5 times to make a set (and 3 sets total). So depending on the 2-min “something” this looks either like 50 second accelerations with 2-min recovery (repeated 5 times), or long over-unders if the 2-min something is 85% or 90%.

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To my eye, Tumbe looks like an anaerobic repeat workout but at too low of a power. So back to what I said earlier, I’d view this as some nice work on accelerations and possibly a precursor to upcoming work.

You can always shoot an email to TR support and get their point-of-view, as they would be better able to provide comments about how Tumbe fits into the progression of a plan.