Higher Average Power in VO2max Intervals

I’ve just started to do a period of progressively harder weekly VO2max workouts and so I started with an easy one “Sleeping Beauty -5”. Unfortunately due to having the TR playlist on Spotify blasting in my ears for the first time, I got a bit carried away and the last 2 sets of intervals were well into the anaerobic zone. What, if any, is the downside to doing this?

I’ve found that when I’m able to do that it’s time to restest my FTP!


I’ve always been good on the VO2max but find the Higher % Sweet spots workouts all but impossible!

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IMHO an easy vo2 max workout is a contradiction in terms. 30 minutes at .78 intensity is never going to get you close to vo2 max, no wonder you pushed it in the last intervals. That particular workout I’d think of as a pre-race day leg opener perhaps.

Lots of valid approaches I’m sure, but for a vo2 max workout of an hour or less, I’d be looking for at least .9 overall intensity to make me feel like it was worthwhile. No half measures!

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We belong to those who are cursed at being terrible riding slowly! :tired_face::rofl:

But not for very long though! We’re fast twitch guys in a slow twitch world.

I agree but wanted to ease myself into them. I’ve gone too hard too soon in the pass and didn’t want to make the same mistake. Having said that it ended up with an IF of .89.

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Maybe then don’t ramp it up in terms of intensity, but in time? Do some 30 minute workouts at 0.89-0.9 intensity, then move up to 45 minutes, then an hour…

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Total minutes @ VO2Max is probably a better measure of the effectiveness than Intensity Factor. If longer recovery intervals between effort intervals allow you to get additional repeats in, then that is a better workout even if the IF is lower.


I agree, up to a point. It kind of depends whether we’re talking about vo2 max as a power zone or as a physiological state. Yes, with longer rests you can do more work in your vo2 max power zone. But if that means that the work intervals are starting at such a rested point that you never really get close to actual physiological vo2 max, then it starts defeating the object of the workout.

Or in more simple RPE terms, it’s all about increasing the total number of minutes you spend breathing really hard.

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I’ve read that it takes approx. 90 seconds to enter actual VO2 territory, which is why i) 4min intervals work and ii) 30s intervals should have very short recovery.

If you do 5x4min you’ll be getting ~17min of VO2 work; that would require maybe 40x30s (5 blocks of 8x30s) intervals to accomplish the same effect.

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A French scientist called Veronique Billat did a lot of research into the optimum interval lengths for VO2 max workouts. It does apparently require that you know what your actual VO2max power is to get the maximum benefit from. This article talks about speed at VO2max but I presume power would be just as good if not better

@carytb yep power is just as good and works well. The important part for determining the workouts is the second test where one rides at Power at VO2 max for as long as possible (typically 4-6min max).

Or, a less painful way, just take your 4 minute power from your power curve.

Not necessarily. If you ride only Z2 then your power curve most likely won’t contain any VO2max power data.

You could do a stand alone 5 min power test which might provide some actionable data.