Intended benefits?

This morning I completed Bluebell for only the second time in my career. (it’s only come up twice on my plan) In the first set I left the intensity set at 100% but by the last interval I was pushing well over the 120% and still not getting my heart rate out of zone 3.

In the last two sets I pushed the intensity to 102% and still pushed well beyond the prescribed wattage. The las three work intervals I was brushing up against the 130% range.

As I looked back at the data this evening and contemplated the intention of this particular workout I wonder if I was getting my heart rate and oxygen uptake ramped up high enough to achieve the point of the workout. During the workout I never felt as though my breathing rate was anywhere near a point of maximal uptake nor did my heart rate ever exceed 88% of max. I realize heart rate lags and with only 1 minute workloads it is probably not a good measure.

Was I still reaping the intended benefit of this workout? Should I have bumped intensity up to 105-108% for the entire thing to achieve a higher breathing rate?

By the sounds of things, I’d say that Bluebell failed to challenge your system. Could well be that you’re naturally predisposed to VO2 work. Many TR users find that workouts such a Taylor -2 and Bluebell fail to elevate their heart rate sufficiently. The work:rest ratio doesn’t give you enough time to truly elevate the heart rate and the rest periods offer plenty of recovery.

You could have bumped the intensity but it’s also worth considering the other workouts that are coming up. Don’t add fatigue if you don’t need to. I’m sure there will be other VO2 workouts in your plan that will help you find your level and work that system.

Are you using a power meter or a Smart Trainer to measure your efforts?

Could be it’s time for an FTP test again. Where are you in the plan, half way through sweet spot base 2?

Either that or you under performed on your previous test so you’re running at a lower FTP than actual.

I had a similar issue last night with Taylor-2 - with intensity set to 100%, I wasn’t being challenged with breathing or HR, so I bumped it up 5% for the last set and it felt about right. I would have bumped it up earlier in the workout, but I was being cautious because previous week I’d had to dial back the intensity on Dade+1 right from the start, and even then I needed some back spins to get through it.

I was probably more tired going into Dade+1 than I was last night for Taylor-2 … but still, my takeaway is that there probably isn’t a general adjustment factor you can apply to all the VO2 work you do: it will depend how you react to the lengths of the intervals in specific workouts.

Spooky side note … looking around for something to listen to last night, I tuned into a recent Cycling Time Trial podcast and found them discussing exactly the type of workout I found myself doing!

Bluebell, Taylor-2, etc should be moderately hard, but not max all out. The plans trend to start out with easier intervals and then get harder later on, including easier vo2 work in base compared to build.

So yes, there’s a chance that your FTP is underestimated or that you are one of the people that has vo2 at higher percentage of ftp, and only you can figure that out.

My guess is the workout was as hard as it is supposed to be. Be happy you weren’t dying :slight_smile:

I can always bump Bluebell up (if I can do 5min intervals at 120, then 1 min is gonna feel much easier) but it’s not necessarily a good idea and can hurt recovery for future workouts.

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@PusherMan I am currently using virtual power on the trainer. My PM generally lives on another bike. I have put it on the trainer bike and done comparisons and found, to my surprise, that the VP was quite close to my PM. I suppose it would be prudent to do a test again or move the PM over for a bit. I keep my trainer set up as precise as possible. Tire pressure is checked down to single psi every time and wheel pressure is set the same each time as well.
@Jonnyboy my most recent test was last week. I saw a very tiny 4 watt increase. It is possible that I underperformed. Historically vo2 stuff has not been my strong suit and I’ve found myself turning down the workouts with 120% repeats rather than turning them up.

I suppose the perceived ease of this particular workout could be due to the odd season we’ve had. Plan builder has already lead me through ssb1&2 early in the year, then with race changes and cancellations I’ve had to go back and change plans a couple of times. I think I’ve been in two different build plans and now with another possible race in October it’s moved be back into a couple weeks of ssb2.

It’s a commonly-asked question. They’re not hard workouts and they’re not supposed to be hard.

Tuesdays will get tough soon, promise.

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I’d also check the power meter v virtual power in different zones, if you didn’t already. My own experience with Virtual Power is that the difference with a power meter got greater the greater the power.

Now I think some of that is single sided v (virtual) total power (as I see something similar to a lesser degree with my 4iii v my original Hammer smart turbo), but it’s taken me a few years of consistent training to get close to my virtual power numbers that I had as a newbie!

NB: just to clarify, my virtual power was the Elite Misuro B+ on my turbo muin, rather than TrainerRoad virtual power.