LEGS screaming at VO2 intervals

did a 3min VO2 interval yesterday at 118% FTP… ( Mist +2)

Legs start screaming during last min…reduced effort% to 96% with heart still up…( finishing at Max HR)

Whats your feeling are what should i be feeling?

rpm between 95-100

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Sounds about right. That’s VO2 work! Good job.:+1:


Agreed, my legs are usually screaming at me. I need to get better at working through the screaming, despite having done this type of training for a while.

Speaking of legs during hard intervals, yesterday I did some 30/30’s and my right quad seemed to be more fatigued than my left as things got really hard. I’ve always assumed I was right dominant, but I now have a left only pedal power meter with my Hammer and my power was consistent on both measurements. Makes me wonder if it’s a physiological thing or a fit thing.

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First minute I’d always great for me in these workouts, the last minute I’m really hurting.

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The last minute should be pretty awful. It’s the nature of VO2 work. At least they make FTP work feel easier.

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but the reason is to increase HR above 90% of max… why should i be feeling heavy leg pain? i suppose if i decrease effort% i will still be working Vo2

I’m the opposite. My legs are “fine”. It’s my cardio that hits its limit during VO2.


From what I’ve learned, VO2max ranges vary greatly with individuals; some folks have a really hard time doing 110% FTP while others can do 125%+ for 3 minutes. I can do Spencer +2 at 125% FTP and feel good about it, but doing threshold or sweet spot work, like Mary Austin -1, absolutely destroys me.

3 min intervals at VO2max, your legs should be screaming for the last minute. That’s when you either go to the dark places or abide by rule 5. Did Ansel Adams +4 yesterday - 50/40s above VO2max range - and on about 20 of the 24 intervals, my legs were balls of fire for the last 15-20s. Part of the game is being able to work through that.


Personally, 3 minutes is a big ask to complete at target - I’ve only managed it by following a gradual weekly build. i.e. sets at 90 seconds on week 1, 2 minutes on week 2, etc. Have you just jumped in or tried working your way up?

In my experience I also really have to lift the cadence, around 110 to get 3 minutes done.

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If you don’t want to be dead at the end of the interval you didn’t do a VO2Max interval.


My legs scream just as well. No way around it but to keep turning those pedals. The pain is just temporary and relief is coming. Don’t give up, try and shut out the pain and focus on the techniques you have learned with all the previous drills, kick and pull. The technique helps me process the high levels of lactate and acidic buildup in the legs. You can do it, it’s part mental as well. I even tell myself when my legs are screaming… “I can do this”, “You got this”, “Go Go Go”, “Don’t give up”, “Never give up”, “Relief is coming”. Yeah and sometimes I grunt and and groan, but I don’t quit, and I won’t quit. Keep going, you will be stronger physically and mentally in the end.

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I have 3 x 6 mins at 110% tomorrow. The end of the second will be a minute of pain, on the third I can only finish by mentally experiencing the top of a climb or end of a race as a win and push on. I usually need a sit down afterward.

Think positively throughout, it’s been proven to give you a bit extra.

I think it depends on goal of session. If it’s to get time at 95% or > of pVO2max, hr be damned. U got hit it and git it. Those int’s are generally less than 4 min’s and they hurt.

I have Dade -1 on tap for tomorrow (2 min @ 120% 372w). I did this recently on Jul 12th and it did not go well, did the first set of 3, 2nd set slowly became a disaster on the 2nd interval and did a 3rd interval at 342w, and then skipped the last set of 3. In contrast, last September I did Dade -1 at what was then 120% (330w) and got through them fine, maybe a little too cleanly. Hoping tomorrow will be a little more successful and power through the burn instead of succumbing to it!

Just replying to myself here lol I did Dade -1, I dialed it down before hand to 115% and after a couple of 2min intervals dialed it down to 110%. It was still really tough but I got through most of the intervals without any pauses. However, now I have Assioma Uno pedals to compare to my Hammer (haven’t quite committed to using the Assioma as the power source) and looking at the intervals I saw the following:

Hammer 357w (115%) - Assioma 370w (119%)
Hammer 340w (109%) - Assioma 353w (114%)

The Assiomas are usually 5ish watts higher under other conditions I’ve observed, interesting to see them about 13w apart today for these. I noted above that I though I was right dominant, so maybe I’m more left oriented at vo2 power. Either way, I’ve still got a ways to go to work through the serious burn that starts to accumulate after 1min

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If you are hitting your HR max at the end of the first interval it looks like you are going too hard. The objective I thought on VO2 max intervals was not to kill yourself quickly but spend as long as possible at 90% of HRmax. Hitting 100% to soon just cooks you


I have found that is an extremely effective approach (I used that over the winter), particularly when you are new to VO2Max efforts or if it has been a long time since having done them.

I love VO2 work but 3 minutes at 120% always raises an eyebrow. I’d never just jump into a workout like that. I need a couple of build up sessions to get my mind in the right place.

Just remember that you can dial things down at the start and gradually build things up. The more you do VO2, the more you understand about your VO2 range.

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this is part of cycling, embracing the suffering. Don’t decrease the %; suffer through at 118% for the full 3 minutes if you can!

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