Not another VO2max thread

Sorry I know, I’ve searched through many other Vo2max threads but I can’t find the direct answer I need. Throughout time I’ve been rubbish at “long” 6-12 min at VO2max power or Z5. My coach knows this and we’ve had discussions but he insists on then for mid level competitive climbing for MTB Marathons / because I asked him to improve my climbing.

As noted on other threads here I’ve had a lot of success this year reverting to traditional rather than reverse periodisation.

So here I am, struggling to get through 3 x 10 mins at 105%. My question is twofold; Do I carry on trying? And is it doing me good to carry on with the basis of:

i) I can get through the first 10 mins - tick
ii) I get through about 6 mins of the second interval, need a 30s break, then can complete the final 3:30
iii) I get through the third interval in bursts of 3 mins at 105%, 30s off then go again.

I achieve roughly 24 mins at Z5, and 20 mins at V02max HR.



If you aren’t comfortable asking your coach about this why do you have a coach?

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Does this mean 24min @ power and 20min @ HR?

If you aren’t comfortable asking your coach about this why do you have a coach?

I am comfortable - as I mentioned I’ve discussed this with him. Z5 power is a weakness of mine, but he’s asking me to push through. I’d like some other opinions on weather my enforced-by-painful-legs breaks in the long intervals are compromising me much.

Edit: I should note my cardio is fine, I’m not struggling to breathe, focus etc its pure lactic / leg pain.


You probably won’t improve it by trying to hammer out 3x10min @ 105% every time and failing. Almost every training program is based on increasing progressions.

Figure out shorter/less intense intervals which will allow you to work up to 3x10. Spend some time looking through the TR ‘Threshold’ workout library, or examining the ‘Sustained Power Build’ plan for progression ideas.

Good luck.

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OK thanks, I appreciate your input.

How does minutes accumulated at 105% differ in long / short intervals where the latter would bring improvement and the former would not?

105% is threshold. Being at 105% is not very different than being at 95% as far as the adaptations that the body goes through. The longer continuous effort that you go through the more muscle fibers that are going to get fatigued and you’ll recruit more of your muscle.


Do you have to stop at 6 minutes into the second interval every time? How often have you tried?

Really that’s a question for your coach, maybe they’re ok with what you achieve in tiz.

3x10min @ 105% is (assuming) your end goal.

The shorter intervals are about bringing improvements which will deliver you to that final goal.

Think in terms of FTP. You don’t start at 200w FTP and look 9 months down the road at your goal of 300w FTP and then start training on Day 1 based on 300w.

Also, the shorter intervals don’t have to be drastic, e.g. 15x2min on/5min off. Maybe try 10min as 2x5min on/1min off @ 105%. That “off” segment will reduce the adaptations, however, the reduction is going to be minimal. And, as above, the goal of the shorter structures is to deliver you to the final goal.

No. I’m about to start my 6th session tonight in the current block. It does / has been progressively better, last time I did this block I cleaned 3 x 10 by the end of the training block. I’ll usually start by not completing the first interval, then completing the first but only managing 4 mins of the second, then 5 mins, then 6, then the whole interval etc so its a progressive thing.

I’m just a bit rubbish at the Z5 power, its always been an issue for me. The reason I asked the question was that on Monday I bailed after Saturday and Sunday ride / z2 respectively, so decided to do 30/30 to get time at Z5 in and completed 7 of those (after already posting 2 x 10 mins continuous at 105%) quite easily. So its the duration that cause me the issue.

Thanks everyone thats really helped my understanding.

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I don’t think that your FTP is as high as you think it is.


In your situation (coached athlete) I’d suggest considering a second opinion if you really want to get an informed answer. There are many coaches that offer consultations that include a review of your training history and data. Here is one option: and there are other well known coaches that offer consultations.

There is a real limit to crowd sourcing an answer from other cyclists on a forum.

Good luck!

Well by bizarre coincidence I just went out to the mancave and competed 3x10 at 108%.

I pulled a lot of funny faces, but did make it. shrug

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If you are progressing toward the goal, I’m not sure what the problem is. If my first workout in build (after a long base period) was 3x10’x105%, I’d certainly fail miserably after doing zero work over FTP for the previous months. I was looking at my build cycle (hv sustained) from earlier in the year and the v02max stuff is very progressive. The final week had 4x10x105%, but I got to that point through shorter or smaller numbers of intervals.

Maybe I just didn’t know I’m allowed to fail a it’s a target not a given? I’ll ask my coach that question.

when in doubt, post on the forum or do a group workout! :joy:

Yeah, a good discussion. All coaches have different opinions/approaches and it somewhat depends on the mental makeup of the athlete as well. From my perspective, there is nothing wrong with failing a workout here and there. Everyone has bad days and it also shows that you are being challenged. That said, I’d find it really demotivating if I was failing every other workout and I’d be looking for my coach to adjust the plan/approach at that point.

Well, from starting this “season” from November last year, these are the first and only workouts I’ve failed on average 10hrs a week every non-rest week, and tonight I’ve made it. I’m in a good mood this year and with a Zwift TTT tomorrow, a rest day then a Z2 weekend I’m looking forward to nailing these VO2max intervals once again next Monday!


Well thats it, I’m done. I worked my way up to 3 x 10 mins at 4wkg - which at my current FTP is about 112% - on Tuesday, then got 30mins into a 50 min time trial and my legs gave up on me. In the last 2 months I’ve done 20hrs of VO2max per month and 10+ hours of endurance - 33hours and 1000km per month.

I’m always amazed how coaches can accurately time the fatigue, as I now rest on a couple of sweet spot efforts and some Z2 before some short intervals to pre-empt my next FTP test in 7 days. I’m very glad of getting over the hump of this years Vo2max build. Hopefully I can now “bounce” into 4wkg FTP!