Olbrecht Workouts

After reading The Science of Winning, I’m trying to pull together a library of Aerobic Capacity/Aerobic Power/Anaerobic Capacity/ Anaerobic Power workouts.

Obviously number of sets depending on the usual training factors (ability/stage of season etc).

My initial thoughts are (limited examples):
Aerobic Capacity - LSD, 30/30s
Anaerobic Capacity - all out very short sprints with long recovery
Aerobic Power - 5 min VO2 with limited recovery
Anaerobic Power - all out short sprints with short recovery (shorter than Anaerobic Capacity sprints)

Anyone in the know, are these broadly on the right track?

What does Olbrecht say distinguishes aerobic capacity vs power? I use short 30/30s as an anaerobic capacity workout and long ones as repeated effort training.

1 Like

Broad aims:

He states aerobic capacity are long, low low intensity/high vol intervals with little rest WITH a few 30/30s thrown in at the start to “warm up” the oxidative IIa fibers

Aerobic power looks to be “race pace” for longer periods, and with less rest.

1 Like

I’ve tried looking at these and converting them into cycling training sessions but the sports are so different.
I think 30/30s and LSD are what he says are needed for aerobic capacity. This has been suggested by others.
What I don’t understand is that he says you cannot improve both capacity and power at the same time? So you cannot really do 30/30’s for Vo2 and sweetspot spot /threshold work in the same period?


Yes, I found the translation from swimming to cycling very difficult. The way I read it is that SS/Threshold would be a Aerobic Power workout, whereas 30/30s is for Capacity.

A lot of it comes down to rest and interval powers. E.g shorter rests during the Power sessions.

In the scientific triathlon podcast he advocates intense 30-45sec intervals with relatively long rests at z1 for aerobic capacity. The interval workout is followed by easy volume either the same session or the next day. The sample workout from swimming is 9x200m, the even reps have first 50m above vvo2max but i think olbrecht says all out. On the bike that would be 4 bouts with a long extensive tail at z1 to z2.

I have done 6-10 bouts myself.

I also question the strict separation between capacity and power development somewhat.

1 Like

Can you give an example of this session above for cycling?

It seemed to counter what Weber has said that short 30s all out efforts increase Vla max which is a side effect I do not want!

1 Like

Have done 6-10 x 30-45sec @ 500+w, recovery 2-3min.

I think olbrecht himself says this might raise vlamax. I accept this as collateral as i will not race this year.


How many weeks doing this session and how many times per week are you planning?

It’s a good year to try new things I suppose.

I have been doing 30/30s once per week and another Vo2 session (10 x 2mins with 2 mins rest) per week and the rest below LT1 ( either Z2 or some 80% FTP long intervals ) for around 6 weeks. It will be interesting to see what the retest results are.

I wi

Doing it for 8 weeks for now. Because of other commitments I usually dont plan in terms of weeks but blocks of 3-4 days, but 1-2 times a week would be close.

1 Like

For aerobic capacity, think Bays. I converted one to a 2 hour session, but any of the z2 workouts that have intermittent high power surges in them.

Anaerobic capacity, Charing or any of those other full gas efforst, with what is almost passive complete recovery between them.

Aerobic power is any of the 3-5 minute repeats we think of as VO2 max workouts. Let’s not forget that a 400m race is under 5 minutes and close to 4 minutes for high level swimmers, so 400m race pace is still a very hard effort.

Anaerobic power is any of the microburst repeats which are above 120%, very high power demand, with incomplete recovery. So spanish needle, ansel adams, san joaquin.