Outdoor VO2 Workout

So I’m doing my first VO2-Max workout outside today.
It seems that I should do the same watts riding outside that I would do inside.
We all know that 350 watts is easier outside than inside on the hometrainer.

So should i just follow the workout, and do the watts that it says, or do the other possibility that is riding the intervals RPE based?

I disagree, it’s much easier to do high watts on the trainer than on the road. I would just stick to the prescribed watts and see how it goes


I’m also on the “higher power outside team”. For me it is mainly due to the more efficient cooling outside. But as a general rule, I would do VO2max workouts at the highest possible repeatable power at a high cadence (ideally >110 rpm). Don’t overdo the power too much during the initial reps though, as you would like to still be able to finish the workout at the prescribed power (or at least at a power level where you are still breathing hard).

In cases of not knowing exactly how much power you can do for each interval, I normally start out a bit conservatively and follow the prescribed power for the first interval and adjust from there based on how I feel.

Have a search for “VO2max” in the forum and have a look down the rabbit hole of this topic…

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There is TONS of good advice on VO2 in this thread, including from some great coaches. I learned so much from it.


Stop treating power as prescriptive.

Use it as a target guidance and go by feel. There may be slight different philosophies to Vo2 Max sessions such as go hard and if you lose power towards the end fine, as long as you are working maximally, breathing maximally, or go for the max power you can sustain for your target number of sets. But whichever you choose (and not for longer sessions I tend to go with the latter, and for shorter once I tend to go higher cadence and more the former) you should do it by feel. If on the day you feel oh, I can go 5w higher than target, great, go higher.


Go max!


I follow what the outdoor workout says on my Garmin.

One reason is I don’t have the brain capacity to do watt math while doing intervals outdoors and my RPE isn’t a good approximation of watts.

Depending on the workout, I would do that for intervals. There is a difference between repeats and intervals. For repeats I do those as all-out, repeat when recharged and ready to do another all-out.

Hey @Astono,

It looks like you made it through in one piece! :sweat_smile: Nice job!

This is a good question, and as you can already see, there are a few different routes to go here.

I also feel like I can produce more power out on the open road than I can on the trainer, so you’re not alone there!

Workouts such as Bluebell +1 are a bit more forgiving than “traditional” VO2 Max ones in terms of the importance of your pacing strategy as it follows a 60/60 “On-Off” format. Regardless, I’d usually recommend sticking close to the target for the first couple of intervals, or maybe the first set in this case. You’ll know by then if the target is at a good place, and you can make any adjustments you might need (just like you would with an indoor workout) after that.

With VO2 Max workouts, there isn’t really a downside to going harder than the prescribed target as long as you’re able to follow the structure of the workout and keep knocking out each interval with good quality. If you start to fall behind and need more rest between intervals, it’s probably best to dial it back slightly.

What’s nice about having a prescribed power target for workouts like these is that it gives you a good starting point as to what you can likely sustain for the entirety of the workout. From there you can make adjustments as you see fit.

On/Off style workouts are more about working in the VO2 Max power zone rather than working at your true VO2 Max like a traditional 5x5 workout would, so you might not feel completely gassed after each interval, but you should feel like you definitely need a break at the end of each set. :woozy_face:

It looks like you did a really good job with this one! Some of your intervals averaged below the target and some were above, so I’d guess the target did actually serve as a good starting point. :+1:


Hi Eddie,

Thank you for your reply!

I tried my best to hit the target. It’s s bit harder outside, because there is also the traffic that you have to be very carefull about!

I followed the structure of the workout, and did my best to hit the target of the intervals. Because of the natural variation og the road, some intervals were a bit higher, and some lower. I think it was a good workout, and I guess they will only get better, as I try to do it more often!



Yeah, there are challenges with Outside Workouts aside from just doing the hard work. :sweat_smile:

Again, I’d say you did really well, so nice work!

It usually takes each athlete a while to adjust to doing structured work outside. Variances in terrain and traffic as you mentioned, as well as weather and everything else definitely make it more challenging than sitting on a trainer inside. :upside_down_face: This is a really great skill to have though, and is invaluable when it comes to racing or simply performing with specific power targets out in the real world.

You’ll likely find that there are certain roads and routes that work better for some workout types than others and you’ll probably have a list of places that you ride specifically for each different type of workout (VO2 Max, Threshold, Sweet Spot, Endurance, Recovery, etc).

Keep up the good work and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any other questions along the way! :handshake:

P.S. Here is a nice article that you might appreciate reading. :slightly_smiling_face:

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It will definitely be easier to do your training outdoors when you figure out which roads suit which workouts.

You have my heartfelt thanks, Eddie, for your response. It motivates me to keep going when I receive praise, so I am certainly eager to continue training outdoors.

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