Replace VO2 or Threshold workout with outdoor ride

I have a weekly spirited group (1+ IF e.g. Which weekday workout should I replace, the VO2 Max or Threshold?

Background: I’m 41 years old and assume I can benefit greatly from VO2 max. But the ride has plenty of VO2 max rolling hills and finishes with a 20 min Threshold paceline on the flats. I’m moving into the Build Phase and plan to do GBLV. This plan has only two weekday workouts, VO2 Max and Threshold.

edit: made the above link public

Without looking at the ride, my immediate thought is - don’t ditch the vo2 session. A properly structured vo2 session is IMO the best bang for your buck of any single workout, so it’d be a big blow to your training if you lost it.


Without being able to see the ride I would assume your ftp might be slightly too low and I would count this as threshold. How long was the ride at 1+ IF, and are there a lot of short climbs and then rests like an NP buster?

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As a rule of thumb, most group rides are poor replacements for structured VO2 work. The efforts aren’t long enough to maintain a large oxygen debt unless you purposely go sit in the front for 3-5 minutes at a time, and that tends to blow the group apart anyway.


my bad. made the above ride public.

I made the ride public, but a quick summary:

  • 2hr ride
  • my FTP 185W
  • avg 137W
  • NP 201W
  • IF 1.09

The ride format is mostly threshold with some short attacks on climbs (so yes many short hard hills, followed by a manageable pace), a 6 min paceline of sprint-setup to then sprint to the county line, a 4 min all-out climb, then 17 min threshold paceline on the flats all the way back. To keep pace with the group on the sprints, climbs and pace line I have to work pretty hard. Maybe that’s the NP buster.

Fellow DCer here, gotta love that route :slight_smile: Truthfully, this isn’t a great replacement for either - it doesn’t replicate the muscular endurance targeted by threshold workouts, though it might be hard enough to keep you in the oxygen debt territory that vo2 work aims for, so that would be my recommendation if you had to pick one. You could also factor this in when choosing what to do on the weekend. If you get one indoor threshold session, one indoor vo2 session, and this ride in every week that’s a lot of intensity, so maybe you can do on the weekend what you missed during the week.

As an aside, 1.09 IF for 2 hours is definitely a sign that you’re underestimating your FTP. Might be time for a ramp test :muscle:

Agreed, if you’re spending 25% of a 2 hour ride in “anaerobic” I would guess that your ftp is higher than what you have it set at.

No, I would never swap a group ride for a vo2 structured training workout. just do them back to back and tell your buddies that’s why you cant pull :wink:

too many wildly variable factors in the group rides and even on the 20 minute threshold, drafting or wind can turn it into a Tempo or Threshold effort.

There always has to be the acknowledgement that swapping the workout will mean a lesser quality workout, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing. If the group ride is fun and motivating and he knows he can’t do that ride plus two indoor workouts during the week, I think he’d be best off swapping out the vo2, even though it isn’t exactly the same as doing an indoor structured vo2 session.

Yup, it’s fun route and weekly motivating ride. Good group of people! And the only weekday I can do a group ride.

RE: moving it to another weekday, I’m not sure my body can take on 3 hard weekday rides and a hard weekend ride. That would be a decent bump in TSS depending on the weekend ride.

RE: moving it to weekend I was planning to do the 90 min Saturday ride on the weekend or a long outdoor ride.

RE: FTP I am in week 5 of SSBLV2, so I’ll retest soon.

If you have a 90 min anaerobic ride planned on Saturday, I might switch that out for the +1 version of whichever weekday ride you skipped. Your ride file is like 25% anaerobic, so you’re hitting that system plenty hard with the group ride. If you can do a vo2 session and a threshold session indoors, plus that group ride, that’s a great week.

Good luck on the test, I’d be you’ll be happy with the result.

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I would keep in the VO2 indoors, unless you can string together some 3 minute efforts, but really you’ll only be able to do that on MacArthur blvd. Every other portion of that route, the terrain is too variable and lots of stops.

Thanks, good idea. I’m planning to do just this. I moved all the VO2 sessions (Tues workout first half, Thurs workout second half) to Monday, to front-load the week. I still plan to do my Weds outdoor ride. The weekend will have Threshold and OU workouts planned on Saturday, but ideally I’ll do a long outdoor ride with friends that day, weather permitting.