Scaling up interval time for vo2

So I took a bit of a step back and did Baird today, 1min intervals at 120%. I’ve also successfully done Bluebell and Bashful in the not too distant past (June), gets challenging toward the end of each set but most definitely doable. I’m historically bad at really nailing the 2-3min stuff.

Was curious if anyone has taken a slower progression to getting to the 3min 120% intervals, perhaps by doing a couple of weeks with 1min intervals at 120%, a couple of weeks with workouts with 90sec intervals, etc. as opposed to just jumping up each week or doing something like Bluebell, Baird or Bashful 2 times in one week. Ultimately this is a bit of an offshoot of that mini vo2 plan that has been floated here in the forum.

I’m trying not to get overly focused on the vo2 stuff, as there are other types of intervals I need to do for CX racing, just thinking through ways to more gradually improve and adapt to increasing the time at 120%

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Interested in this as well - I’m ok with anything 90s or less, but 2 and 3 mins are really stretching my capabilities. I had Kaiser scheduled this morning and found 45 reasons not to do it.

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When was the last time you did the longer VO2 efforts, and what were you doing before them that made you think you were bad at them?

I remember starting build this year and dreading the longer VO2 intervals, because last year they were where I fell apart and starting failing the plan.

Good reason for that looking back - loads of fatigue and dieting at the same time.

This time round I was enjoying the shorter intervals, but soon it was time for the longer stuff and deep down I really thought I’d fail. Perfectly fine. Ate well the last two weeks of build and smashed them like they were a cakewalk. Same with the over unders. Entirely different experience to the yea before where I was just a complete mess.

To me you sound afraid of the 2-3 min stuff, hence looking for a more gradual progression. Might be wrong though, but I’ve been there and thought things similar to what you’re saying :slight_smile:

I’ve been doing the 2-3 min stuff for CX training, did Dade -1 a couple of weeks back and Hurd -2 last week and even scaled down the intensity, but personally have trouble really powering through and too much backspinning toward the latter parts of intervals. So for me it’s trying to find the bridge between easily handling a whole workout of 1min 120% intervals to being able to get through the majority of 2-3min stuff without succumbing to the burn and powering through the burn.

Could also try lowering the intensity a bit (not more than 5%), and keep the duration the same. Could be that your vo2 zone is just a little bit closer to your ftp, and whats 120% ftp for one person, is more like 125% for you.

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This sounds so condescending but it’s not meant to be :wink: Don’t over think it. If you can do the 90 second interval sets, two minutes is well within reach.

I like VO2 but Dade+1 this morning really pushed me. My approach is to just plug-in and play. I don’t study the workout and let the numbers get into my head. Instead I jump on the trainer and say ‘this is about repeatability.’ Once my form drops, I’ll drop the intensity. 120% is a guide. Your VO2 might be 117 or 115%. Experiment and settle on ‘that’ figure.

I’m sure that Coach Chad emphasises repeatability in almost all the VO2 workouts. Try starting off at 115% and nudge things up if it’s too easy.

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I think you should go the other way with something like Dorr +5. For VO2max work it’s less important what absolute power you are at and more important what physiologic state your muscles are in. You want the muscle to be in a ‘VO2max state’…or past the point where a certain level of oxygen content is in the blood circulating through the muscle. You can achieve that for longer than you think with power levels that are lower than you think.

Do Dorr +5…after the initial high power portion of each VO2max interval adjust power on the fly to keep your heart rate at or over ~93% of HRM. You can rack up many minutes at VO2max if you take this approach. Billat published some whopping long intervals at VO2max in this fashion.

You may have to extend the duration of the first high power start to something more like 90 seconds…but if you don’t want to go to the trouble you’ll get about the same results from the 2nd interval anyhow.

Wonder what time of day you do these intervals.

For me to do a lengthy VO2 interval in the morning is hellish, though I see guys doing them fasted at 6am!

For me I feel like my lungs are ready late afternoon to early evening. Something I might fail in the morning is smashable merely hours later.

What @splash says might be true though, it can simply be a case of your VO2 being relatively close to your FTP and you’re doing a harder interval that the plan assumes.

Have a look at this:

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I failed at Spencer 6 x 3 min at 120% of FTP this spring at the end of SSB2 low volume. I have spent the summer doing 2.5 hr rides 3 x week and Coach Chad’s VO2 progression. I did Spencer today and was able to complete all of the intervals. ( 65 years old, riding for 15 months after a 10 year layoff)


just jump in. doing 1m isn’t going to burn off enough anaerobic contribution, so 3m will still suck just as much