Spencer + 2 at altitude

I know there are several threads on how tough this workout is but I wanted to share my experience last night as the results shook me quite a bit.

So I live in Colorado (7300 ftt elevation) and have been doing TR plans for several years now. I’m on the Sweet spot base low volume and have VO2 max Tuesday workout progressed to Spencer + 2 (6x 3 mins 120% VOs Max with 4 min rests). I have been able to complete all previous workouts and did not expect any issues for Spencer + 2 (outside it being hard. I do my workouts in my basement (it’s a former golf cart garage so enclosed but drafty which helps for workouts). I also have a large fan pointed at me.

1st interval - hard but completed at expected numbers
2nd interval - harder but also completed without issues (usually I feel like my body has warmed up after the second interval and the rest are going to be harder but doable)
3rd interval - Hard but also completed but after it ended I needed to get off the bike as I felt like legs and lungs were fine but there was no oxygen going to my brain. Walked around a little and eventually just ran out of the house into the cold night to try to get more oxygen. It was a feeling of panic/drowning that I could not control. After a few minutes and just thinking about it freaks me out as I could not control the situation.

I was ok later and got on the bike and was able to do 3 mins at 80 % and then just spun for 20 mins. Later in the night the feeling was coming over me again so I just walked outside the house.

I have been in touch with my doctor and will have a check up tomorrow. No other scary symptoms and while I understand there could be other reasons in play that I will hopefully figure out soon, my question is, is VO2 MAX workout particularly at 3 minutes or longer, not recommended depending on altitude ?


PS I hesitated writing this as I know there could be other things that could have happened but wanted to see if anyone has experienced anything similar.

I’m not a doctor, but sounds a bit like a panic attack, which I say somewhat in jest, Spencer +2 is a pretty scary thing. Panic Attacks are very common and even folks who do not suffer from them regularly can be in situations that are just beyond their control and once it starts, it kind of snowballs. I don’t suffer from these other than very rare palpatations, so I can’t truly describe what someone that goes through these regularly feels like, but I’m sure it is scary. Someone can keep me honest, but even though you may feel like your dying, if it is a panic attack, I don’t think it’s physically dangerous.

As far as Spencer goes, it’s a big jump. The IF is .92 which is the hardest workout in the base phase. Technically it’s harder than a ramp test done to completion so it will be a shock to the system. I don’t think the step up from the prior week is really sufficient to prepare you for it. The jump from a declining 2 minute effort to a 3 minute effort can be overwhelming.

Thanks! I’m actually hoping it’s a panic attack as the alternatives seem a bit more dire and I did not seem to exhibit any symptoms of those.

You’re right, the previous workout was Mills which is a declining 2 min VO2 max workout.

All I know is this is the last time something similar happened was about 5 years back when we first moved to CO and I had done a hard ride outside with head covering and a helmet of and I felt like I need to breath out of the top of my head. I adjusted my training this year due to other priorities and that’s why I’m at the low volume as opposed to previous years Medium or even high volume workouts so maybe I’m also not that fit.

Also wondering if the relative lack of oxygen at my elevation would be another trigger for an attack as I got off the bike not really feeling anxious until the lack of air thing started emerging