I pulled the plug on LV Build a while back. I was really struggling with VO2 max - not from an oxygen uptake perspective but from a muscular endurance perspective. It felt like my legs were just getting very fatigued before I got anywhere near VO2 max. And one VO2 max session seemed to wreck my legs for the rest of the week.
I decided to do a 4 week custom plan focusing on muscular endurance through a weekly combination of longer and longer sweet spot intervals (4x10 → 3x15 → 2x25 with 2 min break → 3x20 with 2 mins break); a 2 hour trainer endurance ride every week and threshold over-under progressions.
That’s gone pretty well and now I need to work out what to do next.
My overall goal is to keep lifting my ftp - i Think there are still gains to be had there. From what I’ve read, working on my VO2 max should help lift my ftp.
jump into SSBLV2 and progress to build, which has a fair bit of VO2 in it
jump straight into build
put together a custom plan of VO2 max progressions
I’m open to all options.
For 2, which build programme would be recommended? Short power build?
For 3 - a custom plan, I don’t know what that would look like? Not just the VO2 progressions themselves, but the workouts for the rest of the week. I’ve seen other forum posts like Vo2 progression: my experience so far, but these seem very focused on doing just VO2. I’d prefer a mix as I also don’t want to lose touch with all the fitness I’ve build up over the last 4 weeks.
I’d do a combo of 2 and 3, which is what I had to do after Coach Chad was throwing too hard of vo2 max intervals at me (i’m on HV General Build). I think we’re all different, both physically and how we psychologically respond to very hard intervals, so when your plan gives you vo2 max intervals, find a replacement that you think you can achieve. I suggest either shorter intervals that descend after holding for 30-60 seconds or 40-60 second on/offs. These at least are easier for me than 3 min intervals (which is the goal though). You can also look for longer vo2 max intervals that are lower on the vo2 max scale-- 105-110%. Read up on how you’re supposed to feel, breath, react to vo2 max intervals and tune into what length and % you personally have to get to feel that effect.
I have found that VO2max type efforts are the ones that best lend themselves to tinkering to find what works for me. You have so many levers to play with, and some combinations crush my soul while others are achievable. I think there’s a lot to be learned from spending 3 weeks experimenting with these types of workouts.
One of the big variables you might explore are “conventional” vs. “short-short” workouts. Conventional workouts have work intervals of 2-4 minutes, usually with recovery intervals of similar duration to the work interval. You do about 4-6 of these in a workout. These were the basis of Chad’s progression suggestions in the forum posts. For me, these little bastards hurt.
“Short-shorts” have you doing a bunch of harder, shorter (15-40 seconds) work intervals with short recovery intervals, and you keep going back and forth for several minutes. There’s no “rule” to what duration or power you’ll need to get into the same gasping-for-air state. Chad has mentioned on the podcast that he really likes these. Some good ones to try are Clouds Rest, Brasted, and Rundle, and for a somewhat different take, look at Rattlesnake. Each of these has lots of variants, too.
As you might imagine, there are unlimited strongly-held opinions about which approach is “best,” and whether these even challenge your VO2max at all. Don’t let that stop you from riding your bike and figuring out what works for you.