That Triathlon Show | EP#169 - FTP, VO2max and VLaMax

I think it’s mostly the explosive strength training that is a big stimulus for VLaMax. So I would remove that if lowering VLaMax is a target. My hunch is that pure low-rep high-weights lifting is ok as long as the explosive component isn’t there. But it would be best to monitor and keep an eye on this for sure, especially if you don’t see the expected results.

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And an important thing to note here is that by threshold we really mean your physiological anaerobic threshold, were lactate production equals lactate combustion. I would not use FTP because I think for the vast majority of us, with the standard FTP-tests used the FTP we get really is higher than our anaerobic threshold. If you want to do a field test, do an hour time trial (like Alan Couzens is a famous proponent of, for good reason).


You’re right, but I would say that for VO2max specifically there are some arguments (good research studies) for why threshold intervals might also be good at improving VO2max. So I don’t think it’s a bad idea to do e.g. 1 x VO2-intervals and 1 x threshold intervals (or something in between threshold and VO2max, those 5-8 minute supra-threshold intervals) as the quality workouts of a training week.

But this is where it still comes down to the art of coaching or self-coaching. Trying something out, see if it works, rinse and repeat. If it doesn’t, then perhaps doing 2 x VO2max intervals per week and see if that extra time clse to VO2max is the stimulus needed to trigger adaptations.

I guess what I’m saying is, if we know that our focus is on VO2max, not VLaMax, we can probably say with quite good confidence that Sweet Spot isn’t going to be our best pathway forward. However, we still need to decide whether we go the volume route or intensity route (or combined, which would be preferred) to increase VO2max, and what the intense workouts might be. Prior experience here can help narrow down the options even further.

@Mikael_Eriksson I’m not a triathlete and never have any interest in becoming one but advice like this has me listening to your podcasts.

You always seem to circle back after the academic discussion to the simple fact that consistent training is the best way for amateur athletes to improve.

Long live the 60min threshold test.


Great summary @abalakov!

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Thanks, and yes, it’s important to remember that message. That’s how people got super fast long before there were power meters, GPS-watches, lactate tests or computers after all.


I had precisely the same thought. This explains why SSB works for the vast majority of TR users.

I don’t expect too much insight in knowing my precise values, but I made an appointment for an INSCYD diagnostic anyhow. Simply because I can (its around the corner) and I like the concept.

Thank you @Mikael_Eriksson

Except perhaps given this

and the vast majority of TR riders do base their threshold figures on short tests as proxy for anaerobic threshold it might be more accurate to say that’s why threshold, or work just above it, works for the vast majority of TR users rather than sweet spot.

I am not sure I got your thought.

My point was that Sweet Spot (based on TRs FTP tests) probably is Threshold in physiologic reality.

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And considering this

Does this mean that SSB training in TR actually is around the „physiological anaerobic threshold„?

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Ok, you guys are hilarious (and perhaps correct). But to be fair, “medio/sweetspot” (even based on what is more likely a physiological threshold) is also useful. You got all yer bases covered here at the ole TrainerRoad.

Maybe that’s why I love riding 83% FTP. I mean, when I do that, I don’t even need to turn them into intervals. Just ride.


In that case I’m agreeing with you. Perhaps I read your post too quickly!

Absolutely and perhaps even more so than sweet spot work based on a shorter test.


So this basically explains why training has developed over the years into the way we have been told to train.

Z2 base miles to get your body ready for some more difficult workloads.

Then you do lots of tempo/SS to lower your VLaMax and raise the floor of your FTP.

Finally some VO2max efforts to raise the ceiling of your FTP.

Result: peak FTP.

Now we have some updated terminology to apply to basic training principles.


Ratio of your VO2 max power and FTP is one input you could use. Eg what % of FTP is your max 5 min power?

If your VO2 max power is 125% of FTP, you might have higher VLaMax. And also maybe skew fast twitch muscle fibers, and carb burning.

If your VO2 max power is 115% of FTP, you might have lower VLaMax. And also maybe skew slow twitch muscle fibers and fat burning.

I think to use this interpretation, your FTP needs to actually be your MLSS power… so a 60 min test or some other long duration.

I think the ramp test won’t work, as the result from the ramp test I think is driven by both MLSS (or “true” long-test FTP) and Anaerobic contribution. Whereas what you want to isolate to use the interpretation above is MLSS power.

I think this is the kind of information TrainerRoad needs to build into Athlete profiles. I think it’s doable with the right tests on the trainer I.e. don’t need to absolutely go to a lab to determine ermine these points.

The other test TR I think needs to figure out is how to determine LT1. Ie the point where anaerobic metabolism starts to increase. Not sure the best test for this, but I’m sure some smart minds could figure something out!

So in summary, if you knew the following three results, I think it would be a pretty good start at building an athlete profile, and using that to inform training:

  1. Power at MLSS, or FTP over an appropriately long test e.g. 60 minutes.
  2. Power at VO2 max, as % of FTP
  3. Power at LT1, as % of FTP.

So that would give you your profile - then you’d need to pick the best training to move the needle on whatever metric you are targeting/prioritizing.

By the way, I think This is along the lines of what INSCYD does…


On my commute last night I caught the last 10 mins of the podcast and realised that @Mikael_Eriksson actually provides the INSCYD testing. From looking at the INSCYD testing page on his website you can see that the VLaMax, VO2max etc. is calculated based on the power file from a single critical power test which includes:

  • 15-second sprint test.
  • 4-minute overpaced Time Trial.
  • 20-minute overpaced Time Trial.

So theoretically this is something that TR might be able to provide us with at some stage in the future.

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This good news. Looking forward to see this implemented. Good info!

One comment for that really good post. The ramp test is basically a function of your vo2 max. Because it is a faster ramp than other tests there may still be some more anaerobic contribution but that is the reason for the penalty if you go higher than the prescribed power. Ftp is estimated as always being .75 of your 1 min peak. I think it should work out to .84 of your 6 minute from the test assuming you were close to your target during earlier steps.

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I agree but I think it gives more than that. It goes a long to explaining why there are “outliers” to a particular training regime and more importantly and indicates in the right direction for them to go. It also, if done regularly, points to when a particular phase of training may have maxed out and again points the new direction to take.

Just took a look at the page you linked to. Very interesting stuff. Seems like some smart people have already figured out the testing needed👍🏼

By the way, any insight into how you actually pace an overpaced time trial? I assume it’s not just a wingate test lasting 4 or 20 minutes :tired_face: