Threshold Overs just VO2 Max Lite?

This is the first time I have went through the specialty phase so it is a new experience, but it really feels like I am getting 3 VO2 Max workouts in a week.

This is an example:


Link: Stevens +3

There are some contributing issues with me struggling to complete these types of workouts, but I was curious so thought I would ask the masses.

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Riding at 105% shouldn’t be making you breath like a vO2 max effort (or raise your heart rate like a v02 effort). It should be hard but not v02 hard. Uncomfortable for sure.

Also, doing a 106% block isn’t really a v02 block if you aren’t at max oxygen uptake. If you are at max 02 uptake and then after you analyze it your average power is 106% then fine (if it’s 105% your FTP is not set accurately).

I’m with you on this one; as it’s above threshold it’s only a matter of time until you max out on VO2, especially if FTP is slightly inflated.

That said it is a good workout likely to improve VO2max and the ability to keep a hard pace for longer but also a stepping stone for graduating to longer efforts slightly above threshold.

Any effort above 100% threshold will eventually lead to VO2max, it is just a matter of time.

This is not Over/Under work.


What makes you say this? In many cases we are talking less than 3 watt difference.

I found this workout to compare against.


Link: Estrela

I am honestly trying to look at this objectively and with curiosity. One of the major issues I am facing right now is cooling inside. May just need to get better ventilation for these and open my garage.

a “vo2 block” usually means intervals designed to stress the heart muscle. Really really hard intervals, well over threshold.

They have to draw the line between Threshold and V02 somewhere. 105%-106% being the transition is somewhat arbitrary as your body’s response heavily depends on the interval duration. In any case, if your threshold level is set correctly, a 4.1 is probably something that you should be able to complete. Riding just a bit above threshold can feel like steady state and then slowly bring about maximum oxygen uptake as the interval gets longer. I’d just work on moving up in the PLs and you’re going to get faster. Yes, you can get faster training in the gray areas.


Yes, suprathreshold work will lead to vo2 max like response due to the slow component. So yes - you are getting vo2 max work + taxing threshold work that can lead to reaching vo2max. And if your fractional utilisation is pretty high 105% FTP can be close to your vo2 max.


As others have said, the 105/106% cut-off in classification is not a reflection of a bright line in physiology. Same goes for SS/FTP cut-off percents. At 105ish% you may well hit VO2max (ie actual maximal oxygen consumption) if you are able to maintain it long enough due to the VO2max ‘slow component’, but I think this would be uncommon.
One’s FTP can be at different percents of VO2max, so % of FTP is not the best way to prescribe these intervals. Also, if your FTP is a few % off these really could be 107-108% of FTP, which then is getting much closer to ‘proper’ VO2max intensities.
Here is a video on the VO2max slow component that I found quite interesting:

I really like this channel and find the videos quite informative.

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These 2 workouts look very similar to me. 106% for 5min or 105% for 6min… similar rest/work ratio. I would not expect them to trigger different responses. Anybody with a better understanding than me on that type of efforts?
Maybe for somebody with a higher vlmax, but mine is abysmal so i’m already mostly long effort on that type of workout.

Oh, and for the original question, cooling has a huge impact on heartrate. I would fix that problem first and see how it goes.


You can get in the weeds in how you define Stevens +3, but I’d be looking at the bigger picture. If the plan is giving you more than 2 high intensity days/week, that’s a ton of training stress to keep up with week after week. I think the most recent research points to 2 high quality days per week of high intensity work (SS, threshold, VO2 and above) the rest should be Z1/2.

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I will keep this in mind. I am nearing my main event for this year, but will look to not over do things after that as I enter the base phase again. I think it comes back to the idea that you have to be careful with the goals for the week get one or two real hard workouts then let that third one be hard but doable.

I am letting this be a learning experience :slight_smile:

Also learning to say Fudge Your Ego and reduce the PL at times to get things back on track.

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Check some of the other recent forum posts about v02 intervals.

Work about FTP should not be done in erg mode nor should they % of FTP to be effective. It is more of a post hoc analysis than “these 3 minute effort should be done at 110% of FTP). TR just designs v02 PLs this way for progression.

So doing something for 5 minutes at 106% would be VERY different than doing a 5 minute interval at max effort. And will yield different results.

So doing 5 minutes at 105% should not bring about the same feelings and most importantly the same RPE as v02 work

This is actually why I am asking this question. I was reading some other posts like this one:

and it made me question Threshold Overs.

Just so I understand you are taking the approach of post effort analysis then? Followed by longer breaks if need until you have recovered for the next effort? You still need a reference point to pace that effort and % of FTP is the simplest form in my eyes. I mean I could take the approach of trying to hold 115%- 120% FTP for as long as possible then letting it fall over the course of the effort as I am hitting the max effort level for my VO2 efforts that is.

Re: over unders. I think that HR isn’t the only variable. For it to be true v02 work you need to be breathing like a fish out of water for it to be truly v02 sustained work.

So if HR is going to 90% of max for any number of reasons during an O/U but breathing is regulated and RPE is 7-8/10 it is not v02 work.

About the other question. Yes, post effort analysis. Obviously you can’t go for an all out 10 second effort if your goal is a 4 minute effort but it should be paced as as hard as I can maintain for 4 minutes. So even with a hard start (which I do) you need to just go as hard as you can with high cadence for 4 minutes. Yes, there will be a drop off in power but it doesn’t matter if you’re gasping for air by the end. These should be 9/10 on RPE. Shooting for a %ftp is self limiting. Put it in resistance mode. Go hard as you can for the time allotted. Then you can look at what power you averaged after.

Usually when I do it the first few are around 120% ftp and by the end they’re 111-113% because I’m so fatigued. But my breathing is ragged for all the intervals the same.

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When looking closely at the differences between VO2max and Threshold workouts, the systems targeted often go beyond just the percentages of intensity (even though they can feel equally difficult at times!).

@patrickhill alludes to this, but when thinking of the overarching goals of those zones, there are some general guidelines separating the two.Sweet Spot and Threshold systems rely upon accumulation to achieve the intended goals of the workout, while VO2max intervals aim to increase the time you spend at peak aerobic uptake, and these can both be accomplished in relatively short intervals.
However, since rest has such a big impact on resetting your time at peak aerobic uptake for VO2max workouts, it relies more strictly upon the assigned work/rest timeframes than the accumulation of work thats required in Sweet Spot and Threshold workouts.Finally, those training interruptions you experienced leading into this block will definitely have an impact on how these efforts feel , and you’re right that they could be contributing to their perceived difficulty.

The good news is: your FTP did not drop (in fact, AI FTP Detection shows a slightly higher result for you right now!). You just need a few more workouts to bounce back, and it’s good to see that Adaptive Training is calibrating and making those adjustments accordingly as a result of your survey results and workout changes.

Focus on recovery as you do these final steps in ‘sharpening the blade’ of the tools you’ve already built, keep answering your surveys honestly, and AT will keep serving you what you need to kill it for these next couple events!


Thanks to everyone that has taken part in this exercise with me. This has been very informative :slight_smile: