Time away from VO2 max efforts

I am currently doing the SS Base high volume, and have this concern in the back of my mind that I haven’t done any high power output in quite some time, and wont be doing any for a while. The concern simply being that I will lose form in these areas while doing the base phase. My strengths are 1-5 min power with a good 20 min…and a ok sprint.

High end power is the quickest to lose and quickest to gain. The stamina and strength you are building now takes the longest to develop.


Thanks Erick, so you are saying I shouldn’t worry and just trust the system?

Yes. Your build and specialty phases will give you your top end back. But bigger since you have an aerobic engine to support it.


Research shows that it is sufficient to do a high intensity work once every 10 days to keep your high end. Why not throw in a Vo2max workout every 10 days? This does not have to be a super hard workout, e.g. keep the rest intervals long.


One of the big VO2 researchers (name escapes me, sorry) did a 10 week study and found most of the gains came in the first 3 weeks. That’s like a dozen workouts, tops, to get zippy again. :+1:

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But why start from scratch again?

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Examples of how pros throw in some intensity at this time of the year. This is not much:



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That is a good thought, I think I will try that just to make sure the high end is still in check

I dont know about throwing in a VO2 session in SS High Volume… If you feel you are absorbing all that TSS effectively then go for it.

Look at it another way, if you’re doing a plan then you’re playing the long game, right now you don’t need top end power so why train it? Sure there’s no harm doing one session per week or a hill smashing Strava ride but don’t let that deviate from what your plan is designed to do.

I finished a hill climb season 4 weeks ago, that was all top end training for 8 weeks, I’ve done no top end work since. For once I’m actually driving to build my engine so that when the time comes to build then specialise I’ll be in the best shape possible to handle those horrific VO2 max sessions. I’ll caveat that by saying there will be the odd ride where I’ll do some hard efforts but that’s just to keep things fresh, not to the detriment of my base phase.

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You are right , I am trying to build a bigger base and I have no need for those high end efforts at the moment. I think its just paranoia of letting those efforts slip away. I like the idea of some small efforts once in a blue moon on zwift just to switch it up so long as it doesn’t take away from my SS plan.

Yea, I mean I think the only issue is that if you do them too early you’ll eventually burn out as they’re pretty mentally taxing so you want to make sure you can keep doing them throughout the season. As others have said you’ll also max out your VO2 capabilities pretty quickly.

Yes and no.
Yes, the big beginner gains were made in the first ~3 week, however, studies also show VO2 gains still being made in week 10 and beyond. It’s also been noted that to truly cap out your genetic VO2max ceiling could take anywhere from 8-18 months of training, and once you’ve maxed out, the lower levels of your VO2 zone can still be increased. So you might require up to 2 years of VO2max training in order truly max out your capabilities.

I doubt any of us will ever max out.

I’m starting to think modern data-driven cyclists are kind of a fragile bunch when it comes to training; not that we can’t handle it, but that we are so hesitant to do anything not prescribed, like hammering out a VO2max session in Base. It’s not going to kill us or drive the rest of our season off the rails! If you need a peppering of 120% intervals to keep you mentally in the game then go for it. :+1:

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The thing is sweet spot training also works you VO2 max. Hard sessions work better for quick gains but sweet spot helps to at least sustain it in the off season. This is a good chart to look at.
This is why Sweet Spot training is a thing! It works basically everything. And you can do alot of it.


Yea, I don’t think you should avoid VO2 max work but I also don’t think you need to necessarily schedule it as a trainer ride. I found I had enough hard group rides/hammering up a hill to keep this system firing.

That’s what I meant, too. Throw in a few hi-rev reps here and there…it’ll do far more good than harm.

True, but not in the way VO2max sessions work your VO2max system. Recovery rides also “work” your VO2max but to think you’ll get a high degree of VO2 growth from a Z1 workout is not reasonable.

Your body isn’t designed to maintain peak anything for very long. It’s fairly common across sports like running, cycling and swimming to let top end power/speed, etc. go for a few weeks or months to allow your body full recovery. The roads are littered with people who try to maintain high end fitness for too long. Now, can you do VO2 once every couple of weeks to try to maintain? Sure. But it’s still going to taper off over time unless you’re really focused on it. It comes back so fast that it’s hardly worth the intense effort it takes to get through and then recover from those workouts.

I personally wouldn’t just start throwing in VO2 workouts in SSB. In your base period, the only real reason to worry about VO2 is, frankly, ego - fear of letting that top end slip away. It’s so easy to get back, it’s really not worth the additional effort given the recovery cost, IMO. YMMV.


Assuming you have no issue recovering from them, and they don’t detract from your primary aim during that training session or period. If you’re focusing on building aerobic base, and VO2 intervals thrown in prevent you from finishing a future workout or from recovering well enough, then that’s counterproductive.