Veronique Billat training model

Opener for this new thread:

Interesting take on why she considers 30-30s superior to longer intervals (actually haven’t thought about this despite my personal take on “global load” is the only aspect that really matters in training)

She does not like training at threshold. However, in the referenced book this reads quite different. However, I only had an excerpt availablt. Only a special kind of threshold training is bad ?!???!

I did not understand everything, was quite windy yesterday on my ride and her accent. Made it difficult for me. However, some interesting viewpoints.

All her publications:


Coincidentally I’ve been listening to the Steve Neal episodes of the Flo Cycling podcasts. He mentions Billat or “Billat intervals” several times. He seems to be a fan.

It seems like I’ve been hearing a lot about Tabata vs. typical VO2max intervals. It was maybe on the Kollie Moore podcast. Some coaches don’t like the anaerobic contribution from these types of intervals unless the rest period is very short and doesn’t let the anaerobic system recharge.

I think another interesting comment I read recently was that the subjects in the original tabata paper were not trained athletes and that untrained subjects possibly respond much better to the protocol.

In the end, is either method a game changer for us? Maybe do the ones you like better?

just saying, Billat’s 30/30s are at VO2max, e.g. at MAS (in running terms … her field). When you progress recovery can be at tempo. Tabtas are a completely different beast.

Thanks for the link and no wonder you had problems listening to the podcast :wink:

Anyways, not sure how that would translate to cycling as it seems much more important in running to train at or above race pace (think economy). I’ve listened to a couple of podcasts by Steve Magness after you posted a link and they hammer that down quite a lot.

edit - I’ve listened to most of the episode. My question is what is the equivalent pace in cycling for the Billat 30 30 intervals. In running they call it vVO2max (velocity at VO2max). Is it all out?

Found these descriptions online:

    • 30-30s (version 1) . Soon after developing the 3-minute protocol, Billat developed another one, this time a good deal less intimidating. Instead of running 3 minutes at vVO2max per repeat, she broke the workout into much shorter segments. The result, now known as Billat 30-30s, involves alternating between 30-second surges at vVO2max, and 30-second jog recoveries, and doing it for as long as possible. What’s interesting about this workout is that during the recoveries, your metabolism is still ramped up to VO2max for a significant amount of time. And it’s still high enough at the end of the recovery that it quickly returns to VO2max when you speed back up. With these quick alternations, she found, you can spend nearly 40 percent more time with your metabolism at VO2max than you spend actually running at vVO2max. But it’s not as taxing as it sounds. Billat found this to be an extremely good early-season workout, and also good for relative newcomers to speed training(6,8). Fifteen to twenty minutes of this, is a lot for most people, so luckily it’s also a workout that’s over fairly quickly!
    • 30-30s (version 2). Still later, Billat developed another protocol, this one a (very fast) fartlek session. This workout is the most intense of the three, being suitable mostly for fairly experienced runners, late in the season, rather than early on. After warm-up, you pick up your pace to vVO2max, and hold it for a minute. The reason for 60 seconds, rather than 30, is to not waste time ramping up your metabolism. Also, if you are running on a track, this will also allow you to cover at least 200 meters, a good point at which to take a split to make sure you’re not wildly off pace. After that first fast-paced minute, you cut back not to an easy jog, but to tempo pace (perhaps 45 to 60 sec/mile slower than vVO2max) for 30 seconds. Then you speed back up, repeating tempo-pace recoveries and 30-second surges for as long as you can.
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Her training methods increased the VO2max of a 103-year old World Record breaker by 13% (and PPO by 40%!).

I’m on-board. :+1:t2:

Finding your pace

vVO2max isn’t something you can measure precisely without the help of an exercise physiology lab. But Billat and others put it at about the pace you can run in a race or time trial lasting about 6 minutes(6). For most of us, that’s somewhere between 1500m pace and 3000m pace, but probably closer to 1500m pace. It’s also likely to be about 7-10% faster than your 5km pace. It’s by no means your top speed, but aerobically, you’re maxed out.

Cyclists, triathletes, and others

Billat’s workouts are geared for runners, but athletes in any endurance sport can relate to the concepts of VO2max and vVO2max. Use the six-minute time trial to establish your vVO2max, then try doing 30-30s or three-minute repeats, in whatever protocol most effectively matches the ones Billat used for runners.

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I seem to remember a podcast sometime ago where Paul Lauren, who wrote HITScience, saying that one of the advantages of doing Billat 30/30’s was that they weren’t particularly glycolitc.

Maybe this one:

I listened to it recently and picked up the same idea that the 30-30’s result in time at VO2Max without a significant rise in blood lactate, so lower glycolytic contribution.

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3000m world record is 7:20.
I guess 2000m was meant.

Yeah, that was an interesting part of the podcast. She did say no to threshold training…her reasoning was that it does not generate enough lactate concentration to up regulate MCT-1 & MCT-4.

And it’s hard to argue with that assertion!

But there is more going on @ threshold than just lactate shuttling. She gave a really interesting answer. I definitely wanted to know more about her thoughts on the matter. That’s probably another podcast by itself.

As an aside somebody once told me Billat doesn’t speak english. I thought her english was very good.

The threshold thing confuses me. I bought the book. There is one chapter on threshold. She goes on about how bad all those ramp tests are and how all definitions for the AnT are flawed. HOwever, she concludes that this training intensity is super important and one should train it?

Now what? :confused:

Just go read that paper by coyle/coggan… Determinants of endurance in well-trained cyclists…then go read that paper by PD Gollnick…Effect of Training on Enzyme Activity and Fiber Composition…where he had participants (himself among them) ride at 75% of MAP for an hour 4x per week for a good many weeks. Like, five months IIRC.

That should help you understand how important threshold is for cyclists and how well the body adapts to riding at threshold.

Whatever Billat has to say about training runners at threshold is interesting but not enough to overturn the conclusions I draw from those two compelling papers.

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I don’t question that threshold is (/may be) important. I’m just confused by Billat. In the podcast she’s very dismissive, in her book she says it is important. Especially since she did one the better studies on threshold training:

I know! Wish they would have talked about it a lot more. The answer she did give was interesting. Just not sure it’s consistent with other things she has said. So maybe something was lost in the translation.

Anyhow, probably a lost opportunity.

Didn’t she make some comments in the podcast about not liking high lactate levels? The 30 30 protocol seems to provide a bit of lactate shuttling on top of the vo2 training.

Since my listening experience was a little compromised I can only tell based on the book. Working on this shuttling is the key concept for her. With intermittent training (or as she calls it, acceleration training).


what’s also interesting, she does not promote high volume. This is unusual given the current trend. She’s actually quite critical. However, the respective chapter is confusing (again). She is dismissive of LSD training but puts it into one bucket with threshold training??? Low volume with touching all intensities several days a week with this acceleration training. Only one longer run. But of course, this is running.

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what I head after listening to 50% of podcast:

  • easier recovery (within 2-3 days), versus longer classic 2-5 minute intervals
  • easier to do without targets: just go full gas / by feel
  • delivers performance increases

continuing to listen.