Vo2 - bit too easy?

I’m probably just over thinking this but just did a 45 vo2 max workout (Gendarme-3) and found it too easy. Last ramp test had me at 244ftp so gendarme set the intervals at 293w. My heart rate was barely breaking 150bpm pushing at around 100rpm for most of the intervals.

The last 2 intervals I upped the power a bit - did one at 322w and one at 410w. The 322w saw hr go up to just below 160 and the 410 one went up to 167bpm.

Maybe I’m just jumping the gun but instead of mild leg discomfort I was expecting to be beasted.

I’m thinking Eichorn which I have scheduled on Wednesday is likely to be much tougher for me. I find the longer drags at meaningful power (says it’ll be at 220w) much harder.

Any thoughts?

Edit - some of the other vo2 sessions to come look harder - sleeping beauty+3 / pierce-3 / Clouds Rest+3

I reckon Pierce will be horrible as it doesn’t drop the power so low in the troughs

  • I can search to find them (I found several and linked them in another reply below.), but there are a range of topics just like this, where people have similar comments. But for a quick couple of points:


  • Notice that this is a 2.4 level workout. That means is on the “beginner” side of life and not as demanding as ones with higher levels, all else being equal. This and others like it are meant as primers that set a foundation for VO2 training. They are not the knock down, drag out workouts that you will potentially be served once you get further into a training plan.
  • This is an entirely different workout, focused on Sweet Spot and a much higher level. TR strongly suggests to NOT compare workout levels between workouts of different training zones, so do this with only general consideration. But when looking at a 2.4 in one vs 4.7 in another, it’s pretty likely the higher number will be more difficult. That can vary greatly with individuals and their training status, but it’s a generally safe assumption.


  • Sure, that is because they are much higher in the levels (nearly double at 4.3)


As ever, make sure to complete the workout, answer the survey appropriately, and AT should make adjustments to advance your progression faster if/when needed.

And for reference, here is a search result that shows many existing topics covering this ground. Worth a look to see the existing info and suggestions:

I did Gendarme +3 today and my HR topped out at 152, where my max is about 173. I rated it as moderate.

It"s been said before by wiser folks, but these relatively low difficulty on/offs are more of a taster of what VO2 work is like than “actual” VO2 workouts.

We should enjoy them while we can, I reckon.


Good to know - my Max HR in the last 6 months is 191bpm I think - but I reckon that might have been a Garmin error from wrist based HR. I normally see high 180’s as peak HR when mtb-ing. I don’t see such high HR whilst on my road bike or the turbo.

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Thank you - I complete the survey and marked it moderate. Will see what happens over the next few workouts - this sweet spot one is the last scheduled before pure vo2 for a number of weeks leading up to my ‘event’.

My next workout is Foerster. It moves me from 4.9 to 5.4 and replaces the 30/15s with 50/50s. I expect my HR will be several BPM higher, despite the longer recoveries. :smile:

I reckon the 50 seconds on will be a fair bit more difficult - although shorter valleys would give less chance for the leg burn to clear too.

Looks like my next vo2 is sleeping beauty +3 (rather than the -4 version last time) - has a rating of 4.3 rather than 1.5 so should be quite a bit more difficult

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Funny, I was just coming here to search for topics on this very subject. Today’s ride was Grassy Ridge -3 and my heart rate didn’t go much above 140. Once the ride was done AT suggested some updates to my calendar and now the next three vo2 sessions are a bit harder.

I have to admit, I’m always pleased when TR suggests harder workouts for the future.

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Yep. I’m still at the stage where I think “F**k you!” when I finish a workout and get “No Adaptations Required”

I expect I’ll be very glad to see that message later in the year.



I’d never do a 30/30 type workout based on a power target. You should go as hard as you can while still being able to finish the workout.


I think probably once I’m a bit more experienced that might be an option - pacing myself to go that hard consistently over the session might be difficult - I might just go too hard at the start and burn myself out. I think if I find a session too easy part way through I’ll just dial a few % extra resistance on. I tend to use erg rather than manage gears etc as the same bike is used indoors and outdoors and I don’t want to have to change gear setup when moving from one to the other.

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Once you have the experience, definitely.

If you’re new to intervals, as I am, it’s probably a better bet for now to do them as directed.

Especially as today was 2 sets of 25 30/15s! I think I’d struggle to pace that. 2 or 3 sets of 10? Maybe.


Does AT have the ability to recognize a distinct rider profile?. Meaning, when % of FTP prescription CANNOT accommodate both VO2max work and threshold work?. Genuinely curious…specially because I don’t see how that’s possible using % of FTP for workouts. Thanks

As best as I can tell, the first AT implementation, lets call it AT 1.0, is not looking at rider’s physiology or power profile.

Everyone is different but FWIW my wrist based HR monitor always records on the low side; my ride on Saturday morning the chest strap recorded 175bpm (89%) but the watch only recorded 162bpm (82%), it the same for every ride.

I always wondered if you can be training your “Vo2max” before your heart rate catches up to it. I think this because doesnt Vo2max also have todo with breathing rate?
Some intervals I feel like I’m in VO2 land with my heart rate being lower than normal but my breathing rate feels it’s in the right range.

Yeah fair comment. I think my pacing is getting better the more I ride things. I’m pretty sure at next ramp test next week I’ll see a further bump in ftp - I feel like I’m flying at the moment.

On the mtb I’ve gone from trailing some of my group on climbs to being near the front of the pack (bar 2 people who are lighter / younger / fitter). Hoping for around 260w ftp. Ultimate aim is 300w ftp but I don’t think I’ll see that this year.

Hopefully next year if I keep working at stuff consistently.

Ok, if what you say is true, does it mean that the main improvement with AT is help people with the progression, via the survey?

AT 1.0 was designed to use the standard plan templates, for example Sweet Spot Base 1 and 2, or Short Power Build, and help:

  • initially settle in on productive workouts
  • adjust rate of progression of future workouts
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