Vo2 intervals too easy?

Hi guys,.

I’ve been using trainerroad for about six months now and generally notice that the Vo2 workouts are easy (relative to threshold). I constantly read or hear people talking about having to really push to their limit on the Vo2 workouts, particularly in the last intervals, but I always have more in the tank. I notice this particularly when doing outdoor workouts and I am generally feeling like I have to slow down to keep the power in range. Today I completed keeper for example and the prescribed wattage was between 377 and 384. I started off within this range but drifted upwards to 426 on my last interval. Technically this is well into my anaerobic zone, but given I can repeat the intervals I suspect I’m within Vo2. Does anyone else have this issue? Naturally adaptive training picks up on this and suggests adaptations, but I can cope with those workouts well too… My levels never really get above 6 before the next step test drops the levels and I have the same issue.

As a side note I think my FTP is well predicted as threshold and sweet spot seem right on. The over Unders tell me that loud and clear :see_no_evil::joy:



VO2 and Threshold don’t have a stationary connection. Alot of the instructional text on the indoor workouts point out that the goal of VO2 isn’t a prescribed wattage, but obtaining and maintaining and extremely high and repeatable oxygen uptake. I would manually adjust your VO2 workouts to either higher power, or longer intervals and see how it goes.


There’s lots of threads on this, including a very, very, very long one :roll_eyes:

Basically VO2max isn’t a power zone but one of oxygen uptake, you just need to hit the power hard enough to provide the correct stimulus. They are actually easier to do outdoors - you just go as hard as you can for the duration. The real difficulty is picking a pace that you can do for every interval which takes a bit of practice, easy to do the first couple too hard and then have to back off for the remainder.

You can try to “game” AT by rating the VO2max workouts as “Easy” or “Moderate” and try to accelerate things that way.


How long are your intervals at the moment?

I just completed keeper which is level 5.2 and I had 9x2/2.5 min intervals

As Bob said, there’s a few really good threads discussing VO2 Workouts.

I would say it’s not uncommon at all to outperform your “Threshold” for VO2.
I just looked up “Keeper” and I would say that’s still quite an easy VO2 workout in terms of intensity for 2-2.30min, my guess is it’s a 5.2 due to the length.

My advice would be next time you get an FTP bump, for your first VO2 workout pick an alternate close to what you were already doing and try keep pushing up.

I do VO2 workouts in the sort of 5-6 range (by memory, but with complete disregard for the target power. Following AT progression for it would mean I think you’d be better to just find alternates at the right level early on in the block

Keeper is NOT a VO2max workout in anyones book. It just gets classified that way by TR, I guess based on a formula and the Coggan level intensity but it ignores intensity duration and recovery interval durations.

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Yeah I’m on 2mins and that’s abit short imo for VO2 intervals to feel hard. Even at 125%.

I think 3mins is minimum to get the lungs and heart going, but more recent science is recommending time in zone so 9x2 is as good as 6x3 even though they feel much easier.

So either stick with it or look for some 3min sessions.

2 and 2.5 minutes with 5 minutes recoveries.

In that light you should have asked the recovery duration. :wink:

At 100 - 112 % with 5min recovery, yes way too short.

Agree with your general point but 2 minutes with 15sec or 30sec recovery will get you there.

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I would get away from doing the VO2 max intervals at “prescribed” wattages, as mentioned above. If indoors, take the trainer out of ERG mode and switch to Resistance. Then you want to go hard for the prescribed length of the interval. If you aren’t sure how hard to go, take a look at your past data in TR and see what your best wattages at certain times are and try and hit those. By the end of the interval you should be feeling “near death” if you have done them correctly.

Some people are naturally better at VO2 work than others, so you may fall into that camp. Try doing some 5 x 5 min ones. These are classic VO2 max intervals and gives you a lot of “time in zone”. If you are collasping on the handlebars panting at the end of it, you did it right.


Thanks for all the input guys, appreciate it. I’ll take all the advice and hopefully be hanging off the handlebars at the end like I should be. I’ll have a look deeper into the other vo2 threads to supplement these answers :smiley:

Just remembered - there’s a thread entitled something like “VO2max, hard start intervals” which is worth seeking out. There’s also a workout group dedicated to it that you can join to see the workouts that have been user created to go along with it.

Basically you start as hard as you can then just try and keep as much power going as you can for the duration of the interval. Again best not done on ERG mode for reasons as above.

Quite a lot of the lower rated VO2max workouts are more introductions to the effort required rather than genuine VO2max sessions. I did one, Sleeping Beauty and my HR got into Z3 for all of three seconds! https://www.trainerroad.com/app/career/bobw/rides/128481475-sleeping-beauty Depending on your physiology you might find 30/30s harder than prolonged efforts or vice-versa. If your HR drops too much during the recovery valleys you can scrub the timer bar along to shorten it.

As discussed above some folk just don’t reach an VO2 oxygen state at a VO2max power target (despite their zones being good for every other type of work out). There’s probably others podcast, etc similar but Kolie Moore done quite a good podcast explaining it IMO. Watts Doc #23: Training Your VO2max, and Why Not Rønnestad 30/15 Intervals - Empirical Cycling. Subsequently if I’m doing VO2max I like to switch ERG off.

Personally, I would back up and probably follow the plan as prescribed. Don’t try to outwit TR until you know a lot. At this point, they probably still know more than you.

First, do you need extra VO2 work? Usually people only need a little here and there. With training more is not always better.

If 120% of FTP is easy, you may have exceptional sprinting abilities or your FTP is set too low.

TR throws in little intervals here and there to entertain you but it doesn’t mean that the workout you described was intended to be a pant like a dog and then vommit VO2max workout.

2 minute intervals at your VO2 power should be fairly doable. 4-5 minutes will be harder.

Going max every time you are presented with an interval that feels easy may not be productive training. Often intervals should be doable or even easy. Most training should not be soul crushing. It’s usually not productive to generate so much fatigue. People that post on the board about how soul crushing their intervals are, probably have their FTP set incorrectly.