VO2 Max in the cold

Hi All
Looking for some training advice in the cold. Thanks for those who helped with fan placement last time I posted. Its pretty chilly in the UK now and unfortunately I train in an unheated garage. As the temp is cooling I am struggling to catch my breath. I’ve been following the plans and getting stronger and went to do a Ramp test last week only to fall short of my previous FTP (245 instead of 267). Legs felt great just couldn’t get the air in. Next day did the 2 x 8 test and got 282.
Last night went to do Alice +1 in the chill (4 degrees C) only to have to drop intensity by 10% and pause halfway through the efforts to catch my breath.
I would describe myself as a winter asthmatic and occasionally using an inhaler when outside doing intense rides but neither time have I felt like using an inhaler, but the cold air leaves me gasping and not able to do the full breaths coach Chad tells me to do.
Has anyone had a similar experience? Should I stick to sweet spot when it’s cold and save Vo2 work for slightly milder days?
Any thoughts greatly appreciated!

Can’t help much and personally loving colder weather here in UK for training as find it easier to put power out in winter on trainer than in summer! Garage with door wide open and fan on - perfect!!!

However I’d suggest a longer warm up to bring body upto temp slowly first


Although I’ve not tried it myself, but two things come to my mind.

  • Apply a balm on your chest that heats up a bit
  • Use something to filter the cold air before you inhale in front of your mouth/nose (i.e. neck warmer pulled up higher or balaclava(I know, maybe a bit much, but if it would help why not?).

The thought behind it is that it won’t hit your lungs that cold and perhaps enables them to process the oxygen better.
The only thing that I don’t know is how the quality of your inhales/exhales when they pass through a piece of cloth over a longer duration.

Obvious answer would be a small heater. Pop it on a few mins before you start training to bring the air temp up a bit.

You’ve not seen my garage, be more like heating the world than just the garage.

Longer warm up.

From personal experience I would say do NOT do VO2s in the cold! I live in a similar U.K. climate and used to hammer my morning/evening commutes, even in the chilly winter months. Over the last ~5 years I think I’ve kinda fried my lungs/airways to the point of developing EIA. It’s the cold humid air which really sets things off.

Longer warm-ups will do nothing to stem the effect of gallons of cold damp air repeatedly blasting into your lungs. A face/mouth cover might help but will cause a certain degree of breathing restriction.

Find a way to do your higher intensity rides inside, even a small change in temp/humidity will help. Good luck!

I did forget to say that I do a group ride on a Tuesday night which is pretty quick for me 10% Vo2 Max, 5-10% Anaerobic (25 mins total) and I don’t really struggle with breathing. If I did this ride and 3 sweet spots a week on TR would I be missing out?

@wapes I have dealt with the same problem for years. I was diagnosed with asthma. Cold aggravates it but it seems to be a general winter thing for me. It will sometimes hit me while riding in my cool basement (17C). You could be dealing with a case of bronchospasm. I think I remember Chad talking about bronchospasm in a podcast awhile back. Sorry I don’t remember which podcast or even what he said about it. Have you tried a cover, like a neck gaiter, over your mouth? Sometimes helps me a little on cold days. Maybe get it diagnosed by a doctor and get a bronchodilator.

You have exercise induced asthma that is exacerbated by the cold air. It is very common:

You either need to warm the air or get treatment for the asthma.

The cold has arrived in the UK properly now (-3 outside this morning). This means I can do my workouts without the fan (assuming I can drag myself out of bed!). If you were to do a significant warm-up without the fan, would you warm up the garage a bit just by dint of the work you are doing?