After reading on some threads here/@SpareCycles blog/@empiricalcycling podcasts my understanding is that successful Vo2 max training is more about training the cardiovascular system than the muscular system. Today I did some 8 minute intervals for the first time with this new knowledge.
Last time I did them was back in April, and all I did then was focus on pushing the most power I could average for 8 minutes. Here is that workout in numbers (extended last interval to 10’):
Today I didn’t have power on my head unit. Instead just tried to elevate HR as quickly as possible to 95% of max and hold it for the rest of the interval. I also concentrated on keeping as high a cadence as I could. I noticed when it dropped I’d need to put more force out to compensate (and even then HR seemed to decrease slightly). Here is today’s workout:
It’s not quite as easy comparing the power numbers (as I was generally fitter, and with a higher FTP in April). The HR numbers are fairly comparable. The old workout was much more taxing (higher RPE and hurt the legs much more). But from the HR data I think today’s workout was better from a time at an appropriate HR zone (max is around 195, so 95% would be 185).
My heart certainly got a good workout today, but the power for the intervals seem so low that I really have to question if it was effective. Average power for all 3 intervals were below FTP. Is this really still training my vo2 max?