VO2Max, 30/15 or Classic 3-8m

I’ve always found it a bit confusing that both are supposed to lead to the same adaption. They feel very different.

I used to do 30/30s or 20/10s, but can’t really do them on the trainer, so its more the longer stuff now.


If I get to choose (not following a plan), I’ll opt for either 40/20s or 60/30s.

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I feel like 30/30s or even 1m/1m is a bit too easy and not reflective. But I would love to see if this is due to having a good anaerobic engine. I can smash out 30/30s at say 150% FTP, whereas if I’m doing 3 minute intervals this is an absolute pipe dream.

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Depends on the plan, the goals of the plan and where in the progression they are.

Chad is a big believer in short/short VO2 Intervals as being a more humane way to train an athlete.


thanks @Nate!

don’t limit yourself by age my friend! Take the “as a 55yo” out of your vernacular. “As a kickass experienced athlete, I do a customized Bluebell…”

Just my two cents! Keep crushing it!


which do you prefer doing more? which ones are more challenging? 2-3m or 8m?

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that was my thought too re: tabatas at 30/30…go ALL out, not vo2max.

the shorter ones being easier seems to be a common thread; maybe not a bad thing from what some literature states for adaptation, but I am still a classic style guy for the mental grit you need to bring in order to complete them!

thanks so much for your reply!


agree 100%, thanks!

thanks! I did see this blog and appreciate you passing it along. Cheers!

Hahaha. I do a customized bluebell at 115% because I know that’s what I’m capable of not because of any age restrictions :+1:


amen dude. And FWIW, in one of my first races in 2009 I came in 13th and couldn’t believe how many 50+ beat me. I was like WTH. I hope to still be riding and active like everyone here that is 50+. Seriously, keep crushing it dude, it’s inspiring.



IMO, those are the racers who’ve got the skills nailed down and know how to use their ‘bullets’. Round this way, the Masters fields are hard and ruthless.


I prefer neither of them. They both have their place. How easy or hard they are is mostly influenced by the training period I am in.
I recently came of from SSBHV which made longer but less intense (110%) VO2 workouts easier than their shorter but more intense (125%) counterparts.
Ultimately, I try to gradually ramp into what is requested. Like by growing duration or intensity over a series of workouts. This helps me with building confidence and also with getting used to the feeling again. Hope that makes sense.

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Assuming this is an open question…:

30/30 etc are mentally easy to complete and provide a sense of satisfaction. You just keep ticking them off until the full bout is done. I think this combination of useful work, relative ease of compliance and sense of satisfaction is a big driver in training plan use. I find 30/30 and variants to be a lot of fun on the trainer.

2-3 min VO2 work, assuming something like 2 min for 10 reps, 3 min for 8 reps is significantly harder than 30/30s mentally. But the intervals aren’t so long that you really enter an extended pain state or mental stress state. These are hard but not brutal and I know I can do the workout so I get it done.

3-8 min work we enter a very different territory. Mentally these are long enough where there is plenty of time to want to quit or convince yourself you can’t do it. There is a huge difference between 3-5 min and 6-8 min. 4x4 is a classic because people can do it. 5x5 starts to be an upper limit for many riders I know closely or work with. 4 x 8 is really damn hard. When folks started trying to do 4x8 twice a week when “polarized” became a thing, I think we saw how few folks stuck with it (different thread - no drift intended).

I think for the longer VO2 work people tend to do these as hill repeats not because it’s easier to make power on a gradient, but because mentally you can pick spots on the hill as “markers” and use that as strong motivation. Sure you can do that on flats too but it’s not as easy as on a hill.

Looking back at my notes from 10 years of power data my comments from VO2 workouts look something like this:

30/30 workouts uniformly have comments like: felt great, good workout, legs were strong today

1-3 min workouts: Legs felt good; hard but felt strong today; making good progress on the plan

4-6 min workouts: Felt good but these were tough; Not sure I was going to finish but made it to the end; really tired today; Definitely felt that one!!; and the classic: oooofffff !!!

6-8 min (typically 4 x 8): Good hill repeats, really tough workout today; glad to complete it; Just made #2 and Failed on #3; Made it through but needed full 1:1 recovery between bouts; Are you kidding me???; How is 105% so damn hard - its only 8 min???; Maybe this bike thing is a bad idea…; I really suck and should take up foosball.



The question I really have though is surely, it’s better to do the longer intervals than the shorter ones.

I’d rather be able to hold 120% for 5 minutes than even 30/30s for 10 minutes. Surely the former brings more adaptions and forces your body to learn to work with high amounts of lactate for longer.

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For me personally, it’s about where I am in my season and what races I’ve got on the horizon. If I’m racing a crit series, I’d focus on short duration 30/15s or 40/20s. I’d be aiming for repeatability.

I just did my first crit last weekend. My love of 30/30s didn’t save me from being dropped :joy:


:rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

Try a progression:

30/30 @ 120%
30/30 @ 130%
30/20 @ 130%
30/15 @ 120%
30/15 @ 130%