VO2Max sessions too easy? Ok to increase the intensity?

I’m in the MV sustained power build, week 3, and just did Bashful+6 today. Last week Monday, I did Baird+6.

For some reason, both sessions felt too easy for VO2Max, so I increased the intensity during the second round of intervals. Today, I went up to 108% I think.

Looking at the workouts afterwards, these intervals were 90s at ‘anaerobic’ power vs ‘VO2Max’. For the first time in a while I was able to get my HR up to about 92% of my max HR. The IF of the session was .9 vs the planned .87. TSS was 121 vs 113.

Also, my Garmin indicated an FTP increase by 3W after this session. I hope this is true and will see some nice gains after next week’s deload and subsequent ramp test.

Am I getting the desired training effect by upping to intensity of these VO2MAX sessions, even up into the Anaerobic power territory? If so, by how much? May I try to find the max I can do and still complete the workout? Or should I leave as is? (To be clear: I’m not talking about upping intensity for the other Workout types as that will clearly miss the point).

Or is all of this an indication that I’m outgrowing my current FTP and should I increase for the remaining sessions? Or just hold until my ramp test in two week?

Thanks for any insights!

Oh, VO2…

TR bases their workouts on power targets. However, VO2max is NOT a power target, it’s a physiological response. It’s different for everyone and it changes for everyone depending on previous training. In other words, it’s almost never “120%”. It’s up to you to experiment and find your current level.

Secondly, workouts like Bashful and Baird are only VO2 in terms of power but not actual physiological response. You need to do either much longer intervals, 3-5min, or chop the rest intervals down significantly, 90s on/20s off. Burst intervals are NOT going to take your body to max (VO2max, remember?), and long rests give your body too much time to recover from that already sub-max level.

These types of workouts are…well, I’m not sure anymore what exactly they do, but you probably aren’t getting the “desired training effect” you think you are.

Go longer, go harder, get that HR up past 90%.
Try not to barf.



So, what is the point of these workouts then? What do they do?
What are some TR workouts that are real VO2Max from a physiological perspective?

Have you tried Spencer+2 workout? That’s a really interesting workout. That third minute is all about tunnel vision by the last two intervals (for me, anyway). I had a nightmare with it this morning…
Previous efforts have been exactly what Chad’s text states, 1st minute feels good, the 2nd needs focus and the 3rd minute is about hanging on!
Its a very different feel than 1min/90sec efforts.


I believe these are meant to ease you into the much harder work to come. It’d be a bit harsh for many riders to go from working mostly under 105% to suddenly doing full on VO2max work.

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Yup, there’s a load of Baird workouts to offer a good progression, +3 version is blocks of 5 sets of 90 second intervals at 120% with 30 second recoveries, that’s pretty brutal.

Think the 1 minute on, 1 minute off workouts don’t keep you in a state of maximal oxygen uptake for very long but are useful at training repeatability, which is pretty useful in races like crits where you need to go above FTP over and over again with some recovery but rarely full recovery.


For me Spencer +2 is more like: 1st min requires focus, 2nd is about hanging on, 3rd is hoping for divine intervention. :rofl:


My max heart rate is 186 bpm. 90% of that is 167bpm.
I have managed to hold even 171bpm for one hour.
Am I doing VO2max when doing threshold?
For reference, I tend to perform really bad in ramp test. Last one I got 256 watts ftp when I have recently done 275 w for an hour and 20 mins at 300w; both occasions I felt I could ve squeezed maybe 5 to 10 extra watts.
FWIW maybe my case is not so common this I do not know but 90% of max does not sound too crazy to me.

I’m in a similar boat with max HR at or lower than 180. Unless I’ve misunderstood my max HR, 90% for an hour (162) is not that big of a deal for me depending on how I feel. As I reach 170 is when I get into death mode. At 162 for long periods of time, I never feel out of breath or tired physically, it’s more mental.

I also fare similarly on ramp tests. I did 250W for an hour on Zwift simulating a climb but have never been close to that on a ramp test.

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Yes I would like to know the reasons and if I should manually adjust ftp to the hour power or continue with ramp test value.

Like OP I did Taylor -2 yesterday and after the first set I bumped the intensity to 110% because I was nowhere near gasping at the end of my intervals which you should be according to my understanding of VO2max… but perhaps I’m doing this wrong and these workout are truly just there as a buffer between the lower intensity work and the true VO2max workouts.

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Your FTP is probably very high percentage of VO2 max hence the HR and ramp test underestimation as you are probably more diesel type. Ramp test takes 75% of MAP power (so map power 341W) and your ftp is around 80-83% of map power. I am the same case and also my lthr is around 90% of HR max.

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So does this mean I am maxed out physically?
What would I be better off doing VO2 max intervals or more sweetspot/threshold (which is what I feel I am naturally better at)?

It can mean that if you want your ftp to grow you need more vo2 max headroom or you should improve your over FTP power, maybe you are not imited by your vo2 but only by the ability to put decent power. My 5 min power is improving from threshold, attack O/U and Z2 and with it vo2 max estimated by wko.

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