Which do you find harder: VO2Max or Threshold?

Title says it all - which do you dread more - VO2Max or Threshold?

Personally I find short VO2Max sessions quite easy but 4 minute VO2Max sessions, and threshold sessions kill me like nothing else. Hoping that with practice / sustained repeats, I’ll find both of these easier.

Edit: Just did Whiteleaf -1 today and it was horrible in the last third, painful painful legs,


For me it’s threshold because those are usually longer sessions and I have a tendency to accumulate fatigue easily and not recover very well. I dread the last 15 minutes of threshold workouts, I really feel my legs wanting to give up.
VO2 Max, at least the ones I have completed (started General Build last week after LVSSB) are easier to just push through since they are shorter.


I find longer threshold stuff harder too.

Edit: For the shorter VO2 efforts I switch of ERG and push to the max, so theyll feel as a hard but long Threshold stuff still tends to drag me into the spiral of death.

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Threshold kicks my ass more often.


It depends on number and length of the intervals.

If Whiteleaf -1 is too hard, your FTP is probably set too high.


I find VO2 way more difficult. I’d rather do sustained threshold (not this 8-minute at 105% stuff that Century Specialty has me doing). 4-5 x 10-15 threshold seem to be my sweet spot (no pun intended).

Threshold is defined as the pace / effort you can sustain for one hour. If you struggle with repeats at that effort is it really “threshold” or something else?

Sounds kinda obvious… VO2 requires more effort and therefore should be harder.

If it’s not then your intervals are not long enough, so increase them!!! :grin:

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I find I have to build mental toughness for long threshold intervals. A 40 min threshold effort is very doable after a block of steady increasing length FTP workouts.
But after last over-under block I gave up mentally after 25 minutes when trying a 40 min FTP interval. My legs were still fine at that point.

Building up to long VO2 efforts is maybe harder physically but mentally much easier for me.

Hmmmm. 168bpm and gasping for breath or 153bpm and not gasping for breath?

I’ll take the threshold, please. Even if I have to do 2 × 20s. Or worse.

Having said all of that, “dread” is not a word I’d use, and the satisfaction of doing a half-decent job on any workout is surely proportional to the challenge set by the commitment and effort required.

Threshold is 95-105% of ftp. I think you’ll be hard pressed to find many folks that can sustain FTP for a whole hour.

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Depends on the individual athlete’s physiology. Anywhere from 40 to 80 minutes is probably the range.


Can’t be 80 minutes, because that would mean your FTP is too low.

But I think you have a good point about physiology - some folks are have better endurance, others more sprint power and this plays into your strengths / weaknesses. I have more sprint power from previous sports, there these short VO2 sessions are quite easy for me, but the longs (3-4min+) are very punishing.

You’re bringing up ptsd before I’ve even started my workout. Threshold by far the worst. The mental endurance slays me. The longer the intervals the more they suck. I’ll take short vo2 then longer vo2 before any threshold work at ten min or more.

Mind you those 2-3 min vo2 with 6 second intervals at 150-200% FTP aren’t a lot of fun either.


This might be worth a read:

Remember that FTP is just a proxy for lactate threshold, and your body doesn’t know how long an hour is. Some people can ride at threshold for over an hour. Others can’t. There’s nothing magic about 3,600 seconds.


No it’s not. It means that your TTE@FTP is over 60 min. It’s 35-80 min. FTP is not 60 min power nor is capped by 60 min. There are pople with around 80 min TTE.

And for the intervals, given the threshold is 7/10 and vo2 max is 9-10/10 I take threshold every time. 60-80 min TiZ wokrout is engaging enough to make the time flying. Vo2 max done as max is pure suffering for 20 min. For me difference is like sprinkling your face with water and being waterboarded. So yes, threshold it is.


I’m guessing in theory it’s actually a bell curve with the median in the vicinity of 60 minutes and a standard deviation of about 10 minutes.

In reality, I suspect that so few people actually ride for more than 20 minutes at threshold that it’s hard to know.

Long threshold intervals are mental games. if you have to repeat 4 times 15 mins 97-103% in 75 minutes you really need to find ways to distract your brain. VO2 Max intervals usually manageable at max 4-5 mins duration


Yes, not many but my case it’s not 60 min power nor if you can longer your FTP is too low. If you define FTP not as hard metric but rather physiological border over you fatigue more than under, time to exhaustion can differ. I do not want to start any dispute about definition nor measuring FTP, just saying that TTE is highly individual and can differ between users due many factors. So sorry for my topic interruption.

Nah. It’s all good. We’re in violent agreement. :+1:

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