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Should VO2 Max training sessions feel tough?

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Should VO2 Max training sessions feel tough?

Old 05-20-20, 01:28 AM
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ZHVelo
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Should VO2 Max training sessions feel tough?

As in title, should they?

I did a 60s on 60s off one and that just felt too easy, did a 30s on 15s off one and while that felt harder, I was never really out of breath, never really felt like I had to really push myself.

Sure, my legs felt it, toward the end they felt tired, and today I got a little bit of DOMS, but perceived exhaustion - just wasn't there. So is this just a case of my legs needing more strengthening, or given the amount of rest involved in the session, they just don't feel that tough?

Compare that to over/under threshold training and that felt harder and incidentally, Strava's relative effort measure also was significant higher when I did those compared to trying VO2 max sessions now.

Thanks!
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Old 05-21-20, 01:27 AM
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Depends, could be any number of factors, like:

1) what is the power target based off? FTP x 1.4? Something else? The target number could be too low, especially if you didn't do the fitness test hard enough, or if you have particularly strong anaerobic capacity in which case you may have to do higher than what you are doing.

2) how many reps? The Sufferfest's 60-on-60-off version of this interval is called Revolver, and it has you doing 16 reps at 100rpm cadence (with a sneaky 70s interval in the middle). The first half dozen or so don't feel like much, but the last few can be a pain to complete.
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Old 05-21-20, 05:00 AM
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Originally Posted by atwl77 View Post
Depends, could be any number of factors, like:

1) what is the power target based off? FTP x 1.4? Something else? The target number could be too low, especially if you didn't do the fitness test hard enough, or if you have particularly strong anaerobic capacity in which case you may have to do higher than what you are doing.

2) how many reps? The Sufferfest's 60-on-60-off version of this interval is called Revolver, and it has you doing 16 reps at 100rpm cadence (with a sneaky 70s interval in the middle). The first half dozen or so don't feel like much, but the last few can be a pain to complete.
1) Target is 118% - 125% of FTP, so already going into zone 6, not just pure zone 5. Though I ended up going higher than that, actually, the average of the last set of the 60-60 session was 131%.

2) The 60-60 session was 3 times 4 reps of 60 on 60 off, so 12 minutes on in total. The 30 on 15 off was 3 times 12 reps of that, so 18 minutes on, 9 minutes off (3 minute recovery after sets 1 and 2 for both workouts). Cadence on the latter was ca. 90 on the on parts. Which for me is highish, I would normally be around 80 (I increased that from ca. 70 quite quickly to 80, but it's more or less flat there now, finding it hard to increase it to 90 as my normal cadence).

When I compare them to going for a PR on my local hills, there at the top I am really out of breath, definitely very hard to talk, body hurts, and if I time it well, I am more or less blowing up just as I crest the top. If I go for those same metrics to gauge perceived exhaustion on the VO2 max sessions, other than the legs simply struggling a bit to push that hard, the perception is far easier, no out of breath, easy to talk generally don't feel exhausted.
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Old 05-21-20, 05:09 AM
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Try doing 60-60 at 130% FTP, no more, no less. 5-6 mins warm up, then 16 sets of 60s at 130% FTP with 60s recovery at 50% FTP, ending with 5-6mins warm down. That's about 42mins workout, see if that works better.

Originally Posted by ZHVelo View Post
When I compare them to going for a PR on my local hills, there at the top I am really out of breath, definitely very hard to talk, body hurts, and if I time it well, I am more or less blowing up just as I crest the top. If I go for those same metrics to gauge perceived exhaustion on the VO2 max sessions, other than the legs simply struggling a bit to push that hard, the perception is far easier, no out of breath, easy to talk generally don't feel exhausted.
When you're going for a PR, your effort is consistently hard all the way up to the peak. When doing intervals you are given time to recover in between with the goal being twofold - to train your body to sustain these efforts, and to train your body to recover quickly from them - so the efforts will feel different.

Last edited by atwl77; 05-21-20 at 05:15 AM.
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Old 05-21-20, 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted by atwl77 View Post
Try doing 60-60 at 130% FTP, no more, no less. 5-6 mins warm up, then 16 sets of 60s at 130% FTP with 60s recovery at 50% FTP, ending with 5-6mins warm down. That's about 42mins workout, see if that works better.


When you're going for a PR, your effort is consistently hard all the way up to the peak. When doing intervals you are given time to recover in between with the goal being twofold - to train your body to sustain these efforts, and to train your body to recover quickly from them - so the efforts will feel different.
I will try that next week then. Thank you for the input, that makes a lot of sense!
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Old 05-21-20, 08:31 AM
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I love the simplicity of RAAM champ Lon Haldeman's system. Do one hour a week, at above 90% effort (if you can still talk, you're not at 90% yet).

I don't have a PM or HRM, so I do this instead, and am probably unsuccessful most weeks at achieving the full 60 minutes, but it's always my goal.

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Old 05-21-20, 09:15 AM
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I assume he means 90% of max HR not of LTHR?
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Old 05-21-20, 11:32 AM
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Something's off. IMO&E it's the same thing that one does at the gym: if your last rep isn't just barely possible, or maybe you fail it, you're not lifting heavy enough. Doing 3 X 3' X 1.5', if you're not just barely able to do the last 3' rep easily, you're not going anything like hard enough. Similarly, if you can do the last rep of 6 X 1' X 1' no problem, you're should be going harder, same power each rep. It's interesting to wear a pulse oximeter when doing 3 X 3s. You want to see your oxygenation drop by the end of the 2nd and 3rd intervals. Elites have been shown to take it all the way down to 93%. I was never strong enough to put that big a load on my aerobic system, but I'll take the study authors' word for it. In any case, that big load is the purpose of VO2max intervals. You're supposed to reach your max or exceed your previous max.

My guess is that what you're using for FTP is too low for the formulas you're using. I say, ignore your FTP and the formulas and find how much power you can put down for these hard intervals by experience. If you can do them, next set more power until you can't, then back off a hair.

If someone thinks I'm all wrong about this, post, but I get good results doing it this way and as I say . . .
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