# additions to v02max workouts for threshold improvements

#### whoawhoa

##### New Member
I'm not a pm user, but I posted it here to see if any of you have data to back some of my thoughts up.

It seems to me (and I backed it up with some sketchy math) that v02max workout, such as a 6x5 with 2.5 min. ri, would have an average/normalized power fairly close to ft over about 40 minutes. It seems to me that a short bit of z4 work after the z5 intervals might make the workout enough to increase ft similar to a 2x20 or other pure z4 workout. Thoughts?

Sure, that works. You basically solve for the recovery power to result in a target NP. For example, assume that your FT is 275w and a VO2MAX interval (at the low end) is 289w (105%FT). If you want to do 2:1 ratio (5 mins at VO2MAX and 2.5 mins recovery), your recovery power would be 240w, for NP=275w. That's how I structure my rides. I have goals for number of minutes at each training level and a total ride NP goal as well.

whoawhoa said:
I'm not a pm user, but I posted it here to see if any of you have data to back some of my thoughts up.

It seems to me (and I backed it up with some sketchy math) that v02max workout, such as a 6x5 with 2.5 min. ri, would have an average/normalized power fairly close to ft over about 40 minutes. It seems to me that a short bit of z4 work after the z5 intervals might make the workout enough to increase ft similar to a 2x20 or other pure z4 workout. Thoughts?
I tried an interesting level 4 workout yesterday that touches on this. It was basically a 2 x 20, only the 20 minutes were broken into 2 minute segments, alternating between 90% FT and 105% FT. The 90% FT sections actually began to feel like 'recovery' intervals as the workout progressed, even though I stayed in zone 4 the whole time. After the first 20, I recovered for 5 minutes at ~50% FT before starting the next 20. I may try gradually increasing the percentages and/or durations of the inner-intervals as my training progresses.

postal_bag said:
I tried an interesting level 4 workout yesterday that touches on this. It was basically a 2 x 20, only the 20 minutes were broken into 2 minute segments, alternating between 90% FT and 105% FT. The 90% FT sections actually began to feel like 'recovery' intervals as the workout progressed, even though I stayed in zone 4 the whole time. I may try gradually increasing the percentages and/or durations of the inner-intervals as my training progresses.
Variable power pacing -- music to my ears.

whoawhoa said:
It seems to me (and I backed it up with some sketchy math) that v02max workout, such as a 6x5 with 2.5 min. ri, would have an average/normalized power fairly close to ft over about 40 minutes. It seems to me that a short bit of z4 work after the z5 intervals might make the workout enough to increase ft similar to a 2x20 or other pure z4 workout. Thoughts?

I think that:

1) your math isn't all that sketchy. Specifically, if the normalized power for an interval workout lasting anywhere close to 1 h is significantly over your functional threshold power, odds are that you won't be able to complete it, and

2) while the normalized power may be in the same range as a true level 4 training session, the physiological adaptations aren't going to be precisely the same as when you perform continuous efforts of, say, 15+ min duration. At least, that has been my experience (although I could come up with some plausible physiological explanations).

whoawhoa said:
It seems to me (and I backed it up with some sketchy math) that v02max workout, such as a 6x5 with 2.5 min. ri, would have an average/normalized power fairly close to ft over about 40 minutes.
Good thoughts, there. I have a little spreadsheet which computes my NP, AP, IF and TSS for any number of work and rest periods, which I use to set my target power level during my interval workouts. Bascially, I experiment with different target powers, work durations and rest durations (assuming ~50%FT during the rests), to match the NP for the entire set (minus the last rest period) to my Mean Max NP curve from the Cycling Peaks software. For example, I may start by entering VO2 intervals at 115%FT at a 5:2.5 work ratio into the spreadsheet and increase the number of reps by one until I've broken out of my NP curve. If that happens after 3-4 intervals, and results in a TSS lower than I'm interested in (for this point in my training cycle), then I may go back and try a 112%FT interval or a 3 min rest duration and see if I can get 5-6 intervals before hitting the curve. As Andy touched on, I've grown pretty confident that I can physically accomplish any workout that falls under my NP curve (and even break it by a small amount on most days), so this gives me a little willpower to do for those last couple intervals even though I'm tired.

whoawhoa said:
It seems to me that a short bit of z4 work after the z5 intervals might make the workout enough to increase ft similar to a 2x20 or other pure z4 workout. Thoughts?
Well, z5 work already *does* produce many of the same effects as z4 work, so there should be no surprise if FT improves even without the additional z4 minutes. One possible difference between a combo-z5/z4 workout and a pure z4 workout would be the degree of fast-twitch recruitment. Andy has written that threshold power (not sure if this is LT or FT, or if it even makes a difference) marks a threshold for whether slow- or fast-twitch fibers are predominately in play. Z5 work, being well above FT, would primarily tax your fast-twitch muscles, even though the overall NP (including the recovery periods) falls into z4. A pure z4 workout would involve more of a blend of slow- and fast-twitch use.

Okay, I've probably demonstrated that I am indeed too focused on microstructure here, but hey, this is fascinating stuff! Andy, what's the latest on TSTWKT? I want to be overly focused on macrostructure, too.

frenchyge said:
Good thoughts, there. I have a little spreadsheet which computes my NP, AP, IF and TSS for any number of work and rest periods, which I use to set my target power level during my interval workouts. Bascially, I experiment with different target powers, work durations and rest durations (assuming ~50%FT during the rests), to match the NP for the entire set (minus the last rest period) to my Mean Max NP curve from the Cycling Peaks software. For example, I may start by entering VO2 intervals at 115%FT at a 5:2.5 work ratio into the spreadsheet and increase the number of reps by one until I've broken out of my NP curve. If that happens after 3-4 intervals, and results in a TSS lower than I'm interested in (for this point in my training cycle), then I may go back and try a 112%FT interval or a 3 min rest duration and see if I can get 5-6 intervals before hitting the curve. As Andy touched on, I've grown pretty confident that I can physically accomplish any workout that falls under my NP curve (and even break it by a small amount on most days), so this gives me a little willpower to do for those last couple intervals even though I'm tired.
Aha! A precise, planned variable power ride, designed to attain specific objectives and an overall NP, IF and TSS. Cool!

frenchyge said:
Good thoughts, there. I have a little spreadsheet which computes my NP, AP, IF and TSS
I am sorry to momentarly hijack this thread, but I have a question.

I have a hand made system, that allows to bring any type of work, no matter the intensity, swim bike run, into a common unit of measure. I beleive that what "TSS" is about? What is that unit exactly? And what are the other variables (NP, AP, so on)?

SolarEnergy said:
I am sorry to momentarly hijack this thread, but I have a question.

I have a hand made system, that allows to bring any type of work, no matter the intensity, swim bike run, into a common unit of measure. I beleive that what "TSS" is about? What is that unit exactly? And what are the other variables (NP, AP, so on)?
TSS= Training Stress Score, a combined measure of intensity and duration for a workout.
NP= Normalized Power, a representation of the physiological "cost" of a variable power workout.
AP= Avg. Power
IF= Intensity Factor, the ratio of workout NP to the athlete's Functional Threshold power (1hr TT power)

For more details, see: http://www.peakscoachinggroup.com/Power_Training_Chapter.pdf

SolarEnergy said:
I am sorry to momentarly hijack this thread, but I have a question.

I have a hand made system, that allows to bring any type of work, no matter the intensity, swim bike run, into a common unit of measure. I beleive that what "TSS" is about? What is that unit exactly? And what are the other variables (NP, AP, so on)?
The heart of NP, IF and TSS is NP. This algorithm translates a variable power ride (aren't they all?) into the physiological equivalent of a constant power ride of the same duration. This 4th power weighting algorithm is of huge value for lots of uses, of which IF and TSS are only two.

whoawhoa said:
I'm not a pm user, but I posted it here to see if any of you have data to back some of my thoughts up.

It seems to me (and I backed it up with some sketchy math) that v02max workout, such as a 6x5 with 2.5 min. ri, would have an average/normalized power fairly close to ft over about 40 minutes. It seems to me that a short bit of z4 work after the z5 intervals might make the workout enough to increase ft similar to a 2x20 or other pure z4 workout. Thoughts?
sounds tough especially for this time of year , if i was going to try for 40min of ft i would try a hunter alan workout like a 10second 180%ft sprint every 3 minutes then 85% ft in between , i originally thought i would breeze through this but it kills the first time and NP at the end is about 90% of ft ...the next day you look forward to 2x20's lol ie if ft is 250w then 450wsprints and 200w inbetween

grom said:
sounds tough especially for this time of year , if i was going to try for 40min of ft i would try a hunter alan workout like a 10second 180%ft sprint every 3 minutes then 85% ft in between , i originally thought i would breeze through this but it kills the first time and NP at the end is about 90% of ft ...the next day you look forward to 2x20's lol ie if ft is 250w then 450wsprints and 200w inbetween
The Hunter Alan workout you described may be a good workout, but it's not an FT ride. Actually, it's a 90%FT workout. NP doesn't come into play because the sprint is too short, so NP=AP=226w. But, as I said, it may still be a good workout for you.

The Hunter Alan workout you described may be a good workout, but it's not an FT ride. Actually, it's a 90%FT workout. NP doesn't come into play because the sprint is too short, so NP=AP=226w. But, as I said, it may still be a good workout for you.
It may not be a FT ride, but it falls at the lower end of a FT workout as defined in the Coggan training levels. Also I don't understand what you mean when you say NP doesn't come into play. That may be true in looking at the sprints themselves, but the OP was using NP in the context of the ride as a whole. Isn't the purpose of normalized power exactly to better account for variable efforts such as a 30 second sprint in the midst of a longer ride? If you apply the NP algorithm of taking the fourth root of the 30 second rolling average power raised to the fourth power, how can you get NP = AP with the 30 second sprints?

asgelle said:
It may not be a FT ride, but it falls at the lower end of a FT workout as defined in the Coggan training levels. Also I don't understand what you mean when you say NP doesn't come into play. That may be true in looking at the sprints themselves, but the OP was using NP in the context of the ride as a whole. Isn't the purpose of normalized power exactly to better account for variable efforts such as a 30 second sprint in the midst of a longer ride? If you apply the NP algorithm of taking the fourth root of the 30 second rolling average power raised to the fourth power, how can you get NP = AP with the 30 second sprints?
Well, it's close to an L4 workout, as it's ~90%FT. When I say NP doesn't come into play, there is of course an NP for any ride (or ride segment) longer than 30secs. What I mean is that NP=AP when the pushes are <15secs in duration. IOW, the 4th power weighting of the higher power durations doesn't kick in (resulting in NP>AP) because the duration is too short. One can exploit this phenomenon, for example, with TTT rotation strategy, by keeping the rotations <15secs.

What I mean is that NP=AP when the pushes are <15secs in duration.
I don't get that. For example taking a ride at a steady 250 W with a single 10 second surge to 350 W. For the minute centered on the 10 second surge, AP=266.67 and NP= 268.22*. If the window containing the surge is expanded, the difference between AP and NP decreases, but NP will always be greater than AP. Add more 10 second surges to the ride and the difference grows. What the significance of this is on training adaptations is another question (see the discussions on microintervals), but strictly from a numerical point of view AP and NP are not equal.

*since the author** had to do the calculations by hand, a 10 second sampling frequency was used.

** strained diction to avoid 1st person singular

asgelle said:
I don't get that. For example taking a ride at a steady 250 W with a single 10 second surge to 350 W. For the minute centered on the 10 second surge, AP=266.67 and NP= 268.22*. If the window containing the surge is expanded, the difference between AP and NP decreases, but NP will always be greater than AP. Add more 10 second surges to the ride and the difference grows. What the significance of this is on training adaptations is another question (see the discussions on microintervals), but strictly from a numerical point of view AP and NP are not equal.

*since the author** had to do the calculations by hand, a 10 second sampling frequency was used.

** strained diction to avoid 1st person singular
Actually, NP can sometimes be less than AP, but that's a much longer discussion with examples. Yes, NP and AP are slightly different and the size of the difference depends on the point at which one compares the numbers. For a 10s/170s cycle at 450w/212.5w as described, NP averages about 4w greater than AP. But, NP's real value is in dealing with durations longer than 15sec, when the physiological response kicks in. This is the purpose behind the 30s averaging of NP, to eliminate the impact of pushes shorter in duration than 15s. IOW, assume your FT is 250w as in the example and that you ride at 275w for 15s and then at 225w for 15s. You repeat this neurotic pattern for an hour. That is an FT ride and NP will be about equal to AP ~250w.

This is the purpose behind the 30s averaging of NP, to eliminate the impact of pushes shorter in duration than 15s. IOW, assume your FT is 250w as in the example and that you ride at 275w for 15s and then at 225w for 15s. You repeat this neurotic pattern for an hour. That is an FT ride and NP will be about equal to AP ~250w.
I'm objecting to the word "eliminate". As you agree, the effect of short surges is reflected in an increase in NP reflecting the extra effort from the surges. I think a better way to think about it is that the 30 second averaging "accurately includes" the effect of very short efforts. To use your neurotic example, which seemed to work for Chris Boardman in his hour record preparation, NP accurately reflects the effort as 250 W. NP doesn't eliminate the effect of the surges to produce a 225 W ride.

asgelle said:
I'm objecting to the word "eliminate". As you agree, the effect of short surges is reflected in an increase in NP reflecting the extra effort from the surges. I think a better way to think about it is that the 30 second averaging "accurately includes" the effect of very short efforts.
Apart from the semantic discussion, let me make my point with numbers. Take the poster's example of FT = 250w, push power = 180%FT (450w), recovery power = 85%FT (212.5w), push duration = DP = 10secs, recovery duration DR = 170secs. AP is easy. For a 170:10 ratio of DR to DP, AP is 225.7w. NP is more complex due to the 30sec averaging. Maintaining the 17:1 ratio of DR to DP, the table below illustrates how NP is virtually identical to AP for short pushes (e.g., DP=5secs) and trends to the ultimate level at 254.6. So, if you don't like the absolute term, "eliminate," how about the relative term, "virtually eliminates?" There's not a lot of difference between NP and AP at a push duration of 10 seconds (5w), but there is a huge difference between NP and AP at a push duration of 200 seconds (26w). I don't know what you mean by the term "accurately includes" above, so for all I know we are saying the same thing. IMO, the 5w difference between NP and AP for 10sec pushes is "noise level," whereas the 26w difference for longer pushes (e.g., 200secs) is significant. But, I'll leave the semantics to you.

DP NP AP
005 227.6 225.7
010 230.7 225.7
015 234.7 225.7
020 236.6 225.7
030 242.9 225.7
050 246.5 225.7
100 249.9 225.7
200 251.6 225.7
Infinite 254.6 225.7

asgelle said:
To use your neurotic example, which seemed to work for Chris Boardman in his hour record preparation, NP accurately reflects the effort as 250 W. NP doesn't eliminate the effect of the surges to produce a 225 W ride.
I don't understand what you're saying here. What I said was that under the neurotic example, NP=AP=250w. I never suggested that NP would be 225w.

grom said:
sounds tough especially for this time of year , if i was going to try for 40min of ft i would try a hunter alan workout like a 10second 180%ft sprint every 3 minutes then 85% ft in between , i originally thought i would breeze through this but it kills the first time and NP at the end is about 90% of ft ...the next day you look forward to 2x20's lol ie if ft is 250w then 450wsprints and 200w inbetween
Just because the NP falls into the range of Level 4, you should not conclude that the effects are similar to doing 2x20 intervals. Any very hard workout of approximately 1hr in duration will likely produce an NP which falls into Level 4, whether the training goal is VO2max, LT, AC or Maximal Power.

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