# Quickie vo2max q's

Discussion in 'Power Training' started by DancenMacabre, Nov 19, 2009.

1. ### DancenMacabre New Member

Joined:
Jul 17, 2009
Messages:
474
0
Ok ok, why not another vo2max thread

The story is that now I am in the vo2max camp . A couple of weeks of stale/stagnant power during threshold workouts and I decided to try some level 5 intervals. Still doing L4 too and L3. So the program is 2x/week L5, 2x/week L4, 2x/week hella L3

Did my 1st round of these level 5'ers this week. Used some of the tips from this post: http://www.cyclingforums.com/power-training/471139-ftp-5-min-power-relationship.html (thanks for those!!).

My format was of 5 sets of 5 minutes at 1.14 * FTP with 5 minutes of rest between (soft pedal 50w). Pacing seems to be OK because the watt range. btwn all the work sets was only 3w (first set was hardest). NP = 95% of FT for this blockThen after the 5x5, 50 min block - I did 20 min .91 of FTP.

Can I ask a few quickie q's on these?

• Better to shorten rest interval (from 5 min to 4 or 3 or 2) ? Or increase power? Thinking a shorter rest w/same power = more aerobic sources of energy. Longer rest prolly means more AWC usage. I want to train vo2max & pull up FT, not boost AWC. Guessing 5 min work + 2-4 min rest is more ideal, right?? I like the 5 minute work interval since I get an easy check of 5 minute pwr with these.

• How high should NP be for 5x5 block? I read many posts in the archives that say it should be pretty close. How many rest periods do you include in the NP maths - 4 or 5?? User 'acoggan' in one thread said:

"you can also look at your normalized power for the entire set of intervals (work + rest periods combined) - if this is significantly less than your functional threshold power, then that suggests that you may be dogging it a bit". How close? 90%, 95%, 100%???

• From the same thread acoggan commented on about these intervals: "In addition to looking at heart rate (which generally should be w/in 5-10 beats/min of maximum at the end of each interval), " There is no HR monitor among my training eq. Yea yea, I know, we are doing power training but those were user acoggans comments. So does anyone look at HR (or care????)during these intervals?

Tags:

2. ### tonyzackery Well-Known Member

Joined:
Dec 23, 2006
Messages:
3,517
46
^^^LOL! Still stirrin' the L5/Vo2max pot, aren't 'cha??? I've been guilty of same in the past...

Anyway, here's my \$0.02CAN worth in response to a couple of your questions...

I'm an advocate of higher power (1.2 - 1.3 x FTP), shorter duration intervals (2-3mins., longer on the first, shorter on subsequent). Rests in-between are about the same as interval duration plus 30s-1min. depending on how I'm feeling on that day (and how much ibuprofen I took before the set). I usually try to get in about 18-21mins of L5 work on a night I do them (probably once every 5-7 days a month or two before racing season).

Can't help ya' on the NP stuff as I don't subscribe to that program.

Not really all that concerned about HR on these. I do track it (HR at start and end of each rep), but for the most part it simply confirms what I already know about my form at the time...

3. ### frenchyge New Member

Joined:
Apr 3, 2005
Messages:
4,687
4
No. You should know by now that there's no such thing.

Seriously, the mechanisms which promote the adaptations which result in a higher VO2max aren't really known. As far as how to structure an interval workout, some say higher, some say longer, some say more frequent, but science hasn't really told us which method is *best.*

As you can see, even Dr. Coggan's posts aren't definite from a cause and effect or optimization perspective.

For a 45-50min NP, I shoot for >100% FTP without counting the last rest period. With your relatively high 5min : 60 min ratio, I would think that 95% FTP for a 50-min L5 interval set would be a walk in the park (I mean, that's no more challenging than a 60min SST workout). I haven't really seen anyone prescribe L5 work that would be classified as a walk in the park.

What was your RPE for the session? Did you have any concern that you would be unable to complete the last rep? Just remember that you are training at your *maximal* aerobic capability, so it should feel hard.

Nope. I can tell when it's hard without looking at an HRM.

4. ### Alex Simmons Member

Joined:
Mar 12, 2006
Messages:
2,471
20
Not that we're all that interested in HR response, but the chart below might give you some idea of why HR is not all that helpful when doing VO2 max work.

There are many variables to play with in terms of absolute/relative intensity, duration and recovery periods and number of efforts. Even whether the power is steady or varies during such efforts.

IMO, it matters most that you do the work at level with sufficient volume and concern yourself less with the fine details. Much depends also (IMO) on a rider's training history as to what sort of L5 load you place on them.

If the events you are targeting are either ~4-min or ~5-min duration (e.g. as in pursuiting), it makes sense to train for that duration.

As for rest periods, usually around 1:1 but I find often that when doing track efforts in pursuit position I sometimes need much longer recovery between efforts in order to get the desired quality. If on my ergobike, then I do them as a typical set with ~ 1:1 work:recovery.

YMMV

5. ### midlife New Member

Joined:
Apr 5, 2009
Messages:
39
0
Here's an example of mine @ 110% (275w)
On the computrainer
Entire workout (203 watts):
Duration: 57:00
Work: 695 kJ
TSS: 79 (intensity factor 0.912)
Norm Power: 228
VI: 1.12
Pw:HR: 7.03%
Pa:HR: 8.19%
Distance: 34.928 km
Min Max Avg
Power: 73 304 203 watts
Heart Rate: 106 184 149 bpm
Cadence: 64 100 95 rpm
Speed: 26.5 38.7 36.8 kph
Pace 1:33 2:16 1:38 min/km
Crank Torque: 10.9 29.8 20.5 N-m

6. ### DancenMacabre New Member

Joined:
Jul 17, 2009
Messages:
474
0
Tony ha ha, yes still stirrin' it up a bit. Cali keeps cutting my hours, so guess I have more time to (over)think my cycling. Your vo2max program is different than most I see here or that people recommend. How's your improvement coming along with that regimen? Shorter work sounds nice if it works - the middle 2 minutes of those 5 minute L5'ers are a vortex!!!

Frenchyge, so are you sayin' the good doctor himself aint sure? Guess if you are then the peanut gallery can fill our bellies with some speculation right??? My high 5min/ftp ratio picked up and left I think!!! . FTP column on power chart is now higher than 5min pwr on the chart. Figure 5mmp is 120ish% of FTP...........+ or - a few watts.
NP for the 45min 5x5 block (with 4 rest periods) = 98% of FTP. Last set felt hard but gotta confess to doing the ole training by power not with power sin. Because for the last one I made myself stare at the watts line of the PM to keep the power on target. Usually not something I do but I was trying hella hard to meet the target - so this last one, yea it was pretty hard, like the last 5 minutes of a tough the 3rd of 3 x 20 LT set. The block of 5x5 sets were 233, 231, 231, 231, 236. Maybe a bad habit from lotsa threshold/FTP workouts but I like to pace myself and not overdo it on the first sets. So I guess these are not 100% 5 min efforts, maybe 95ish% for me. Forgot to say, during the rest, I soft soft pedal (no kidding), I mean about 50-70 watts avg

Alex - I like that chart!! I see the HR for set 2 of those 20 min L4 reps is almost the same as during the L5'ers. Sounds like wise words to me that you said: work hard at the right mix (level/intensity/frequency/yadda yadda) & no need to sweat the details. Now thats a plan I can follow

7. ### tonyzackery Well-Known Member

Joined:
Dec 23, 2006
Messages:
3,517
46
Not my intention to sound like a broken record WRT being lab tested, but with the aforementioned training rx I improved my lab verified pVo2max by 25w with about 2 months (IIRC, maybe 5-7 sessions of intervals) of moderately focused work earlier this year. First lab test in late Dec. 08, I completed 2min of 370w stage (each stage is 3min). Second test in late April 09, fully completed 370w (at lower heart rate than in Dec.) stage, and 1.5mins of 400w stage.

As always, ymmv...

8. ### frenchyge New Member

Joined:
Apr 3, 2005
Messages:
4,687
4
If you look at the thread you linked to above, then look at post #9 there, you will see that I suggested an older thread on the same topic. If you go to that thread, you will get a sense of it in posts #35 thru #42.

Although IIRC, he's said so more specifically in even older threads than that -- this topic has come up a time or five before now. A search for VO2max or L5 intervals will generate some interesting reading.

Absolutely. Doing the work will definitely produce an improvement, just keep in mind that we're not exactly sure why, when you're speculating on how to tweak the workouts.

9. ### DancenMacabre New Member

Joined:
Jul 17, 2009
Messages:
474
0
Lab testing sounds kinda fun, so you can get some real numbers. Gotta think it can be a little costly though right? To get tested? 25w in 2 months is improvement for sure. BTW tried some ibuprofen before todays L5 workout. They still hella hurt!!!

Frenchyge, sorry 'bout the oversight with that there thread Did another round of these intervals today. Got the RPE meter dialed in today and have to tell you, these were hard. The last two were excruciating, as in self-flagellation!! I say RPE was 7, ragged/crazy breathing, grunting (cursing!!!), and feeling super light headed after being done. So light headed I almost fell off the bike. Almost bagged the workout several times, thats how hard these were. Kept the work sets @ 5 min but dropped the rest part to 4.5 minutes. Maybe thats why they were so hard or that I only slept 4 hours last night Pacing was OK for the first 3, then fell off the wagon for the last two: 232, 231, 232...........226, 228. Looks like my watt output dropped from the monday workout but the rest was shorter so maybe it evens out with the NP algorithim.

10. ### frenchyge New Member

Joined:
Apr 3, 2005
Messages:
4,687
4
A couple watts below target is *not* falling off the wagon -- you did great! You should be patting yourself on the back after that and gulping a big glass of chocolate milk as a reward.

So, with the shorter rests that puts your IF pretty close to 1.00 (for the total work period), if not a touch higher, right? Nice job.

11. ### DancenMacabre New Member

Joined:
Jul 17, 2009
Messages:
474
0
Chocolate milk?? After these workouts, give me a whiskey on the rocks!

For real though, thanks. IF = 98% for the 5 work sets + 4 four and a half minute rest periods. I tried checking my pulse (to guess on HR) after the last one but i could not keep up, it was too fast (counted 50+ beats in just 20 seconds). You guys say these will get easier with time and maybe it makes me a sucker for believing that. So far, I say they are not hell (otherwise known as a 1min all out test), but way harder than 20/30m threshold intervals. My L5 RPE = threshold RPE + 2.

Threshold intervals for me are like a slow death, you have time to contemplate it, decide on your last words/will/testament, reflect on life a little. The L5 stuff is time almost stopping between the 2-4 minute mark in a 5 minute set. Personal proof of special relativity!!! Threshold intervals = normal passage of time. Level 5 intervals = time passage at event horizon of black hole. Level 6 intervals = being in the black hole!!!

12. ### bubsy New Member

Joined:
Sep 5, 2004
Messages:
193
0
I'm another variation with my VO2 workokouts never done 5x5 but if l'm on the trainer like l'm about to do now because it's raining.... YAY then it l'll do 5x4min with 5min rest, like Tony and others l prefer both shorter intervals at a higher power with the most rest l can get away with after all the only thing l'm interested in is raising power @ VO2 and this works a treat for me.
When out on the road like yesterday l mix both AWC and VO2 sessions, most say they cannot get quality work doing this but again it has worked an absolute treat for me mainly because l'm usually very fresh from 2 days rest with 0 training
so l get in some AWC early in the ride on some big rollers where l can some times stretch the AWC intervals out to 3-6min while resting on the decents, the on periods are well into AWC territory but the overall avg power for the interval can vary in percentage between 110-117%.
These are a blast to do given the terrain l train on and hardly ever feel like work but l know about it by the time l get home.
Also in the same playground on my loop there a a number of hills ranging from 3-5min so l usually hit these full noise starting at the lower end for the duration l'm targetting and giving it EVERYTHING by the the top, again these have worked a treat raising power mainly @ VO2 leading up to big events.
The power l produce for 5-90's is pretty dismal which l am dedicating some time to once my last 2 big events are over but the repaetability of work l can do between 121-160% after having done a lot of mixed AWC/VO2 work is quite high especialy when tapered for for big events, the first A race l did this year was ~40min above 120% which was a 135km handicap race so your on the gas from the very start in a FAST moving paceline.
You have alot lot of improvement to make right across your power curve and as you will find that curve will change shape over the next few years once you really find what style/s of racing floats your boat. Good luck

Brian.

13. ### DancenMacabre New Member

Joined:
Jul 17, 2009
Messages:
474
0
Ha ha, yea me too - blistery here and I do not like to play (ride) in the rain/cold.

If it works for you then go for it right??? I know some people like Coach RapD from the killing thread mix & match diff. intervals in the same training session. I think others like Dr. Andrew Coggan & Dave Ryan prefer the KISS approach, preferring to target one adaptation zone instead of multiple. Sorry fellas if I am misquoting or misreading you!!!! I am in the KISS camp. I do some 2x/day to make it easier, like today, level 5 in the AM, level 4 in the PM.

WOW! I ride 6 days/week and not had one totally totally off the bike since.....sunday of last week!

You do AWC work for 3-6 minutes. Must be made of some stern stuff, more than me. I thought AWC was bye-bye after 2-3 minutes of very very hard riding???

Hurts just to read that! "40 minutes > 120% FTP"

Sure hope so, that it improves. Now it looks like a cliff from the left to right going down. Feels like going down a cliff too when I ride for long periods!!

Joined:
Sep 5, 2004
Messages:
193