VO2 max intervals...again

Discussion in 'Power Training' started by robkit, Jan 11, 2006.

  1. robkit

    robkit New Member

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    i'm interested in the improvements in FT or 20 min power numbers people have seen following and pretty much directly attributable to bouts of VO2max intervals.

    i've been doing 2x20's for the past month, and it's got my 20 min power upto 290 watts at an average HR of 93% my maximum - typical TT level for me.
    so...doubting there's much to be gained by doing loads more of this, i've turned to a block of VO2 max sessions with a view to increasing the "X" part of 93% * X

    after a few days of pain and phsycological tormet I've got myself upto 5 * 4min @ 310w, intended 2or3 times a week, and i would hope the initial benefit to be fast given that it's my first real foray into this kind of workout.

    what improvements can i expect realistically or optimistically. i'm soooo impatient to have my 20 min power beginning wth a "3"!
     
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  2. whoawhoa

    whoawhoa New Member

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    Judging by the relatively low power during the 5x4s (relative to the 2x20's) I would guess you will benefit a lot from v02max work. IMHO, threshold power will improve over the short term, but don't ignore it for too long.
     
  3. WarrenG

    WarrenG New Member

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    Kinda looks that way. And/or he's simply trying to do too much too soon.

    Generally, you'd like to work at an intensity pretty close to your VO2max intensity or a little above that, which for many people would fall in the range of about 30% higher power than what you could do for 40-60 minutes. You might want to try to do about as much total time as you can at that intensity, even if it means doing intervals that are about 3 minutes long. As you improve, you could increase the length of each interval to maybe 4-5 minutes until you're doing 10-15 minutes total work.

    It's quite possible you'll be best served doing VO2max training like this just once every 7-10 days, unless you're already within a month or two of your planned peak race. This will allow for more complete recovery and rebuilding between sessions and more time and energy to train other aspects of your fitness.
     
  4. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    Careful there. After the jump following the initial bouts of intensity, progress may slow somewhat (at least it has for me) so you'll have to remain patient. Don't be tempted to start chasing big numbers.

    I've recently started VO2 sets as well, and cut my L4 work back to longer (30-min) intervals lower in the level for maintenance. I feel like my FT is still rising through this change, and looking at the data tonight I'm pretty much ready to cut another notch in the post.

    I agree with the comments that your VO2 intervals sound a little low (like you wanted to hear that, right?) so there's probably some room for improvement there. They'll hurt somewhat - no way around it. Keep plugging!
     
  5. SolarEnergy

    SolarEnergy New Member

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  6. mises

    mises New Member

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    In Maximum Performance for Cyclists, Ross advocates 1 minute intervals and increasing the wattage as you improve until you can't go any higher and then increasing the duration of the intervals. I haven't looked up the citations in Ross' book and am sure there are studies that support either method but what are your opinions?

    I tend to lean toward the 1 min and extend duration if only because it seems easier to increase the duration of a 1min interval than increase the intensity of a 5 minute one. Downside is you just have to hope that there are no 5 minute attacks in any races you do in the mean time. :p

    (Actually I don't like highly structured training for just that reason - it's not race specific)
     
  7. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    I think you are drawing a linkage here that is not necessarily true. In fact, I am working on some highly structured training protocols (for myself) that are very race specific. In fact, one of my areas of research is what I'll call the degradation of my MP/duration curve as a function of total duration. As an example, I am interested in my 5min MP at several points (e.g., at 30min spacing beginning at 0:30) in a 3hr ride at near my 3hr MP.
     
  8. acoggan

    acoggan Member

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    1. The training protocol you describe doesn't ring any bells.

    2. Trying to increase your VO2max by doing 1 min intervals at the highest intensity you can and then trying to lengthen them doesn't make much sense to me. It's not the same as saying that the best way to improve as a marathoner is start by doing 100 m sprints and when you can't go them any faster try sprinting longer, but it's also not that much different, either.
     
  9. bikeguy

    bikeguy New Member

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    I don't think 1 minute intervals is a good idea, unless the power output inbetween is also fairly high. I used to ride in Toronto and was great at cycling for about a minute between lights. However, any sustained riding at 5-7 minutes and I'd be down to like 33 km/hr. Now I can ride at 38 km/hr for an hour, and the roads here aren't as smooth or as flat as the TO roads. A VO2 max interval should be 3-8 minutes and you should be starting to go out of breath at the end of it. Of course, there's no reason you shouldn't do shorter intervals, just that you should have a few long ones either in the same or a separate workout.

    -Bikeguy
     
  10. WarrenG

    WarrenG New Member

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    Lab tests show that even during repeats of 30" on/off intervals at the _appropriate_ intensity the subjects were at, or near their VO2max. For one minute intervals you'd want to keep the rest periods short and you could accomplish something similar.
     
  11. Eldrack

    Eldrack New Member

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  12. acoggan

    acoggan Member

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    As others have noted, it is a bit surprising is that you can do 2 x 20 min at 290 W, but can only manage 5 x 4 min at 310 W. What that suggests to me is that your functional threshold power may not be quite as high as you think, and that you may be doing your 2 x 20 min efforts in the "grey zone" between 100% and 105% of functional threshold power. Consistent with this is the fact that your heart rate is 93% of maximum, i.e., "typical TT level for me" (usually, heart rate in training is lower than heart rate when racing, so for your heart rate to be just as high suggests that your power is actually higher). Anyway, if this interpretation is correct, then you may find that you'll be able to continue to progress by doing, say, 3 x 20 min efforts (at a lower intensity, if necessary), or by doing the 2 x 20 min efforts a bit more frequently (though not more than 3x/wk...variety is the spice of life, even for a time-trialist) instead of (or in addition to) adding the level 5 intervals.

    Just a thought...
     
  13. WarrenG

    WarrenG New Member

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    They may be best for the average person in their study which measured average oxygen uptake over the entire test I think, not just during the work intervals or immediately after them. It is important to consider which method allows you to do the most total work at the intensity you want and in this test the total was about 15 minutes. This may be more, or less work than what you could do with intervals that were, say 3-5 minutes long. Consider also the benefits of doing all the accelerations needed for the many short intervals.

    My coach's experience has shown him that in general, sprinter-types tend to accomplish more with the short intervals and non-sprinters tend to accomplish more with the intervals in the 3-5 minute range.

    In this study they limited the intensity to 110% of VO2max speed/power. Depending on your racing and abilities you could use this training to progress up to power level of 130+% of VO2max power.

    Personally, I start with 20/40, then 30/30, then finish with 40/20 and mass start track races. Total work time is increased at certain times and the power target is also increased at certain times until right before championship events when it is up around 140-150% of (original) VO2max power, or 200% of LT power (measured at 4mmol/l).
     
  14. whoawhoa

    whoawhoa New Member

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    I think that specificity should be taken into account in terms of training adaptations, not simply copying what happens in races.
     
  15. mises

    mises New Member

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    That sort of thing makes much more sense to me. I was thinking more of the way many people seem caught up in rigid X by Y interval programs and lose sight of the point of training, using the concept of specificity up to a point and then letting it drop.
     
  16. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    I know what you mean. I'm way beyond workouts such as 2x20s or 6x5s or whatever (which I think originated with track workouts in running), because I'm focused on scripted rides that take advantage of the course terrain and conditions (wind). Some places it makes sense to do a 14min L4 and other places it makes sense to do a 25min L4. L5 and L6 opportunities abound, due to the shorter durations. But, in doing these rides I have become intrigued with how my MP/duration curve responds to total duration and intensity, especially >1hr. This all fits into a Rube Goldberg idea I am working on to formulate the "perfect" pacing strategy for a ride (the easy part) and then ride it (the hard part).
     
  17. WarrenG

    WarrenG New Member

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    What is your objective for the ride? IOW, what is the purpose of the ride? What could you accomplish if the pacing was "perfect"?
     
  18. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    It depends on the ride. In a TT, it's obviously minimum elapsed time. In a training ride, it's defined in terms of target minutes at each training level of interest plus a total ride NP, IF and/or TSS (i.e., an efficient use of time on the bike). In a RR, it comes into play mainly if a break opportunity presents itself, in two ways: (1) the decision about whether to attempt a break; and (2) the power profile to ride if one attempts the break. It's all about power management, to increase sustainable power in training or to manage sustainable power to one's maximum competitive advantage in a race. It's sort of experimental at this point.
     
  19. bikeguy

    bikeguy New Member

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    What lab tests? What study?

    Are you referring to the Stepto, 1999 study that showed that doing 12x30 sec at 175% PPO with 4-5 minute recovery increased 40 km TT performance? Great, but the same study showed 8 x 4 minutes at 85% PPO was even better. Personally, I find 85% ridiculously low for 4 minutes and can always do 105% or so for 4 minutes.

    -Bikeguy
     
  20. Eldrack

    Eldrack New Member

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