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Is there any benefit to doing a one/two maximal efforts?

MishMash95MishMash95 Posts: 104
I wanted to know if there was any practical benefit to doing just a single maximum effort run? I had a hill climb event today and amazed myself when I smashed my previous best 4-minute power.

Previously, in a similar max-out effort, I set a PB of 340w for 4 minutes. I don't feel like my Threshold had improved much since that one time. I had it tested at 263w FTP back then, and used to do a lot more short intervals and hill work back in September time.
I wasn't expecting much today as i'd not done much VO2max specific training, other than a few smaller efforts on group rides and races, but most of my sessions had been focusing around tempo and threshold work. I started the day not feeling great, but after a short warmup consequently set a new 4 min power record of 370w :) Though my FTP feels like its around 270w at the moment, and that's about the intensity of workouts I can keep up with on Zwift.

Later in that same ride, as I hadn't really done much other than that one effort, I decided to do another 3 minute all out effort up a different climb (after about 45 minutes of easy riding) and got a 360w.

My legs feel destroyed now that i've gotten back and sat down, and wanted to know whether there was likely any benefit to doing 1 or 2 maximal efforts with lots of rest in between, or whether easier intervals with less rest would be more beneficial? I would assume doing maximal efforts more often can improve your mental game, but I didn't know if it would actually do as much for the fitness other than tire me out a lot?

Or can you generally apply the rule in cycling of just getting good at one you train? So doing maximal efforts is good if thats the only effort you would do, whereas easier intervals (with less rest) would be more suitable for training normal riding where you would carry on afterwards?

Just trying to find a little more insight to try and optimise my training. Oddly enough, despite it being painful, I found the climb really satisfying as it's been a few months since i've done any eye-bleeding efforts.


  • All out shorter efforts with a lot of recovery time in between each tax your anaerobic capacity a little more than do efforts with less recovery time which are a little more reliant on aerobic capacity. So in that sense they tend to have a slightly greater focus on developing anaerobic capacity but there really is not much in in. 3-4 minute efforts are still dominantly aerobic (2/3rds - 3/4ths of energy demand is via aerobic metabolism).

    What you describe is a little similar to a track pursuit with qualifying and finals on same day.

    In the end you are looking to understand what elements of fitness you most need to focus on (bearing in mind you can't actually train any one thing exclusively as training at all levels has some crossover effects) and do training appropriate for that, at the right time, in the right doses and frequency and for the right duration of training cycle.

    It'll be a blend of your complete capacities.
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