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Decent Anaerobic capacity but struggling with VO2max intervals

MishMash95MishMash95 Posts: 104
Hey,
so I had a short VO2 session today, doing reps of a local climb and I've discovered that I am awful at intervals between around 5-10 minutes in duration above threshold. My FTP is somewhere between 260-270 @ 65kg(best real-world performance was 262w for an hour in a race, best 20 min effort 285w) after a year of training.

My target was to try and do 4 intervals holding 290-300w, the climb is around 6:00 in duration for that power, after completing 3 intervals, the average power was disappointingly low, ranging from 275-278w, taking 6:30. I found I was just fading in the 2nd last minute then surging at the end to try and bring it back. In all the intevals, I tended to average 290-300w for the first half, and ~260w for the 2nd half

I'm not really quite sure why I struggle with these however, as I seem to be able to push out pretty decent power for shorter durations 1-4 minutes, with my power PBs being 630w, 455w, 410w, 370w for 1-4 minutes respectively, and in each of those cases, when doing reps, I can generally repeat 90% of my one-rep max for 5 intervals.

Not sure if its mental resilliance, but i'd be interested to know of what kind of training sessions could be done to improve this? (5-10 minute power)
In my head, it almost feels like there wouldn't be too much benefit if its only 5-10w above threshold? Or is my perception on the benefit of that off? (I see people who claim you should be able to do 4x10 min @ 110%, which seems massive to me)


My main focus atm is just to improve my FTP and figured VO2max intervals would be a good type of session to mix in. I feel like my shorter term power is good enough, but I am never fresh enough during a race to consistently attack or to make a move near the end. Given I don't have much of an explosive sprint, I want to be able to get within the last lap of a race (1-3 minutes) and go early, but am always too pooped to make it happen, so figured just building up general fitness is what is required at this point.

Cheers.

Posts

  • First time doing them?
    Transitioning to VO2max work can be hard initially.

    Tired?
    Supra threshold work requires a reasonable amount of freshness.

    Inaccurate power meter data?
    The other power numbers provided are not consistent with your 6-min effort. Or vice versa.
  • MishMash95MishMash95 Posts: 104
    First time doing them?
    Transitioning to VO2max work can be hard initially.
    Tired?
    Supra threshold work requires a reasonable amount of freshness.
    Inaccurate power meter data?
    The other power numbers provided are not consistent with your 6-min effort. Or vice versa.

    Was decently fresh, confident the PM is accurate as I did a two shorter efforts on my way out in the same session, tbh those could have burned the legs slightly, though had around 30 minutes easy in between. But yeah, I haven't done much in that specific duration, trying to work it in now as I realise it seems to be a weakness.

    i'll add that my best ever 6 minute effort was 320w, though this was not steady-state and was a surge at the start of a race followed by brief rest and another surge, but it seems to be the repeat-ability that i struggle with the most. I guess it probably is more of a mental thing. I would say in general, I do find it harder to sustain a steady 5-8 minute effort than one which contains two smaller, but harder, efforts, separated by a brief rest, or under-over style.

    I'll give a few more sessions a go and see how things change, hopefully it'll just get easier for the same power. Part of me feels that it's the one style of duration that really makes me feel out of breath. For shorter intervals, there tends not to be time for me to feel completely puffed out, but the higher wattage melts down my legs. For the longer ones 15+ minutes, I don't really get out of breath at all, but the legs slowly get fatigued. This duration seems to be the grey area where the lungs pop before the legs, i guess that's the nature of working at maximal oxygen intake.

    Thanks for the reply!
  • jgsijgsi Posts: 5,026
    Early days yet in the season... last week I spent far too much time on the front trying to instil some actual racing element into the sitters in/negative racing that had plagued the previous races with the consequence that I basically blew with a few miles to the finish line - it will come better as the season progresses.
  • zefszefs Posts: 484
    Give it a month or so of intervals to see the improvement although in general VO2max training gains can be noticed even sooner depending on the person and fitness level. I do 2 sessions/week and leave a rest day after each of those sessions since they are quite hard even though the duration is sort.
    You can also mix it with threshold which will be even better for racing/breakaway situation an example is 10 min intervals - 2mins VO2 / 8mins threshold.
  • MishMash95MishMash95 Posts: 104
    Thanks for the suggestions!
  • zefs wrote:
    Give it a month or so of intervals to see the improvement although in general VO2max training gains can be noticed even sooner depending on the person and fitness level. I do 2 sessions/week and leave a rest day after each of those sessions since they are quite hard even though the duration is sort.
    You can also mix it with threshold which will be even better for racing/breakaway situation an example is 10 min intervals - 2mins VO2 / 8mins threshold.
    It's one of the balancing acts of training.

    To enter a phase of work primarily dedicated to improving VO2max via such high--end work often requires more recovery than when building training loads and fitness via mostly sub-threshold work. It's hard to both continue to increase training loads and do high volume of high-end work. If loads are low it's doable and the quick bump in fitness is nice but sustainability is a problem.

    Similar things happen when racing a lot. Eventually the amount of recovery required begins to see fitness plateau and decline.

    My main advice is to dose such efforts with care and with consideration of their timing, and for how long you attempt to keep doing them.
  • MishMash95MishMash95 Posts: 104
    zefs wrote:
    Give it a month or so of intervals to see the improvement although in general VO2max training gains can be noticed even sooner depending on the person and fitness level. I do 2 sessions/week and leave a rest day after each of those sessions since they are quite hard even though the duration is sort.
    You can also mix it with threshold which will be even better for racing/breakaway situation an example is 10 min intervals - 2mins VO2 / 8mins threshold.
    It's one of the balancing acts of training.

    To enter a phase of work primarily dedicated to improving VO2max via such high--end work often requires more recovery than when building training loads and fitness via mostly sub-threshold work. It's hard to both continue to increase training loads and do high volume of high-end work. If loads are low it's doable and the quick bump in fitness is nice but sustainability is a problem.

    Similar things happen when racing a lot. Eventually the amount of recovery required begins to see fitness plateau and decline.

    My main advice is to dose such efforts with care and with consideration of their timing, and for how long you attempt to keep doing them.

    With that consideration in mind, regarding both recovery and sustainability, given that as it stands at the moment, I was primarily doing the intervals with the intention of pulling up my Threshold, rather than getting good at VO2max repeatability specifically, would I likely be better off just sticking to sweetspot and threshold workouts?

    As it stands at the moment, whilst the new racing series start in a month or so, I don't expect this to be a major factor in my success at races, and thus only really want to try and boost my overall fitness. I'm doing the races as they are fun and to also practice technical skills, but feel like I want to spend a bit more time building up before specialising. Or as far as this season is concerned, should I just focus on trying to peak, and settle into a more traditional periodisation for next year?

    I didn't do any proper base training (high volume, lower intensity) this year partially due to lack of time but also because this is my first year and was seeing really quick noob gains up until about December and thought that would continue by just doing a good amount of tempo rides + some threshold workouts, though given that things have slowed, or atleast its become a lot harder to get any results, I'm trying to find better ways to get to my goal. I started mixing in VO2 intervals as I figured it could get be used to riding above threshold, though if it means more recovery time needed and I could get a higher benefit from doing longer alternative sessions, i'd be all for that!

    Once again, cheers for your well-presented and thorough replies, definitely gives me a lot to consider :)
  • It's a bit hard to give anything other than general responses. To be specific requires knowing an awful lot more than a forum chat permits.

    Experiment. You are relatively new to training so try things and see how it goes.

    Improvement is possible over many many years but yes, if you are consistent the gains do become harder. But it's still possible. Commitment and consistency are key. Those usually require having a strong sense of "why?" you are doing it.
  • MishMash95MishMash95 Posts: 104
    Gotcha, consistency is probably the first main step for me before considering anything else, cheers!
  • First time doing them?
    Transitioning to VO2max work can be hard initially.

    Tired?
    Supra threshold work requires a reasonable amount of freshness.

    Inaccurate power meter data?
    The other power numbers provided are not consistent with your 6-min effort. Or vice versa.

    I'll bold what he wrote, because it seems likely here. I'm really really close to your current hour and 20 minute figures myself. Very close.

    For me, I've done 620 for a minute, 400 for two, 360 for three, and 300 for eight, and 280 for twenty.

    The training plans I've done pretty much has your 8min intervals at a power of 95% of your 20min max power. Then the plan will make the interval longer the next week to 10min. Then swap it over to 9min of under/over's. Then it will increase the duration of the under/overs.

    If you have done 285 for twenty, you can do 300 for 6 to 8min. As a max kind of thing. As the 20 was a maximum at 20 and the 300 would be a maximum for 6 to 8 min. Not something to be doing repeats of.

    Try doing a week of 3x8min at 95% of 20min power. Maybe 5min between each. Then 10min the next week. Then try that 6min to 8min max again.
  • MishMash95MishMash95 Posts: 104
    First time doing them?
    Transitioning to VO2max work can be hard initially.

    Tired?
    Supra threshold work requires a reasonable amount of freshness.

    Inaccurate power meter data?
    The other power numbers provided are not consistent with your 6-min effort. Or vice versa.

    I'll bold what he wrote, because it seems likely here. I'm really really close to your current hour and 20 minute figures myself. Very close.

    For me, I've done 620 for a minute, 400 for two, 360 for three, and 300 for eight, and 280 for twenty.

    The training plans I've done pretty much has your 8min intervals at a power of 95% of your 20min max power. Then the plan will make the interval longer the next week to 10min. Then swap it over to 9min of under/over's. Then it will increase the duration of the under/overs.

    If you have done 285 for twenty, you can do 300 for 6 to 8min. As a max kind of thing. As the 20 was a maximum at 20 and the 300 would be a maximum for 6 to 8 min. Not something to be doing repeats of.

    Try doing a week of 3x8min at 95% of 20min power. Maybe 5min between each. Then 10min the next week. Then try that 6min to 8min max again.
    Right yeah, that's encouraging! My personal-best numbers for those durations do follow the trend (as stated in one of my other replies, my best 6 min effort is 320w, but my ability to repeat even % amounts is where the problems settle in, i expected 300w repeats would be reasonable, but I guess given the nature of repeats, should dial that expectation back a bit), but yeah, was probably trying to hit too close to my max whilst doing reps. I'll try starting lower and build it up :)

    Nice numbers btw :) Seems you have a pretty similar profile to me so this should be very applicable!
  • There's a lot more experienced folks in here than me. I just wanted to speak up since the numbers were soooo close.

    But yeah, those are my maximums for those times. My repeats right now for a 3x8min workout is at 260 to 270.

    You'll get there, and often sooner than you think. You're at least close. My TT power in that scrunched position is horrid, I'm down 40w! But, lots to gain I guess.
  • MishMash95MishMash95 Posts: 104
    There's a lot more experienced folks in here than me. I just wanted to speak up since the numbers were soooo close.

    But yeah, those are my maximums for those times. My repeats right now for a 3x8min workout is at 260 to 270.

    You'll get there, and often sooner than you think. You're at least close. My TT power in that scrunched position is horrid, I'm down 40w! But, lots to gain I guess.
    Haha yeah, I did my first TT a few weeks back, not only did a Crash into the back of a van that decided to randomly stop suddenly (still had time to break enough, so just tapped it, but need to be dramatic) but yeah, my power wasn't great, though i found my main issue was using shoddy clip-on TT bars and given it was quite rolling terrain, having to move my hands to change gears constantly rather than grinding or spinning out :P! But CBA with TTs now, racing is much more fun!
  • As I said before, keep in mind one possible explanation is that the power numbers on the day of efforts may have been wrong. Hence why I asked about power meter accuracy. One bad torque zero is all it takes...
  • MishMash95MishMash95 Posts: 104
    Just a quick update, have did another VO2max focused session yesterday with efforts around 5 minutes and have already seen decent improvements. Incidentally on a climb on todays club ride set a new 8 minute power PB of 305w and wasn't entirely cooked (mentally easier when racing others up tbh), managed a few other efforts later on :D! I don't necessarily think my power meter was off, I just think I needed some adjustment to get used to that type of interval.

    Should really have given it a few days as already feeling a bit stronger now after having rested up from that first workout.
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