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Coaches Panel: Some interval suggestions for a three-week VO2 max boost.

Hi Coach,

In your article you mention having an athlete who has had a short break do a three-week block of high intensity training to improve his power at VO2 max before doing base training.. Can you give me an idea of what this training would look like?

Thanks in advance,

Eddie Monnier answers:

Hi, Brendan –

Sure thing. Here are a few examples:

1. 12-20 x 1 minute at VO2max power with 1 minute recovery following each effort

2. 3-4 x 3 minutes at VO2max power with at least five minute recoveries following each effort

3. 2.5 minutes at VO2max power with 2.5 minutes recovery until you cannot achieve target power, then reduce to 2 minutes at VO2max power with 2-minutes recovery until you cannot sustain target power and then 1.5 minutes at VO2max power and so on until you’re down to 30-second efforts.

In short, you want to accumulate as much time as possible at VO2max. If you have a power meter, you can use your current best 5-minute all-out effort as a proxy for your VO2max power. If you don’t, you can go by perceived exertion or hear rate, though both tend to be pretty unreliable. For perceived exertion, the effort will initially feel like a 7-8 out of 10 but after several minutes (or several intervals in the case of #1) you will feel like you’re going at near maximum effort. For heart rate, you can target 105% of your functional threshold heart rate (the average heart you can sustain over a 30-60-min maximum effort).

Enjoy and happy cycling!


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Eddie Monnier
Eddie Monnier

Eddie Monnier is a USA Cycling licensed Elite Coach (Level 1, the highest certification achievable), a USA Cycling Certified Power Coach, a bike fitter, a category 2 road and track cyclist, and oversees the NOW-MS Society Elite U25 Development Team. Although he lives in Santa Monica, California, he coaches athletes from all over through his Velo-Fit, LLC coaching business. You may reach Eddie at eddie@velo-fit.com.