First workouts with VO2MAX focus

So this week I started my VO2MAX focus and LACTATE THRESHOLD sub-focus phase of my first build on the bike. I should mention that I absolutely dread VO2MAX sets on the bike, in running and in swimming. I take this as a sign that I have a weakness here. One of my running partners- Connor Darlington, a former OFSAA champion in both the 800m and cross-country- makes my weakness quite apparent in these types of workouts. For instance, I recall doing a 2 kilometre tempo to 3 x 1 kilometre to a 2 kilometre tempo in a run workout. I could hang no problem for the 2 kilometre tempos, but when we got to the kilometres he blew me out of the water. I believe I went something like: 2:53, 2:50, 2:49; but, he was a long ways ahead on each one, with his final one being sub 2:40. That being said, as much as I hate these types of workouts, it is very important to address and improve weaknesses, so I will spend quite a bit of time here for the next couple of weeks.

It is also important to mention that VO2MAX workouts are very taxing on the body. Jack Daniels advises that one should not spend anymore than 5 minutes continuously at VO2MAX in a single interval. Coggan and Allan recommend spending between 3 and 8 minutes in a VO2MAX interval. I prefer to get this type of training out of the way a long way before a race because it can take quite a while to recuperate from a hard block in this zone. That being said, my imaginary time-trial is to take place on December 31st, and this phase will last until November 25th, so that gives me a good five weeks to recuperate.

I was unsure how my body would react to this new phase so I decided to start off fairly controlled in the first workout. Additionally, I had the national university cross-country championship on November 9th, so I wanted to go into that race fairly fresh. That being said, my first workout was on November 6th and was 10 x 2 minutes @430w with 2 minutes recovery. Here is a graph of the results:

November 6th Workout

It was fairly challenging, but I was able to make it through without getting burned. Last year my best workout in this phase was approximately 10 x 3 minutes @ 375-390w with 3 minutes recovery, so it would appear that I am currently in quite a bit better shape with regards to this system, then I was last year. In this workout I intended on spending 20 minutes in V02MAX. The actual time spent in VO2MAX was 19 minutes and 26 seconds. That is pretty darn close, and I will be very happy if I can continue to spend 97%+ in the intended zone.

My second workout this week was today (November 11th) and was 3x (3 minutes @415w with 3 minutes recovery to 5 minutes @365w with 2 minutes recovery. Here is a graph of the result:

November 11th Workout

I was unsure how my body would react to the three minute intervals at VO2MAX because as I mentioned above, my best VO2MAX workout of the season last year was done for the same duration, but at about 30 watts less. Additionally, this was my first workout spending some time at LACTATE THRESHOLD, so I was unsure how I would feel here as well. Overall, it felt pretty good. In fact, at the end of the second 5 minute interval @365w I actually said, “that was it?” because the interval went by so quickly. My intention was to spend 9 minutes at VO2MAX and 15 minutes at LACTATE THRESHOLD. I ended up spending 8 minutes and 13 seconds at VO2MAX (91% of what I intended) and 15 minutes and 45 seconds at LACTATE THRESHOLD (105% of what I intended). I figured this would be the case beforehand because 415w is on the very low side of VO2MAX for me (it starts at 407w) so I figured I would flip-flop back and forth between VO2MAX and LACTATE THRESHOLD quite a bit. I am fine with the results though considering it is only the second workout in the phase.

Once again, the CompuTrainer will prove extremely useful in this phase. The VO2MAX intervals aren’t nearly as “in your face” as the ANAEROBIC CAPACITY intervals, but in my opinion, they are the most painful of them all. These are the ones where you can feel your fingertips pulsating at the end, or where you feel really dizzy or light headed afterwards. In fact, one time I felt so saturated with what I would presume to be lactic acid, that I had to have a cold shower afterwards to begin feeling normal again. That being said, freeing up some precious mental energy from not having to focus on holding a wattage will allow me to dump more energy into pushing bigger watts for longer amounts of time. I am excited to see the results.