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OVER 1 YEAR AGO • 3 MIN READ

The Endure EQ Vol. 024 - How to improving your VO2max with severe domain work

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Hello Reader,

Welcome back to The Endure EQ.

This is part 3 of our building the endurance engine series.

Before diving into this volume you might want to read up on building your base and increasing your threshold.

How to improving your VO2max with severe domain work

Today we will look at VO2max and the severe domain of fitness. Here’s a reminder of what that looks like on the graph.

Why VO2max is important (and why it’s over-hyped)

The simplest way to think about VO2max is the peak of your aerobic fitness.

It’s measured by the maximum amount of oxygen that you can use during exercise.

Overall it’s a fantastic measure of how prepared your entire cardiovascular system is ready for racing. But, it’s a poor indication of performance.

The highest VO2max doesn’t always win.

Because we are now looking at the peak fitness capability it becomes less important than the other zones (especially for long-course racing).

I like to think of it as the top of pyramid in training (the last 20% or less).

You want a lot of the other zones and a little severe work.

Similar to threshold work, you will want to note how much total time you are spending in this zone.

Too much, won’t help you improve more. There is a sweet-spot for every athlete.

How do you improve your VO2max

The first point you need to understand is that ALL training will indirectly improve VO2max.

And depending on your goals you might be better off with more race-specific intervals (threshold) as apposed to VO2max intervals.

The intervals we will look at today improves it more specifically and quickly.

Every workout here will be done with short and hard intervals.

Because intervals allow you to accumulate more time in the upper range without sacrificing quality.

A reminder of where this zone sits:

When it comes to intensity it’s important to note that these are not maximal efforts or full-on sprints. It has been shown that full sprints are not as effective for improving VO2max.

The best option is to perform intervals at speed or power that falls within 10 beats of max HR with equal recovery time.

There are 2 main types of workouts that you can use:

Longer Intervals

  • 2-4 minutes in length, equal rest
  • Repeat 5-8 times

Short Intervals - 30s on 30s rest - Repeat 8-12 times

I recommend starting with the short intervals. I picked these up from Phillip Skiba who mentions these are super safe to perform at any level of fitness.

The biggest key with both intervals is that you want to complete the session when you feel you have about 1 interval left.

Because these sessions are so demanding on the body, backing off before you empty the tank can assist in recovery.

You don’t need to completely empty the tank to see progress.

So set the workout for 10 repeats and then back off when you feel you could only do one more.

Workout Examples

IntervalRun (short)

  • 5 min warm-up
  • 30-45 min endurance
  • 30s very fast
  • 30s rest
  • Repeat 8-12 times (stop 1 short)
  • 5 min cool-down

IntervalBike (short)

  • 5 min warm-up
  • 30-45 min endurance
  • 30s very fast
  • 30s rest
  • Repeat 8-12 times (stop 1 short)
  • 5 min cool-down

IntervalRun (long)

  • 5 min warm-up
  • 30-45 min endurance
  • 2 min very fast
  • 2 min rest
  • Repeat 5-8 times (stop 1 short)
  • 5 min cool-down

IntervalBike (long)

  • 5 min warm-up
  • 30-45 min endurance
  • 4 min very fast
  • 4 min rest
  • Repeat 5-8 times (stop 1 short)
  • 5 min cool-down

Recap:

  • VO2max is the peak of your aerobic training.
  • You don't need a lot of training to see changes to your VO2max.
  • Best done with intervals, where you back off with 1 rep left in the tank.

Thank you for being here!

- Chandler


When you’re ready here are 3 ways that Excel Endurance by Chandler Scott can help you:

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Sustainable Endurance Training

Welcome to The Endure EQ by Excel Endurance. Get a short tip for triathlon training, sustainable performance and reaching your personal potential in this weekly newsletter. Join here to get the next volume emailed to you:

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