20 to 25 x (1' - 1') VO2 max for runners / du/tri- athletes

Inspired by the recent podcast on VO2 Max Efforts:

I am a 53-year-old runner/biker – newer to biking. I have been running competitively for about 9 years, with primary focus on the half marathon. In the last 2 years I made huge progress in my 5K PB/PR, which is run very close to VO2 max. I adopted the 1 minute on, one minute off training, building in a training block to 25 reps. This is 7 minutes more time at that effort than I need to complete the 5K and nearly 8K of work. Until I went to this methodology, I could not handle much more than 4K at that effort. I did these efforts weekly with usually one other threshold workout in the week either on its own or as part of a longer run. I would start them about 6 – 8 weeks ahead of my race. (Easy running and/or biking filling out the week.)

I know I am an experiment of one, but I feel that these shorter efforts, but more volume at V02 max have made me quicker on my feet and fitter. This breakthrough also led to a PR/PB in the half marathon (HM) in June.

I do keep to the rule of specificity though. During half marathon training I dropped the number of VO2 reps significantly, adding more 10K (faster than threshold) and threshold efforts as the main focus for supporting the HM pace which is run slightly slower than threshold.

Yes, I feel it takes longer to recover from VO2 efforts, but I do more volume now than I did in my mid to late 40’s. This may not be as transferrable to biking, but the V02 max running is also tough on older muscles, ligaments, etc. If I were to completely abandon them, I have to very carefully build the body structures to support these efforts. In the past three years, I have also increased weight lifting for support my chassis.

In support of the concern about doing to much VO2 there was also a recent podcast from running coaches Magness and Marcus on just that topic:

Episode 192: You Don’t Need As Much Vo2Max Work as You Think! – Science of Running

I am hoping to do several duathlons this spring and fall. I will be working out how to fit in structured biking with my run training. The bike legs are 25K +/- so they will be above FTP. I am always interested in how others incorporate VO2 max work. Painful, but productive!

20 x 1.25’ – 1’ pictured (the minute off was practically walking)

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