Weight and VO2 Max, Why Interval Order Matters, Training Camps and More – Ask a Cycling a Coach 189


I think everyone is seeing or starting to see the benefits of cross training. I have no doubt the bike fitness is a priority in triathlon, but for me variety holds a variety of benefits; less injury, more motivation, stronger body overall, more flexibility to training.

But the true reason I always wanted to be a triathlete is that I’ve never wanted to be good at one thing, I want to be good* at them all. :slight_smile:

*well, good enough anyway :smile:


That’s interesting, I’m a lot more comfortable doing technical and fast descending with drop bars.


That’s a nice idea. Am going to try that.


I guess each person has their own preferences. If I rode drops on the Leadville descents, I’d have to ride a lot slower. Hard to know how much slower, but wouldn’t be surprised if it was 20% or so. Especially on the rocky stuff.


Congrats on getting into Leadville Jonathon. :+1:t3:

Coach Chad? C’mon man - can’t let those young guys have all the fun!



I like getting my center of gravity lower while maintaining my proper reach for tricky descents.


Yeah, I’m the same on my road bike. Much prefer the drops for descents. I like my 780mm bars for MTB descents though!


Yeah, if you are a wide bar guy I can totally see that. I can only run shoulder width bars (the 90s are the high water mark in MTB design for me anyway!) or I get terrible pain in my shoulder joints.


As an FYI for people who think triathlon is just about steady power. These are the kind of profiles that Frodeno, Gomez, and Brownlee were putting out on the ITU circuit before moving to long course events.

From Ben Kanute’s Rio power file:

Then run a 31-32 minute 10k, so they are still holding back on the bike.


I agree with your statement, but to anyone else reading this running is never a “less injury” cross training spot :smile:.

There are runners who are injured and runners who are about to get injured :wink: . <— This is a joke.

There are lots of other cross training (which I’m sure you’re alluding to) that have all the benefits you’re talking about.


My issue on fast MTB descents is fear. I hit the brakes because I get scared of going too fast if it’s loose. I don’t think it will be any different for me with flat or drop bars.

Another way to put it is that I wouldn’t go any faster with big burley DH tires. Before I ever get close to my traction limit on my XC tires I’m hitting the brakes.

This is something I’m working on and it’s very specific to me. Jonathan on the other hand would go faster with flat bars and beefy tires.

He’s able to push his equipment, I’m still working on pushing my mind.


Polarized training and racing?! :hushed: :wink:


So just getting around to listening to this podcast…the convo about VO2 peaked my interest and I hope something @chad mentioned gets discussed soon:

What’s the difference between training at greater time at VO2max and training at higher intensity of VO2max?


No need for the :wink: - it’s the unfortunate truth for most runners. Especially as you gradually get older :frowning_face:. I’ve ridden and swum throughout 2018 but have had a couple of 4-6 week periods where little niggles have stopped me running.


Great question! He’s going to cover this next episode.


IIRC Dr. Seiler’s research was trying to figure out what yielded the most time at or above 90% MHR. So, and I have no clue, if 2x15x15sec at 150% FTP gives and athlete more time at 90% MHR than 4X4’s or 4x8’s at 108% FTP then it seems logical to do the 2x15x15’s. I assume some respond better to one over the other so I doubt there is one interval that works the best for everyone.

edit: the main point is more time at or above 90% MHR is the goal.


That leads to another question:

What’s the relationship/correlation between HR and oxygen uptake (assuming VO2max ceiling is highly genetic and barely/somewhat trainable)? Wouldn’t time @HR be more useful/correlated in developing power @VO2max? :man_shrugging:

I should stop thinking so deep and just do what Coach Chad’s Blue Blocks of Doom tell me to do!


That was my whole point. Whatever power yields the most time at/around/above 90% of your MHR is the “goal”. Lets say you’re doing 4x4’s at 115%FTP. Maybe the first interval you spend 1 minute at 90% due to lag. Second interval=1:15 at 90%. 3rd=1:30 and 4th=1:45 for a total of 5 minutes 30 seconds at 90% out of 16 minutes pushing 115%FTP.


It’s a very good point, I wasn’t thinking of new runners, but your absolutely right.

Cyclists are probably used to going pretty hard at it without injury, just one interval run too hard or downhill section could mean the rest of the week off for me.

Run easy. You’ll still get there.


No, not for pVO2max. If you break it down, HR is a tertiary metric and neither helps you go faster nor is directly indicative of whether you are working at a specific percentage of VO2Max. It’s correlated, yes, but there is probably a wider variation on your HR than your power meter.

You can use it as a rough guide if you want to focus on “absolute VO2max” (i.e. the oxygen uptake component) but you can end up min-maxing to weird looking intervals that won’t really match the type of efforts you’ll want to being doing in actual races (i.e. hard start with an efforts tapering off)

In my opinion if I had to choose between developing:

  • pVO2
  • VO2 absolute

I’d choose the former every time.