Now that we have clarified what VO2max is in > this article , it is now a matter of how this value can be improved through targeted training sessions. Sufficiently intensive training stimuli are necessary for this in order to challenge the body's oxygen-processing systems accordingly. VO2max training is therefore primarily interval-based in the above-threshold intensity range (development and peak range, EB/SB). Depending on the type and intensity, the interval duration is between 30 seconds and 8 minutes.
Principle: The shorter the interval, the more intense. However, it is important to complete the intervals evenly and not to go full throttle in the first run and then have to reduce significantly.
The VO2max effect only comes about through the increasing number of repetitions of above-threshold individual stimuli. That means: only the third, fourth, fifth, sixth interval (depending on the type and length) really gets you into VO2max mode.
On an intensity scale of 1-10, which you should use to reflect your perceived exertion, VO2max intervals should be around 8-9, heart rate around 90% of HRmax.
You can complete VO2max intervals as an independent training unit (classic: track intervals during running training or short, crisp roller intervals on the bike) or integrate them into a longer overall unit. In the following, we present some example VO2max training sessions for both cycling and running.
Note: VO2max units are the intensive components in the training plan, they require a higher degree of regeneration and should be supplemented with training units in the basic area.
Bike training - VO2max sample sessions
Roller programs (only the VO2max load elements are shown, retract/extend automatically)
- 3x 8x 30/30 intervals: 30s load @120-130% FTP - 30s easy, series break 4 min GA1
- 6x 2 min @115-120% FTP, break 1 min easy
- 4x 5 min @110-115% FTP, rest 2.5 min easy
- 2-3h basic ride with 8x 90s intervals, preferably on a slight incline or with a headwind, 60s of easy rolling in between, the rest completely in GA1 mode
- Mountain intervals: look for a 1-2 km long slope in your area, which you push up 4-6 times as constantly as possible (pay attention to a cadence > 65, as the last intervals may no longer be able to be implemented properly due to a lack of strength), break: roll back each time
- 4x 4km time trial intervals: 4km route that is as flat as possible without obstacles (traffic lights/crossings), time trial position, 105-110% FTP, 2km of easy rolling in between
Running training - VO2max sample sessions
Track training (only the VO2max load elements are shown, run in/out independently)
- 8-12x 400m @110% threshold pace (SW), 200m trot break
- 5-8x 800m @106-108% SW, break 50m walk + 150m trot
- 200-400-600-800-1000m (120%-115%-110%-105%-100% SW), in between each 100m walking break
Sample calculation 110% SW: assumed threshold pace 5:00 min/km (= 300 sec), then 110% SW = 270 sec = 4:30 min/km pace.
Endurance runs with VO2max - pace series:
- 60-70 min endurance run, basic pace GA1/FATmax with 4-8x 60s hard SB mountain intervals on a slight incline (2-4%), easy trot down interval break
- Tempo change run: Run in 2-3 km, then 5x1 km change of pace, each 0.5 km EB + 0.5 km GA1, then run out 1-2 km
- Tempo run: Warm up for 15 minutes, then 3x 8 minutes EB, then 2 minutes easy, then 15-20 minutes GA1