Sunday, September 16, 2012

Weekend Workouts: VO2 Max Intervals

I'd been looking for a way to do some interval work over the offseason.  After both giving it some thought and doing a little research, I finally came up with the following workout, which I did twice this weekend, once running and once on the bike.  I liked how it felt, so I figured I'd share.

Warm Up: 10 to 15 minutes easy.
 - Running: Easy run for 7 minutes.  Then 3 x :30 jumps with :30 rest.
 - Cycling: 15 minutes easy spinning.

Main Set: 2 x (5 x 2:00 [VO2 max pace] / 1:00 active recovery)
 - Running: VO2 max pace is about your 5K race pace.  Active recovery is just easy jogging.
 - Cycling: I used my Sprint triathlon cycling race pace for my VO2 max.  That's about 90% effort.  Hard spinning, around 100 or even 110 rpm because it was windy.

Warm Down: I warmed down for about a minute or so easy and then tried to re-establish an easy aerobic pace.  Both running and riding, I worked another 10 - 15 minutes before heading in to the barn.

A VO2 max workout is intended to improve your total cardiovascular fitness level.  It's kind of a generic interval workout, intended to make it easier for your to go faster so that when you're racing later, your race pace will feel easier compared to the way you're used to training.

The concept is similar to doing weight workouts to get stronger in order to improve your ability to do a two-minute push-up test.  If it's easier to do a single push-up, then you'll be able to do more over two minutes.  Similarly, if you're capable of running a series of good hard quarter mile intervals, it'll be much easier in a race to put down a strong, sustained race pace aerobic effort.

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