HIIT Interval Pacing

I started using Athletica 5 weeks ago, following the medium volume cycling training plan. Previously I had completed 3 months + of self-coached base training. For context I’m a 49-year-old male, with a 10 year + cycling training history.

Athletica has introduced me to HIIT training, which is new to me, having previously used conventional intervals to train high intensity. I’ve completed two weeks of Athletica base and now moved on to the build phase. However, with the higher load of both Vo2 max and VT2 sessions each week in build, I’m finding my fatigue level s are high, and I’m starting to struggle to complete the full set of prescribed Vo2 Max and VT2 workouts.

I have a question on pacing the Vo2 Max and VT2 intervals. I’ve been pacing these workouts pretty much to exhaustion, to the extent of having nothing left in the tank for even one more interval at the end of the session. With the HIIT intervals (Vo2 Max and VT2 ) prescribed by Athletica, should I be aiming the interval power within the prescribed power band so I push pretty much to exhaustion, or is it better to back off the power slightly (within the prescribed band) to finish the set of intervals with always ‘one more’ interval left in the tank?


I think you already know the answer. If you are getting overly fatigued that’s going to impact both the quality of subsequent workouts and your consistency and motivation . I’d back off the power and monitor fatigue.

The @Prof is away but he’d say your most important workout is the next one…

I’m on the medium volume cycling plan as well. As you adapt you’ll find you are better able to manage the proscribed power targets of the intervals.

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Hey Phil and welcome! Thanks for giving Athletica a try!

I’m sorry you are feeling fatigued. Let’s see if I can help you pace the intervals and give you an advice to get you back on track.

I would recommend you to listen to your body and if feeling very fatigued; opt for a zone 2 session. If you feel like the overall high intensity ia too much, start with only one hiit per week. Then increase as you build fitness.

Secondly, are your zones calibrated? You did those tests during the test week when you started? This ensures your target zones to be appropriate for you.

Third, although vo2 max sessions are all out (as hard as you can), you should always leave a session feeling like you had 1-2 more in the tank. Hit the target and walk away, as @Prof says. We now have a great tool to help you with this: workout reserve. If you install it to your watch or bike comp you can watch the WR go down towards 0% which means you are close to a new personal performance. You can use this tool help with backing off before you are drained. If you leave a session feeling like you ‘be got two in the tank, your recovery should not take too long and you can train again the next day. If you tank yourself every time you may need more time to recover. Consistency is the key as we all know.

Another tip would be to allow yourself some slack. Do what works for you. When feeling fatigued, adjust. Use the workout wizard or opt for an easy session. You are still on the start of the journey with athletica, and sometimes changing to a new way of training will take some time before you find what works for you. Don’t be afraid to adjust it to better fit you. Adjust how many hiit sessions you do, leave something in the tank, do an easy session if after first set of intervals you are not feeling it. The most important - you enjoy your training and look forward to it session after session. Stay healthy!!

Hope this helps.


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Here’s a link to the workout reserve installation Garmin ConnectIQ Workout Reserve data field - #268 by cmaloney

Marjaana and Phil thanks for the comments, very helpful.

Regarding Zones, I skipped test week but only as I’d completed 1 min, 5min and 20 min power tests the week before I started with Athletica, so I’m confident in my zone setting.

Reflecting on the comments, it’s now clear to me I have been pushing myself too hard on the weekly Vo2 max and VT2 sessions, to the point it’s not sustainable for a block of training. Thanks for helping to re-calibrate my expectations for just how fatiguing the HIIT sessions should be!

I’m going to reset my expectations and aim to hit the bottom end of the power zones for the Vo2 max and VT2 sessions for the moment, and focus on making the HIIT sessions tough, but not to the point I’m unable to recover sufficiently.