Individual response to same Vo2max workout

Hey training science friends,

here are few photos of our data files showing exactly the same workout 3x4x40/20 with instructions to aim at steady individual power targets throughout the workout and within intervals.

Super interesting to see how different our internal responses (HR) are. Also note the green line, which is the Workout Reserve. Are you using WR on your device? Tell us how are you interpreting it and whether it is helping you make smart training decisions on the fly?

Let’s start a conversation on how you interpret the data :chart_with_upwards_trend: would love to hear your thoughts.

These are from our Wednesday vo2max warriors zwift meetups, which you are welcome to join in! Check out the Riding together thread. :thread:


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and here is mine


For today’s workout. You can see these went the wrong way after the second set. I bottomed out at mWR at 8%. I think I am still carrying fatigue from the race on Saturday.


Good Morning,

What an interesting conversation!
Thanks for starting it Marjaana :thinking:
Appreciation to the athletes whose data is shown in this conversation!

A couple of quick questions without any attached outcome considerations:

  1. Do all the athletes shown have similar interval histories in a reasonable training window?

  2. Are the athletes generally at the same weekly training volume or load?

  3. Do all the athletes shown have a reasonably similar training history?

Similar to @amn2099 thoughts I wonder if there could be some cumulative fatigue not able to be seen in this session window.
Curious also if there could be differences in the athletes phase of training regarding durability or fatigue resistance. In the same vein of curiosity, there does appear to be non-consistent HR response to the third set of Intervals and then continuing on during the recovery phase of the session alongside an interesting power profile. Having said that now that I quickly look again their HR seems more volatile/reactive throughout the session against the other athletes.
Subjectively I feel that possibly this athlete was experiencing something during the last interval group that they related to and then modified their behaviour during the recovery section of the session.
I would guess that some internal dialogue was happening for sure; I would be very curious about what was occurring in the “experience and mind” of this athlete during the last 40% of the session.

Can’t wait to see what anyone else may see in the session data :newspaper: :hugs:.


Thanks for the insight and detailed analysis. I never have time to go through this detail so your thoughts are appreciated.

On April 10th, mine was the mWR of 8%. Both sessions posted I was at 8%. Regarding the earlier session, I was feeling better. This session, I was engaged but ash shown a decrease in power as the session progressed. I raced Saturday, took Sunday/Monday completely off, back to training yesterday with a tempo run and easy spin after - the purpose of that was so I wasn’t going to feel like this session would wreck me. There is a virus moving through our home so maybe there is an onset of sickness. I feel fine though right now.


@Cubicfunction thwnk you for chiming in, great reflections.

To answer your questions:

  1. I would characterize all of us experienced athletes with at least 5+ years of triathlon or cycling training - I think I am actually the novice of the bunch with 9 years of tri.
  2. I don’t know our weekly volume
  3. Good question. We do triathlons, some shorter distances, a few long distance, some do long cycling, some marathons. I’d say we are all pretty fit. Age range in our 40s to 60s. Two females, rest males.

This was our second or third session together, but I think all of us had done these intervals alone many times before. This was before races- this weekend / I believe we are all on build phases or just getting towards taper weeks…, j@amn2099 posted this week’s set above , and athletes had competed the weekend before and it was hard to push through these sets- if you want to see them, maybe two more will post theirs (I’m not naming names to respect their privacy) . . I am doing IMTX this week and curious to see if I can get through one set next week!

I like your reflections, and questions. The point was to show how different these graphs :chart_with_upwards_trend: can look between athletes. And yes, experience, previous training background, accumulated fatigue, and mental dialogue all affect our ability to push through these. Also, when there are irregularities especially in the last set; it’s important to make note and check with your feeling: what did I feel during that last set?

I would also highlight that we want to leave these sessions feeling like we could have down 1 or 2 more, and not completely tank ourselves so we can pick up the running shoes the next morning and get back to work. Occasionally when we do push ourselves a little too hard, just make sure to allow yourself a little extra recovery. :mending_heart: these sets are super fun to do as a group but i don’t want anyone to push themselves so much that they can’t pick it up again the next day. :heart:

I’m looking forward to next week’s session - although I know it will be very hard for me after a full IM. :laughing:

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“I would also highlight that we want to leave these sessions feeling like we could have down 1 or 2 more”

Like we discussed afterward, this was not the case for me. And I noticed I was limited to a 5% reduction I think.

To echo your comment. I think we are all very experienced athletes who recognize that at some point, doing steady-state efforts, are not going to cut it for those who have been at this a while. These types of efforts are really powerful, but like you said, we need to ensure we are in the right “window”.

We need to try and recruit more that have the same mindset as us because this session is turning out to be the best one that I do all week.


@amn2099 this just made my day!!! :heart:

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Good Luck on Saturday.


In re: “how do you use the WR data?”…

The first few sessions of these made it seem like I was setting too low of a wattage target for each interval as my WR never really dropped below the high teens. I thought the targets made sense (and it sure felt like they were correct in the moment!). Might have been the case the the math was using the only earlier sessions that approximated these efforts, which were 30/30s (much “easier”). Not sure…

So, looking at the prior WRs and seeing that I might have some more power in there, I set the target higher this week (310, up from 300). Turns out, I could get it done (ignoring the pogoing effect we see on Zwift when targeting these levels of output while on rolling terrain). I imagine I’ll keep upping the target until I start become unable to push harder during the final few efforts and hold it there until I see improvement (I likely am approximating a near-term peak in expected potential for these workouts, so 315 or thereabouts might be it for awhile).

Net/net: super-helpful as a gauge of present effort, versus prior. As I mentioned during our workout this week, I seek not to focus solely on the data, but I find that metrics like these help me to moderate mental barriers that might otherwise be limiting my efforts in the moment.


Yeeessss!!! I agree, and I will tag @Andrea and @Phil here because I think your comment is so useful! WR live on your bike comp or watch is so useful and personally I think it can be the secret sauce for athletes to eke out that “little” extra and progress … thank you for your insights @SoCal1x


session chart from today’s workout.


Nice work today Ben. After your power dropped on during the first set, you were ready to power up again. but ready to rock on the surprise set! You pushed it!

Here’s mine.


And mine:


Loved the “how about 2 more?” MJ!


legs weren’t quite ready for this after the salty dog race on Sunday - but it was fun to catch up with everyone! You can see that I rebelled on the final 2 - ha ha. I don’t like surprises - lol.


Your heart rate went to zero at start, are you okay? :flushed:


Woopsie ! Connection problems looks like as power dropped as well

So funny :joy: you’re a rock start for showing up after all that climbing !