Among the many weapons in the armament of the cyclist who wants to ride stronger, one of the least practiced and most important is VO2 max repeatability. The ability to accelerate and push your body to the limits, recover at threshold and repeat that process over and over is one of the most versatile and important skills for a cyclist to possess. It’s also the one that’s almost always lacking in the cyclists that I consult with or coach, and it’s one I drill home in my training plans.
The real question most people follow up with is “why?”
Before I answer, first let’s delve into VO2 max a little bit. For our purposes, a VO2 max level effort (or a Zone 5/Z5 effort) is a suprathreshold effort that is sustainable for around 3-8 minutes (depending on the intensity of the effort.) It is a mixture of aerobic and anaerobic energy production and is most often used in pursuits, attacks, bridging small gaps and short climbs. By the numbers, it’s an 8 to an 8.5/10 on an RPE scale, 105%-120% of Functional Threshold Power and >105% Lactate Threshold Heart Rate.
After the jump, I’ll give you some more detailed information and a couple workouts to help you build your Zone 5 Repeatability (Z5R) ability.