VO2 Max Booster Program – Fartlek or Races As VO2 Max Training

One of the most important factors for your success is motivation. When you are motivated, there is no limit to what you can achieve. I know that many of you like to do training races or criteriums midweek. Today we will use such races to help you to achieve a higher VO2 max.

If for some reason you cannot take part in a criterium or similar event tonight, there is still hope for you.  The keyword is “fartlek” training , which I will also explain to you.

Fartlek as VO2 Max Training

In Wikipedia they have described it as the following:
“Fartlek, which means ‘speed play’ in Swedish, is a form of conditioning which puts stress mainly on the aerobic energy system due to the continuous nature of this exercise. The difference between this type of training and continuous training is that the intensity or speed of the exercise varies, meaning that aerobic and anaerobic systems can be put under stress. Most fartlek sessions last a minimum of 45 minutes and can vary from aerobic walking to anaerobic sprinting.”

My experience with fartlek training is that it works best when you have a group of motivated riders who understand the rules of this training type. Then you will have a great time racing with activity that will bring you all physiological benefits that you would have achieved in a criterium.

Races as VO2 Max Training

Races are a very effective way to improve performance. It is often said that races are the best kind of training. I would rather say that races might be the easiest way to improve performance.

Today you do not have to speculate about doing specific VO2 max intervals. You will just follow the pack and try your best to produce a good result. During the race you will get plenty of different intervals including several minutes close to your VO2 max. Races train a wide range of skills and will not be as focused as the intervals from the previous days.

Nevertheless, this day will provide great training for you and you might feel that the last eight days have already helped you. If that is not the case, don’t worry. I do not expect you to reap the rewards from the accumulated training load until at least a couple of days after the VO2 Max Booster Program.

Day 9
Total training: 1hr15min
15min incremental warm up
50min criterium/fartlek
10min cool down

Next step: Day 10 – More Active Recovery (Did you miss day 8?)

4 comments… add one
  • abdulla jaber

    i totally agree with you jesper for mid week races or fertlek to improve
    your VOmax improvement, for me as a head coach for bahrain cycling team i always focus on a fast motor pacing fertlek which i play in speed
    of the motor bike , so i go like 50 to 55km for 5 to 8 minuts then i keep the speed for lets say 40– 45km for 15 mints before i increase the speed again, but make sure that you have the riders that they can do
    this sort of work and they have enough experience to get the wheels of other riders.

  • Alexander

    Do you have a good alternative workout to fartlek or a race for this day? I’d rather continue doing at least some type of intervals or a more specific plan.

  • There a plenty of examples in the VO2 max booster program. If you prefer to do planned intervals then that’s your Fartlek session. I prefer to keep the training program this way because it makes the training program more flexible.

  • Ross Hetherington

    Hi Jesper,

    Thanks for this plan and your newsletter emails, which I always find interesting. I’ve been doing structured interval training on Zwift since January, and I discovered your training programme via whatsonzwift.com/workouts

    I wouldn’t normally have been able to arrange a race in real life just for Day 9’s purposes, but that’s the beauty of Zwift – there are loads to choose from. I did a 4 lap race, came 6th (out of 46), got a new FTP and managed to finally hit the magical 4.0 W/Kg for an hour. So all in all, well chuffed. Thanks for your training tips – I’m sure they’ve helped.

    Cheers,
    Ross

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