Cycling Training Tips

VO2 Max Booster Program – Avoid Failure Training

Would it be better to do an extra interval if you had the legs for it? One of the most challenging questions to answer is when is the right time to stop doing intervals. More intervals will usually inspire your body to grow stronger. So, if you can maintain the correct intensity for an extra interval, you will probably get even stronger.

But I have to underline the importance of not burning out. If you cannot complete that extra interval, you will have to pay for it. There are both psychological and physiological debts you have to pay afterwards. Therefore, I always recommend you steer well clear of failure training.

That means you have to stop intervals BEFORE you cannot maintain the correct power output.

On Day 7, you are the one to decide when you have had enough. I would like you to stop the intervals at the point where you are entirely sure that you could do one more interval if you had to. It is not an easy job because you are supposed to push yourself very hard, but not too hard. However, this skill characterizes many successful cyclists and has developed over many years.

Day 7
Total time: app. 1hr
10min incremental warm-up
5min 70% VO2 max
3min 75% VO2 max
2min 80% VO2 max
10min 60% VO2 max
?? x (30+30sec) 100 / 50% VO2 max (close to your max repetitions, but no failure training)
15min easy rolling

Next step: Day 8 – More training and summary of Week 1 (Did you miss Day 6?)

15 thoughts on “VO2 Max Booster Program – Avoid Failure Training”

  1. Just curious – I recently completed a test to find my FTP (essentially my CP60). Can I use a certain percentage of this value as my VO2 for these workouts? If so, what percentage should be used?



  2. Jesper,
    what is a typical “??” value? I was able to complete 21 rounds before getting bored :-), and I was aiming to a value higher (well, a little higher) than 100% of VO2max (I know it because I own a PowerTap).

  3. 21 is a high number, well done. I guess you will make a nice improvement next time you test your VO2 max. 🙂


  4. I had it in my mind to match the 21 from Simone. I completed them and still had a little gas in the tank I will save for day 14.

  5. Hi Jesper.

    I´m already buy your book and i´m learning so much with you.
    Thank you for sharing your knowledge to all of us.

    Tomorrow (07/04/2011) i´m finishing this VO2max booster program and then i post my results of the VO2max test.

    In this day(day 7) in ?? i´m was able to complete 25 rounds and i felt great and felt that i can do more if i want. I´m presuming that it´s a good number our i´m wrong.


  6. Hi Jesper.

    I have a question. I have been training following your great methods for a few years now. I am in the middle of my third or fourth time through the VO2 booster and I have a question. I have always done the 30 second intervals at the wattage I calculated during my 5 minute test. The problem is that even if I go 20-25 watts higher, I just don’t seem to get tired. I’m always stopping after 45-50 repetitions because I’m worried I’m doing it wrong. The numbers are based on my powertap measurements so they should be accurate.

    I am not saying this to brag but I am curious if the workout should be 30 seconds all out, because that would make me tired for sure!!

    Thanks for such a great website.

  7. Martin Overgaard

    Hi all,

    I just want to share my experience my day 7 with you. I did 15 repetitions averaging 100% of my 5min test and I was just under my AT heart rate. After this I cranked up the power to 115-120% and was able to do 5 more. If I had stayed at 100% I believe that I could have kept on for allmost an hour as I was just under my AT heart rate.

    So i did a total of 20 repetitions 100-120%


  8. Hi Jesper,
    I’m about to do this interval session session tomorrow. I use a tacx flow. I am very untrained at the moment having had 3 years of injury and little training. I am 37 and 77kg. I scored 303 watts for 5 mins. This is somewhat lower than my readings when i was in shape. I, like those above am curious as to how many should be a good amount to do, as i’ve cranking up the watts to 350 for the 30 second intervals just to feel that i’m making an effort, of course at present i’d struggle to do this for 5 mins. Is it bad form to do this or should I stick to the program and just do 30secs at 300 watts and just carry on?



  9. Hi Jesper, Update from yesterday. I managed 20x 100/50’s of 5 min max power so 300w – 150w, then got bored and put the setting to 350 – 180) and did another 10. I think that i had at least few more in me but my knee was starting to hurt. Now, I gather from the above that this, at least for me, is pretty good. My only ‘special move’ in cycling was always 30 – 45 secs of a decent power output (when trained about 750-800 for 45secs) everything else i was distinctly average at. Is this what has skewed these results somewhat? Is there any way that i need to adapt my training to take these results into account?

    Many thanks


  10. Hi Jesper . it seems that this training for Zwift does not include the 10 min 60% VO2Max part , am I right?

  11. Jesper I am glad I read through this thread of comments as I was sitting here wondering how on earth I was going to manage 80 reps of 100/50. I have just completed day 4.
    Would you recommend only doing these sessions as your daily training as I was thinking of doing the BCC 10 mile TT on Zwift which I do on most Thursdays but am worried it will adversely affect the rest of the VO2 sessions. Jim

  12. Hi Jeroen, Not sure how the VO2 max booster program ended on Swift in the first place, but I’m happy that people enjoy the training program. If there are any issues, maybe the Swift crew can fix it.

  13. Do this plan for the first time. I counted 21.
    Perhaps there where 1 or 2 more in the Legs but it was hard.
    After the 20-minute warm-up and before Interval 1, the head says: no way one…
    After 5, I thought: How am I supposed to make more?
    It’s hard to motivate yourself, especially when there’s a 20x in the set. So in my head I divided it into 5x sentences. after 15 only thought of the next

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