My INSCYD Testing Shows Need for Improving Cycling VO2max

INSCYD provides analytical software I use as a coach. After my own test, I'm working on improving cycling VO2max and sprint power.

Three Things to Know About My INSCYD Testing

  1. I have a big aerobic engine, and I need to improve my VO2max.
  2. Strength training and sprint training will improve my VLamax.
  3. I need to do my long aerobic endurance rides at a lower power level to train my body to use fat stores as a fuel.

Improving My Cycling Threshold is Key

In order to learn how to use the INSCYD software and understand the results, I did the tests myself. 

I use the INSCYD analytical software for improving cycling VO2max, functional training zones, VLamax, and a host of other important metrics for my clients.

Best of all, the accuracy of the software has been correlated to testing in a lab.

So instead of spending a lot of time and money at a lab getting your blood drawn, you do the INSCYD testing and find out even more than the lab results

I foresee the INSCYD testing dramatically changing how we monitor our training. 

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Critical Power Tests with INSCYD Testing

There are four tests to do for the INSCYD assessment: a 30-second sprint, a three-minute, six-minute, and 12-minute all-out efforts. 

These are the traditional critical power tests. 

You can also repeat the tests to show that you’re improving your cycling VO2max. 

I did some research without success about the most effective way to do these tests.

Should you do them all in one day? 

Is there an order that works best? 

But Chris at INSCYD said it doesn’t matter.

Nor does it matter, he says, if you do the INSCYD testing over several days. 

The Critical Power Tests are No Joke

The three- and 12-minute efforts were really hard but doable. 

The six-minute, though, was really hard. 

Maybe it was because it was the last test.

I kept looking at the average power output, which is always a mistake. 

I stopped, changed the screens on my bike computer so I only saw time, and just rode as hard as I could. 

Finishing the INSCYD testing was a good thing!

The Results: Time for Improving Threshold Percentage Of VO2max

I entered the numbers into the software and learned what I already knew: I am pretty slow, very aerobic, with a lot of room for growth with speed work! 

Plus I have no sprint (although that number may be different because of the testing timing).

My cycling VO2 max is 46.5, which is pretty average, and my power at threshold is 244w, which is the lowest it’s ever been!

However, that reflects the kind of training I’ve done these past two years: putting in a lot of long-distance rides to increase aerobic capacity.

It shows there’s a big need for improving my cycling VO2max.

There’s some evidence that I can increase the VO2 a little still at my age. 

What I Learned For My Training Program

I learned a lot about my training and how it needs to change from the INSCYD testing.

I’m also hopeful (because this is how I’ve planned my year!) that I’m coming into cyclocross season a little undertrained with VO2max interval work.

The data shows that

  • I start to use glycolytic energy (anaerobic) relatively quickly over 200 watts.
  • I’m doing my base riding – the long rides – with too much effort. I need to reduce the average watts while maintaining my time in the saddle.
  • I need to continue lifting heavy things in the weight room, particularly for my glutes, core, and upper body to improve my VLamax.
  • I need to do improve my VO2max cycling training!

Training Goals for the Cyclocross Season

So the goal for the cross season and the next chunk of training time is improving cycling VO2max.

I need to do more VO2max cycling training workouts by spending more time above my threshold.

My sprint capacity, also fairly low, is another target.

But since much of the work now becomes the 30/15s/ 15/15s, and other short, really hard intervals, both the VO2max and sprint capacity numbers should increase. 

Plus racing cross is all about staying at a high intensity with lots of short, hard bursts.

So if I continue to focus on the regular season races being training races, I should find some serious form for states, regionals, and nationals! 

At least that’s what I’ll keep telling myself after this round of INSCYD testing.

Still Curious About What You Can Achieve? 

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