Ask a Coach: I hate VO2 max sessions - how can I make them bearable?

Struggling with those really hard efforts? They're tough, but so worth it. Here's how to nail VO2 max intervals

Indoor training
(Image credit: Future)

There’s no certainty in this world except death, taxes and – for us cyclists – torturous VO2max sessions. There’s no escaping the fact that top-end work, however deeply unpleasant it might be, is a training essential. Usually completed sparingly towards the latter part of a training block, VO2max workouts turbo-charge your performance, giving you a potentially race-winning edge on the big day. But before we start dreaming of podium positions, we’ve got to actually complete these intervals in a way that yields the greatest possible dividends. Here’s how to approach those dreaded red blocks of work… 

Headshot of trainsharp coach john sharples
Jon Sharples

To create this article, we spoke to Jon Sharples - lifelong cyclist and the founder, director and head coach of Trainsharp Cycle Coaching (

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Steve has been writing (mainly fitness features) for Cycling Weekly for 11 years. His current riding inclination is to go long on gravel bikes... which melds nicely with a love of carbs