Race intensity, VO2, breathing

So I did my first ever race on Saturday. It was a circuit with several short punchy hills for 80 minutes.
I had been working on the off season 32 week plan SS 1 and then transferred to Road and Crit race intervals for 2 weeks prior to the race.
I’m pretty new to training still. But I’ve had a 16watt increase in ftp from October ftp test to my ftp test 2 weeks ago.
During the race I could feel that I was not as strong as the pack. I tried to draft and recover as much as possible but the front girls would surge several times throughout the lap which ultimately my breathing started to suffer. We had 5 laps and I stayed with the front group through lap 4 and hesitated on a surge and then I couldn’t close the gap.
My breathing was so hard that I felt it held me back, especially when the rest of the group didn’t seem to be breathing hard. I guess my question would be, will more VO2 intervals (like 20 secs on 10 off) strengthen my breathing for high intensity races?
Or perhaps my breathing was so intense because I wasn’t quite as strong as the group?
After the race I actually continued to struggle breathing for a few hours, coughing and feeling raspy.

Awesome congrats!! I remember my first race, wowzers.

Sounds like you went really hard - this is how racing is - its hard and it can ‘hurt’ but that’s exactly how you ‘do it’.

If you FTP was lower than your competition’s yes, while they are subthreshold and nose breathing you may be riding @ threshold or VO2 Max and consequently breathing harder. This is also how racing is and how you can tell when your competition is going easy or hard.

Sounds right - after a good hard race many athletes continue to cough - it usually goes away after a few races after the beginning of the season. What has happened is that your respiratory rate during the race was higher than it has been in awhile - and the flow of air through your air passageways loosened up the phlegm lining your larynx. Its like swift moving water loosening up the soil on the bottom of a river and turning the water muddy. Nothing to be worried about - welcome to the club!

Congrats on your first race and good luck with your next!

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Precisely what Frank said!! It’s your body telling you that you left it all out there. Way to push your limits & congrats on your first race finish! :raised_hands:t3:
Keep #FtFP’ing and with time your fitness will improve and you will be the one nose breathing while someone behind you is huffing and puffing :wink:

Side note: If it happens really badly to the point that your chest hurts for days or you feel like your chest is tightening significantly during training (good indication is your lungs hurt before your legs can even “burn”) - check with a pulmonologist as it could be athletic asthma (aka Exercise-induced Bronchospasm). I have it and let me tell ya, I don’t leave home without my inhaler lol.

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