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Polarized training (PT)...Good for low volume rider?

Old 01-07-21, 02:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Wattsup View Post
That article says how very good polarized training is.......if you only have way more hrs / week for training.
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Old 01-07-21, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by cubewheels View Post
That article says how very good polarized training is.......if you only have way more hrs / week for training.
No, but the link to a study I posted earlier in the thread did show that PT benefited those with only 6 hrs a week. What I like about the article I just posted is that it's kind of like "PT by the numbers', a PT primer, a good explantion and suggestions on how to implement for a recreational cyclist. The author says that 10 hours a week is sufficient. In order to do 10 hours a week, I'd have to switch my easy indoor rides from 1 hour to 2 hours. Also, I liked how the author said that the 4x8 (2 min inbetween) intervals were the most effective for the "hard rides" in PT. I can barely hack the 1 hour easy rides indoors, they are so boring. To help, I just bought a 10" ipad. I think I can perch myself on the bike for 2 hours while watching a movie or a couple epsodes of Seinfeld. I have a 30 mile stretch of gravel that I enjoy riding once a week, I think I'll try working in two of them, and move up with a few 2 hour indoor easy rides from there.
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Old 01-07-21, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Wattsup View Post
No, but the link to a study I posted earlier in the thread did show that PT benefited those with only 6 hrs a week. What I like about the article I just posted is that it's kind of like "PT by the numbers', a PT primer, a good explantion and suggestions on how to implement for a recreational cyclist. The author says that 10 hours a week is sufficient. In order to do 10 hours a week, I'd have to switch my easy indoor rides from 1 hour to 2 hours. Also, I liked how the author said that the 4x8 (2 min inbetween) intervals were the most effective for the "hard rides" in PT. I can barely hack the 1 hour easy rides indoors, they are so boring. To help, I just bought a 10" ipad. I think I can perch myself on the bike for 2 hours while watching a movie or a couple epsodes of Seinfeld. I have a 30 mile stretch of gravel that I enjoy riding once a week, I think I'll try working in two of them, and move up with a few 2 hour indoor easy rides from there.
Having just done a few months of the very training your are contemplating, those trainer or outdoor rides are not just perching yourself on the bike.

I assume from your OP that you have a power meter and know your FTP. You should also be using an HRM. Remember that the 3-zone system was developed and polarized training formalized by reviewing the HR logs of Nordic skiers. They don't have power.

So: You should ride at a steady 70%-75% of your current FTP, or what you think it is, and at about a 90 cadence at least to start with. You want to observe your breathing, which should be slow and deep. You should be able to breathe through your nose. If you have to open your mouth, your power may be too high. Your HR after about a 1/2 hour conditioning period should not go up, rising HR during steady exercise is known as HR drift. Maybe 1-2 beats, no more. If you're getting drift, drop the power next time and ride at that lower power a few times before raising it again. OTOH, you don't want to go too easy, either. You should be near the upper limit w/r to breathing and HR drift.

You're trying to stimulate your aerobic system. As pointed out above, that involves some stress. If you can't make it 2 hours somewhere near that limiting power, stop when you get tired. Have at it again tomorrow. You might want to start at 1 hour and increase by 15' every week. OTOH if you can hit 2 hours right from the start, good for you.

While you're pedaling along at a steady power, you can work on smoothing your pedal stroke and trying to find a pedaling dynamic which decreases your HR at that steady power. You'll also find that what goes on between your ears will affect your HR even though power hasn't changed. You want to avoid that, keeping your HR as low as you can while holding that power. Concentrating on all that, plus not falling off my rollers, keeps me interested enough. I'm a geezer, so I listen to "classic" rock music, loud.

You can try pedaling at the same power with a lower cadence. You'll find that will also reduce your HR and breathing rate, meaning you could pedal at a higher power to get that same workout in that same zone, just more muscle strain. OTOH, one wants to maintain comfort at 90-95 cadence, so not too much of that.

I haven't been doing this, but my reading suggests doing a 5" all-out sprint every 20' of the "easy" rides. I might try that today, now that I'm thinking of it.
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Old 01-07-21, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Having just done a few months of the very training your are contemplating, those trainer or outdoor rides are not just perching yourself on the bike.

I assume from your OP that you have a power meter and know your FTP. You should also be using an HRM. Remember that the 3-zone system was developed and polarized training formalized by reviewing the HR logs of Nordic skiers. They don't have power.

So: You should ride at a steady 70%-75% of your current FTP, or what you think it is, and at about a 90 cadence at least to start with. You want to observe your breathing, which should be slow and deep. You should be able to breathe through your nose. If you have to open your mouth, your power may be too high. Your HR after about a 1/2 hour conditioning period should not go up, rising HR during steady exercise is known as HR drift. Maybe 1-2 beats, no more. If you're getting drift, drop the power next time and ride at that lower power a few times before raising it again. OTOH, you don't want to go too easy, either. You should be near the upper limit w/r to breathing and HR drift.

You're trying to stimulate your aerobic system. As pointed out above, that involves some stress. If you can't make it 2 hours somewhere near that limiting power, stop when you get tired. Have at it again tomorrow. You might want to start at 1 hour and increase by 15' every week. OTOH if you can hit 2 hours right from the start, good for you.

While you're pedaling along at a steady power, you can work on smoothing your pedal stroke and trying to find a pedaling dynamic which decreases your HR at that steady power. You'll also find that what goes on between your ears will affect your HR even though power hasn't changed. You want to avoid that, keeping your HR as low as you can while holding that power. Concentrating on all that, plus not falling off my rollers, keeps me interested enough. I'm a geezer, so I listen to "classic" rock music, loud.

You can try pedaling at the same power with a lower cadence. You'll find that will also reduce your HR and breathing rate, meaning you could pedal at a higher power to get that same workout in that same zone, just more muscle strain. OTOH, one wants to maintain comfort at 90-95 cadence, so not too much of that.
Thanks for the insights. I'll see if I can implement some of your suggestions. Currently, I use a power meter and HRM indoors. Outdoors on the the 2 to 3 hour gravel rides, I used to use a HRM, but my Fenix 3 no longer recognizes it. So now I use perceived effort, namely, leg burn. Indoors, I find the HRM more useful than the power meter for getting into that zone 1. Zone 1 boundary is the aerobic threshold, just when your breathing starts to pick up. For me, it's easy to recognize. I warm up slowly, and after 15 minutes, i gradually hit that that threshold. It arrives at about 72% of my max heart rate every time, my true max on the bike. I expect the power level at which it arrives to increase over time, as in the MAF method.
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Old 01-08-21, 05:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Wattsup View Post
That article starts off with this premise that it's how elite athletes train, but then it references all of these sports and athletes that aren't cycling or cyclists. I mean, what?! That's kind of comical.

In addition, it's fairly common knowledge, and certainly well documented (letsrun.com has a massive treasure trove of information about this), that the really fast marathoners (like the 2:05 and below guys) are NOT doing polarized, but are specifically doing extended runs at marathon pace, and even up to 50k runs at sub-marathon pace. In fact, one of the biggest training "revolutions" of the past decades is pushing AeT pace to as close to AnT pace as possible for fueling concerns. So pretty much getting your zone 2 as high as possible with a lot of specific, targeted work.

It sounds like you really want to do polarized training, so might as well have a go with it. Whether or not you're getting 8 hours or t0 hours really isn't going to impact it one way of the other anymore than 8 hours versus 10 hours of a regular schedule would.

I do, however, 100% relate to your latter comment about it being super boring. Yes, it most definitely is tedious and monotonous as hell. It also neglects the training principle of reversibility to some extent, though if you want to work your way through some heinous max-aerobic/vo2 max slobber sessions all winter, that may mitigate some of that (though, ugh).
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Old 01-08-21, 05:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
While you're pedaling along at a steady power, you can work on smoothing your pedal stroke and trying to find a pedaling dynamic which decreases your HR at that steady power. You'll also find that what goes on between your ears will affect your HR even though power hasn't changed. You want to avoid that, keeping your HR as low as you can while holding that power.
Hahaha, yes. I think about a race situation or finish and my hr immediately jumps up 10-15 beats. Same if I'm watching a race finish, or even just an attack.

Oh, the fickleness of heart rate.
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Old 01-08-21, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
Hahaha, yes. I think about a race situation or finish and my hr immediately jumps up 10-15 beats. Same if I'm watching a race finish, or even just an attack.

Oh, the fickleness of heart rate.
All I have to do is notice that a rider has appeared in the distance in front of me. Bingo, the lion rises to his feet. Down boy, down boy.
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Old 01-08-21, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
That article starts off with this premise that it's how elite athletes train, but then it references all of these sports and athletes that aren't cycling or cyclists. I mean, what?! That's kind of comical.

In addition, it's fairly common knowledge, and certainly well documented (letsrun.com has a massive treasure trove of information about this), that the really fast marathoners (like the 2:05 and below guys) are NOT doing polarized, but are specifically doing extended runs at marathon pace, and even up to 50k runs at sub-marathon pace. In fact, one of the biggest training "revolutions" of the past decades is pushing AeT pace to as close to AnT pace as possible for fueling concerns. So pretty much getting your zone 2 as high as possible with a lot of specific, targeted work.

It sounds like you really want to do polarized training, so might as well have a go with it. Whether or not you're getting 8 hours or t0 hours really isn't going to impact it one way of the other anymore than 8 hours versus 10 hours of a regular schedule would.

I do, however, 100% relate to your latter comment about it being super boring. Yes, it most definitely is tedious and monotonous as hell. It also neglects the training principle of reversibility to some extent, though if you want to work your way through some heinous max-aerobic/vo2 max slobber sessions all winter, that may mitigate some of that (though, ugh).
I don't understand your saying that this "neglects the training principle of reversibility to some extent." It seems to me that starting off with easy work and building on that is part of reversibility: https://www.sports-training-adviser....principle.html

That bolded is something I'm interested in. So far nothing, but even after a few months, I'm just getting started. This smells like real long term stuff. Took the tandem out yesterday. Haven't been on it since May while trying to heal a saddle sore. Legs didn't have much - not much leg stress at 70% and 90 cadence. I'm going to try the much-derided low cadence work once a week. I can get 90% FTP at relatively low HRs. Not sure what cadence to use yet - want to work up to long intervals over the next 2 months, say 2 X 25 X 25. Won't do anything special for FTP, but might improve my ability to turn tandem cranks. I used to do thest at this time of year, back when I was strong. I'll finally start the Z3 (Z5) intervals next week.
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Old 01-08-21, 01:11 PM
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I am training about 8 hours per week on a 4 session schedule. Included in the 8 hours is warmup and to an extent warm down. I still get a lot of z1 whether I want it or not but my focus is more about setting up structured workouts within that 8 hour window.

I started using power in 2008 and have used 3rd party coaches since 2007 and raced every year until the pandemic. I have over 12 years of training for racing power workouts from 4 different coaches based upon power. My focus has been on races versus FTP or polarized training or sweet spot. The coaches have provided the structure to support the goals constrained by my physical attributes.

I like to ride fast and find tooling around boring. However, constant power rides a 70% FTP are not easy at least for me.

If I were to add more time to my current schedule, I would add more endurance by adding another day and increasing my weekend endurance time and add more higher intensity interval sets. The power level for more endurance ideally would be higher z2 and lower z3. If I were going to train for an upcoming time trial, I would add more z4 10 minute + intervals. If the LA track were open, I would restart coaching.

I stopped using HR in 2008 when I got my PM and then later a coach that I used wanted HR so I put it back on. He used it to determine “head room” i.e. potential to increase FTP. And he liked 20 minute FTP power tests with a multiplier. So I gave it to him.

I have a new Garmin 830 that requires HR to spit out some hilarious metrics at the end of the ride, so I wear mine to have a good laugh when I turn off the Garmin. The Garmin collects HR data from my Apple Watch and other HR data and using a proprietary formula provides a performance factor that flashes at the beginning of the ride. So I may see a plus 4 to plus 6 or maybe nothing. I find that interesting but it does not seem to match my reality while riding. YMMV.

And hopefully, we will have this pandemic behind us and I can go back to using a coach and periodization against goals.

I think rubiksoval did a good job explaining polarized and I agree with his assessment especially, that one has to do enough intensity over time to generate adaptation. And the small studies that are constantly quoted along with GCN and whoever podcasts are interesting and generate ideas but I hardly consider them science to live by and probably not applicable to many athletes.

IMO, coaches with a track record of success and a large cadre of athletes offer the best route for training plans and skills based upon the available time.

TL : DR. I do not use polarized training but I do train about 8 hours per week.
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Old 01-08-21, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
I don't understand your saying that this "neglects the training principle of reversibility to some extent." It seems to me that starting off with easy work and building on that is part of reversibility: https://www.sports-training-adviser....principle.html
If you're only ever riding at two speeds (4 sessions easy, one session hard), there's a lot in between and above you're not working on.
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Old 01-08-21, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Wattsup View Post
The "source" isn't always the all to end all. There may be others who have added to that science.
Wait, what? You're quoting the concepts of Seiler (well, he at least made them more mainstream), but contend that others may have then taken that and fundamentally changed it? And that provides more or less merit?

Because there's a helluva difference between 80/20 division of sessions, and 80/20 division of time in zones.
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Old 01-08-21, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
If you're only ever riding at two speeds (4 sessions easy, one session hard), there's a lot in between and above you're not working on.
Yes, quite so. We'll see. As I age, I have to keep experimenting because what worked last year won't necessarily work as well the next year. This year, I'm starting off with PT to improve my aerobic ability, which is usually not very good. We'll see. When we took the tandem out yesterday for the first time since May, I was very pleased to feel us climbing at 90 cadence, much faster than we we've used before. I think that's from all the 70-75% trainer time. We had our usual HR distribution - mostly in Z3 (out of 5). No power on the tandem, too expensive, but we certainly had some Z4-5 power in there, just not for long periods. Went better than I thought it would. Still crappy, though.

My understanding of PT is that there are two ways to make power: aerobic and anaerobic. The idea is to maximally train both those power sources, separately. Everything in between, the "zones," are simply varying mixes of those 2 power sources.
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Old 01-08-21, 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
My understanding of PT is that there are two ways to make power: aerobic and anaerobic. The idea is to maximally train both those power sources, separately. Everything in between, the "zones," are simply varying mixes of those 2 power sources.
Except for very short all-out efforts, both aerobic and anaerobic metabolism contribute to power production.
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Old 01-08-21, 08:12 PM
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Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
Except for very short all-out efforts, both aerobic and anaerobic metabolism contribute to power production.
Yes. Is it possible to train aerobic with almost no anaerobic component? My reading says that PT trained elites produce almost no lactate below AeT, which might indicate that's true? OTOH we can't only train anaerobically, but we can train that metabolic contribution as hard as we can. The question in all this is what's the perfect mix of training? Lots of debate about that. It seems possible that the usual training of varying amounts in the various zones is simply another way of coming at that same problem, but with more history to it - and perhaps less chance of injury by adding in the anaerobic component more gradually, starting with zone 3, etc. It's also interesting that the PT anaerobic training is all relatively low end for that sort of thing, 105% FTP, no more. Whereas the usual zonal training would have us doing 3 X 3, 1 X 1, 30"/15", etc. at much higher proportions of AnT. I don't understand the logic. Perhaps no one does yet - so many studies out there now. But of course human studies are always flawed. So difficult to isolate the variables.
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Old 01-08-21, 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Yes. Is it possible to train aerobic with almost no anaerobic component? My reading says that PT trained elites produce almost no lactate below AeT, which might indicate that's true?
Almost is not zero. Below AeT lactate barely rises above resting levels, but this is not because it isn’t being produced, but rather it is being metabolized at the same rate it is created. And that’s true for all humans, not just PT trained athletes.
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Old 01-18-21, 03:01 PM
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Ok, so I solved my conundrum. I've decided to do pyramidal. Seems reasonable. I'll gradually work in more easy workouts as my butt gets used to being on that saddle for more than an hour.
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Old 01-18-21, 05:21 PM
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6-8 hours you can crank out 2 interval sessions and one long endurance ride and still get your 80-20. Most people wouldn't recommend more than 2 interval sessions a week anyway to non-pros.
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Old 01-18-21, 10:43 PM
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Originally Posted by ZHVelo View Post
6-8 hours you can crank out 2 interval sessions and one long endurance ride and still get your 80-20. Most people wouldn't recommend more than 2 interval sessions a week anyway to non-pros.
The 80/20 balance thing has folks interpreting it in several ways. The most common is 4 days low, 1 day high. I've seen it as a time in zone thing which IME&O is undoable: not enough low end to support that much Z5 volume.. I've also seen the following, which is a mix of those ideas, but more the young racer program:
1 hour high
2 hours low
4 hours low
1 hour high.
2 hours low
4 hours low
off

It's still January and I'm aiming for June-July rides and events. I'm doing 1 day high, 3 days low steady state, 2 days low HR high muscle work pedaling drills or aerobic crosstrain, 6-8 hours/week total, including 40' dumbbells twice a week after riding - if I have the energy.

I'll probably start 2 days high in March. Of course this all is assuming that there are rides and events this summer, which is still quite doubtful. FUBAR takes a long time to turn around.
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Old 01-19-21, 04:57 AM
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If you work from home, you can put in more hours with a trainer (juggling between work and workouts) if you can be flexible with training schedule.
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Old 01-19-21, 07:17 AM
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Originally Posted by ZHVelo View Post
6-8 hours you can crank out 2 interval sessions and one long endurance ride and still get your 80-20. Most people wouldn't recommend more than 2 interval sessions a week anyway to non-pros.
That's not polarized training in the least.
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Old 01-19-21, 07:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
The 80/20 balance thing has folks interpreting it in several ways. .

There's no interpretation. It is 8 easy sessions and 2 hard sessions, as you posted.

It is never time in zone and never has been.
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Old 01-19-21, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
There's no interpretation. It is 8 easy sessions and 2 hard sessions, as you posted.

It is never time in zone and never has been.
Well, there are always a lot of people who are doing it wrong, that's for sure. In that vein, while I'm very new at this, it's looking to me like this PT thing s not something you pick up in January and race in March or April. Looks to me like it takes some time, like months, to get the desired training response.

I started this in September and did my first intervals 2 days ago. My standing resting HR this morning was 52. I've never seen that before. I could feel my atrial and ventricular beats. Emphasizing that's after intervals 2 days ago. Gotta have both ends of it. A heavy schedule of low end raised my resting HR, though I didn't get tired as long as I kept up with my carbs and sleep. I was surprised to see that it did take extra carbs to do that. I would have thought that increased fat burning would take care of the volume, but no, not at 75% it wouldn't, at least not in my bod..
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Old 01-21-21, 01:49 PM
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ZHVelo
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
There's no interpretation. It is 8 easy sessions and 2 hard sessions, as you posted.

It is never time in zone and never has been.
Sure? When I first came across 80-20 it was I believe about runners and they had the hours in each zone displayed. Looked very much like time spent in certain zones.
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Old 01-21-21, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
The 80/20 balance thing has folks interpreting it in several ways. The most common is 4 days low, 1 day high. I've seen it as a time in zone thing which IME&O is undoable: not enough low end to support that much Z5 volume.. I've also seen the following, which is a mix of those ideas, but more the young racer program:
1 hour high
2 hours low
4 hours low
1 hour high.
2 hours low
4 hours low
off

It's still January and I'm aiming for June-July rides and events. I'm doing 1 day high, 3 days low steady state, 2 days low HR high muscle work pedaling drills or aerobic crosstrain, 6-8 hours/week total, including 40' dumbbells twice a week after riding - if I have the energy.

I'll probably start 2 days high in March. Of course this all is assuming that there are rides and events this summer, which is still quite doubtful. FUBAR takes a long time to turn around.
I see. Well personally I always do 2 HIIT sessions a week anyway and one long ride. Anything on top is bonus. In the summer maybe a very easy ride on Monday instead of complete rest. Maybe zone 2 on Wednesday instead of rest. Friday usually is always rest with Sunday the long ride. Saturday then would be a mix. long-ish ride with some climbing that comes along the route.

Doing 5 sessions a week and just 1 HIIT seems foolish. If you do less than 10 hours a week it is far better to make two session intense rather than stick to 80-20. I guess if in those 4 low sessions you have the time to really go long it might be different.
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Old 01-21-21, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by ZHVelo View Post
Sure?
Yep. Seiler says it himself multiple times.
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