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Polarized Training (Kind of....)

Old 10-21-22, 05:14 AM
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work4bike
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Polarized Training (Kind of....)

This is an interesting interview with a 17-year pro cyclist (Michael Shar) on how training has changed since he's been a pro. Basically it sounds like it's the 80/20 method of training vs the old way of going out for hours on end and riding between training zones 3 - 4, i.e. the Gray Zone.

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Old 10-25-22, 02:53 PM
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Back in the day: Unstructured long rides all the time, no set intervals, lots of fasted rides and "tempo" efforts
Now-a-days: Very structured prescriptive workouts. Long rides are still long but mostly lower intensity, high intensity rides are shorter but harder, eat when you ride, and very few tank-emptying long tempo days.

There are some really good pros that post everything on strava as well. Not too hard to see what they are doing. Many still do some "freestyle" training it looks like, and many of the interval sessions look boringly similar to what amateurs do, just with a LOT more power and total volume!
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Old 10-26-22, 05:39 AM
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I watched an interview with Noah Lyles last night, who now holds the American Record in the 200 meters on the track. The last bit of this interview reminded me of this thread, where you do NOT push yourself so hard during training. Put in a hard effort, but do NOT go all out, which use to be the mindset. Turns out that is wrong. It's not so much about giving your all, as it is being consistent in your training. And you can't have consistent, quality training if you're trying to kill yourself in any one workout.

Good example of this starts at the 26:45-minute point of the video (~2-minutes before the end of the video).



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Old 10-26-22, 06:17 AM
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Going nuclear in training is counterproductive. Consistent, progressive overload with tons of low intensity volume even for sprinters who win gold

https://alancouzens.com/blog/touretski.html
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Old 10-27-22, 06:13 PM
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Since I started training for racing in 2007, I have done periodized structured training for road and track. Endurance training was/is determined by the length of the individual events and/or the number of stages in an event.

If I do all the structured work I have to do plus the strength training, I am fortunate if I have enough energy for z2 endurance riding. And the structured part of the workout generates a lot of endurance and increased aerobic capability. So all I have to do is add enough additional riding to tolerate the duration of the event and recovery between workouts.

Today, we are doing preparation which is focused on strength training and short sharp efforts on the bike with not much riding. This afternoon, I did a track workout with a warm up, jumps and 4 sets of 2 flying 100 meters and 1 flying 200 meters with rest between sets and efforts.
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Old 10-28-22, 07:09 AM
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One of the mistakes new riders make is trying to emulate the onride and post ride fueling of professionals or maybe just falling for the marketing of companies selling.

Professionals might only be riding in Z2 but their zone 2 might be 280-300 watts or more off an FTP of 400-450 watts. This might be a nice long distance pace. They are burning twice calories per hour compared an average cyclist with an FTP of 220 watts and 150 watts for a zone 2 ride and are also probably riding for 2 or 3 times as long. They must refuel during the ride and after in order to be able to train tomorrow.

The advantage of polarized for the average Joe is changing one's metabolism. This change is blunted by slurping sugary drinks on a 1-2 hour zone 2 ride.

When Seiler talked about 80/20, it is not a proportion of time in zone 2 vs high intensity. Rather, it is a ratio of workouts. One high intensity for 4 endurance workouts. On a time basis, it is more like 90/10.
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Old 10-31-22, 05:45 AM
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Over the last few years I've been gradually reducing my training volume (roughly by about 50% in the last year) but my performance has actually improved all round. I put that down to more structured interval training focused around my target events. Most of my riding peers are more old-school in their approach, but don't really have enough spare time available to rack up enough volume to make it work effectively. The best training method for any individual is largely dependent on their goals, available training time and ability to recover. I find nutrition is even more personal.
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Old 10-31-22, 05:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Hermes View Post

If I do all the structured work I have to do plus the strength training, I am fortunate if I have enough energy for z2 endurance riding. And the structured part of the workout generates a lot of endurance and increased aerobic capability. So all I have to do is add enough additional riding to tolerate the duration of the event and recovery between workouts.
This is what I've found too. Most of my structured workouts these days are sub 1 hour, with z2 endurance rides rarely above 3 hours. Weekly total volume often less than 5 hours and rarely above 10 hours. This is for target events of anything up to 10 hours endurance.
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Old 10-31-22, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski View Post
This is what I've found too. Most of my structured workouts these days are sub 1 hour, with z2 endurance rides rarely above 3 hours. Weekly total volume often less than 5 hours and rarely above 10 hours. This is for target events of anything up to 10 hours endurance.
Today, I am polarized but in the opposite direction. I do 80% structured workouts that feature some form of intensity and 20% below or at LT1. During the season that will change to approximately 50/50 by workouts. I can certainly see where long distance riders or anyone that does long duration events will focus on long duration training and not much structured efforts
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Old 10-31-22, 09:27 AM
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Ronnestad found that one HIIT session every 7-10 days combined with lower intensity work during the transition phase had a rather large impact on the next season. There is another such study that I cannot find at the moment but it had similar conclusions. For a long distance cyclist, it is tempting just to work on endurance in Z2 but there are basically 6 muscle fiber types including hybrids. Ignoring 5 of them seems silly to me. However, knowing which duration, intensity, and frequency is also essential; otherwise, those hard earned FOG fibers can go the wrong direction and that is the essence of Seiler's powerpoints. In any case, that type of approach has worked for my physiology and genetics. I hope to make 380 watts for 6 minutes and weigh 80 kg next summer, this would be a little improvement in power....maybe 4% but should help a 64 yo bag of bones keep up with younger riders.

In contrast to the typical periodization of base, building, peaking, and tapering, the distribution of intensity changes over the season but there isn't a complete lack of HIIT in the off season in my plan. During weeks of lower volume (due to snow, ice), I might do two HIIT sessions on the trainer but not something I have done in the past.

https://www.researchgate.net/publica...00000/download
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Old 10-31-22, 10:31 AM
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My current winter training plan typically includes 2x VO2 max interval sessions per week and 3x longer z2 rides in the 2-3 hour range. Typically a rest week thrown in every 3rd or 4th week without the intervals or maybe one short micro-interval session. Also tend to alternate between blocks of V02 and longer FTP intervals. I find this kind of regime both sustainable and realistic to fit in with life. My form also seems more consistent year round, with no significant drop in winter fitness. I used to find it harder to maintain a higher volume plan and didn't go any faster!
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Old 10-31-22, 10:48 AM
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Some respond to intensity than others who respond best to volume. I know that I am a volume responder.

The correct training intervention also is very event specific. Nobody is qualifying for Kona on 5 hours per week. More like 1,000 a year would be more like it.

My training hours this year were the shortest in a decade. My FTP and VO2 max were as good they have been in around a decade. My performance out to 300km was about as good as ever but my endurance beyond that distance stunk. Is it age? Or a reduction is volume? The best data that I can find that is relevant for me are those from Ironmen and ultra runners. They all do a ton of volume. My only A event next year is Paris Brest Paris and I would like to do it without sleep but to do so, my endurance has be there and it isn't. Unfortunately, there really are not many coaches who could be helpful. Alan Couzens is probably the only one who comes to mind but he works with world class athletes, not alt schmucks like me
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Old 10-31-22, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
Some respond to intensity than others who respond best to volume. I know that I am a volume responder.

The correct training intervention also is very event specific. Nobody is qualifying for Kona on 5 hours per week. More like 1,000 a year would be more like it.

My training hours this year were the shortest in a decade. My FTP and VO2 max were as good they have been in around a decade. My performance out to 300km was about as good as ever but my endurance beyond that distance stunk. Is it age? Or a reduction is volume? The best data that I can find that is relevant for me are those from Ironmen and ultra runners. They all do a ton of volume. My only A event next year is Paris Brest Paris and I would like to do it without sleep but to do so, my endurance has be there and it isn't. Unfortunately, there really are not many coaches who could be helpful. Alan Couzens is probably the only one who comes to mind but he works with world class athletes, not alt schmucks like me
It's hardly surprising that competitive ultra runners do a ton of volume. My focus is on challenging 100 mile Sportives and I find 5-10 hours per week is enough volume to remain reasonably competitive. The key find for me is that I didn't find any significant performance benefit from increasing my volume to around 15 hours per week (my realistic time limit). This loosely ties in with what I've read about needing a bare minimum of 15 hours and preferably 20+ hours per week to see any real advantage from using a more traditional approach. When I was training 15 hours per week I was performing at exactly the same level as I am today on well below 10 hours. Sometimes it feels like I'm cheating when I do a 5 hour week and hit a PB, lol.
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