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Polarized Training - Rebooted

Old 05-08-23, 08:33 AM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by RChung
I had a friend who was fond of saying, "no pain, no gain." I don't know about that, but I do know that no pain, no pain.
No brain, no pain.
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Old 06-02-23, 01:19 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
Interesting what he says about there being 2 essential training zones: low intensity and high intensity.

That seems to match up with Dr. San Milans training for the lipolytic (fat burning) and glycolytic (sugar burning) systems.
I agree that point is interesting, and its also interesting to see what he stresses. I'm the kind of endurance athlete (am I qualified to say that) who can best train by doing what I am willing to do. I am willing to get on my bike and go pedaling in relative solitude, thinking about "that feels good!" or "that was harder for sure, but it still feels good!" to "too hard, but I recovered ok" to "this is so dang lightweight I can't even keep up balance and a cadence!" I am not one for setting up zones, recording the times, plotting them, running an assessment code, and then revising next weeks role in the "campaign." Been there, it's not fun. The riding is fun. When I attempted serious training I did make improvements, but I think that is just because I rode the bike.

Dr. S's recent revised thinking seems to be to spend a high percentage of my ride time at a level below the ability to converse, but not significntly lower. In the routine of a week, or other unit of time, spend 10 to 20% above this marker point, regardless if it is his Z2 or Z3. It it's above VT2 fine, but if it's between the two VT's that's also fine. That's easy to manage and to control! I have a 4 to 6 hour ride pencilled in for the weekend after 7/4, and this sounds like a good way to use my urges and tendencies to make reasonable improvements, at a rate of 60 to 90 minutes a day, 5 days pedaling, with two recoveries.
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Old 06-03-23, 10:54 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by Road Fan
Dr. S's recent revised thinking seems to be to spend a high percentage of my ride time [...]
He does seem to propose training in terms of percentage of time spent in either of two zones, but I think that's the wrong takeaway message. I think a deeper reading of his experience is that he's been working with elite athletes and he (like many others) sees what the best athletes do and then recommends that others do that. That's kinda cargo cult science (though to be fair, cargo cultists were pretty good scientists: they observed something that seemed to work, they formed a hypothesis, they ran an experiment, they observed the result, and they revised their hypothesis. I wish more people would do that). But in a larger sense I think a better summary of his prescription isn't in terms of proportion of time, it's just time: do lots of time, and if you do lots of time then you must necessarily limit your intensity to the amount that can be done without bad consequences. Relatedly to this, I think that Andy Coggan's TSS (and other training load metrics) has the potential to mislead us into the easy belief that we can trade-off some volume for some intensity. This is the curse of the time-crunched cyclist: we're often willing to go hard because our time is limited, and going hard is kinda fun. Seiler's experience has been focused on those who aren't time-limited, who get their "hard fun" by racing, so his "polarized" approach to training is to limit intensity in order to allow a threshold on volume. (This is a version of what I said in post #10 above).
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Old 06-03-23, 04:21 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by RChung
Relatedly to this, I think that Andy Coggan's TSS (and other training load metrics) has the potential to mislead us into the easy belief that we can trade-off some volume for some intensity.
As I recall, back in the early days of the wattage group, the general consensus regarding aerobic training was you could trade time for intensity as long as we're talking purely about training below threshold, FTP, CP, whatever.

So, for example, if I did a 140 TSS ride with a VI around 1, it wouldn't matter if I did it at IF of 0.75 or 0.85,

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Old 06-05-23, 05:02 AM
  #30  
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The trade-off between time and intensity also probably depends on what type of events you are actually training for.

My low volume, polarised plan this year has worked very well for short, high intensity Zwift races, where I am now a strong Cat B, vs a borderline Cat B/C for the last couple of years. But Ive fallen a bit short on the couple of timed century sportives Ive done so far. My endurance beyond 3 hours drops off significantly more than it did on a higher volume plan. So Im slower on century rides despite a higher FTP and VO2 max power.

So I guess I need to add in more low intensity volume if I wish to improve my endurance over 4+ hours. Not a big surprise really. But otherwise Im quite happy with the bang/buck of my current training plan. To be fair Ive been skimping a bit on my Z2 rides in this polarised plan or subbing shorter rides in Z3. So I need to be more strict about completing those longer Z2 rides on plan. I have at least 3 more century events coming up so hopefully I can improve my endurance.
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Old 06-05-23, 10:33 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
The trade-off between time and intensity also probably depends on what type of events you are actually training for.

My low volume, polarised plan this year has worked very well for short, high intensity Zwift races, where I am now a strong Cat B, vs a borderline Cat B/C for the last couple of years. But Ive fallen a bit short on the couple of timed century sportives Ive done so far. My endurance beyond 3 hours drops off significantly more than it did on a higher volume plan. So Im slower on century rides despite a higher FTP and VO2 max power.

So I guess I need to add in more low intensity volume if I wish to improve my endurance over 4+ hours. Not a big surprise really. But otherwise Im quite happy with the bang/buck of my current training plan. To be fair Ive been skimping a bit on my Z2 rides in this polarised plan or subbing shorter rides in Z3. So I need to be more strict about completing those longer Z2 rides on plan. I have at least 3 more century events coming up so hopefully I can improve my endurance.
My experience was that if I could do a 4-5 hour hilly ride and do a max sustainable effort on every climb, all the way to the finish, I could do well on rides of any length, at least up to 400k. I guess that's the "ability to repeat." Those were about 10-12 hour weeks, often no intensity other than the one weekly long hard ride, where I'd see 45'-60' of Z4 and 5'-20' of Z5. Of course that was in my 60s, so YMMV. Rather a stupid simple training scheme, but it worked, I think because it was reality-based. It took me months of doing that to get that result.
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Old 06-06-23, 07:24 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy
My experience was that if I could do a 4-5 hour hilly ride and do a max sustainable effort on every climb, all the way to the finish, I could do well on rides of any length, at least up to 400k. I guess that's the "ability to repeat." Those were about 10-12 hour weeks, often no intensity other than the one weekly long hard ride, where I'd see 45'-60' of Z4 and 5'-20' of Z5. Of course that was in my 60s, so YMMV. Rather a stupid simple training scheme, but it worked, I think because it was reality-based. It took me months of doing that to get that result.
I was thinking more of the affect time v intensity has on shorter, but very hard rides, like sub 2 hours. The interesting thing for me this year is that reducing volume / increasing intensity has actually improved my Zwift racing (higher FTP and VO2 max), but definitely taken the edge off my endurance over 4+ hour hilly rides (more drop off in endurance power >2-3 hours). When I was doing 10+ hour weeks I had better endurance, but was less punchy. Now I'm wondering if I can increase volume at low intensity to regain my endurance without losing power gained at threshold and above. I think it might work if I'm strict with the low intensity and don't cause too much additional fatigue.
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Old 06-06-23, 09:08 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
I was thinking more of the affect time v intensity has on shorter, but very hard rides, like sub 2 hours. The interesting thing for me this year is that reducing volume / increasing intensity has actually improved my Zwift racing (higher FTP and VO2 max), but definitely taken the edge off my endurance over 4+ hour hilly rides (more drop off in endurance power >2-3 hours). When I was doing 10+ hour weeks I had better endurance, but was less punchy. Now I'm wondering if I can increase volume at low intensity to regain my endurance without losing power gained at threshold and above. I think it might work if I'm strict with the low intensity and don't cause too much additional fatigue.
I did the same as you over the winter - lower volume with higher intensity.

Found improvements on both short punchy rides and endurance rides. And I have a higher tolerance for short hits above threshold on long rides...

I am increasing my volume to get ready for some century rides, mostly at Z2 level of effort. But I will throw in some intense sessions once a week or so - either a hard Z3 ride, or some lightly structured VO2/FTP interval sessions.
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Old 06-06-23, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
I was thinking more of the affect time v intensity has on shorter, but very hard rides, like sub 2 hours. The interesting thing for me this year is that reducing volume / increasing intensity has actually improved my Zwift racing (higher FTP and VO2 max), but definitely taken the edge off my endurance over 4+ hour hilly rides (more drop off in endurance power >2-3 hours). When I was doing 10+ hour weeks I had better endurance, but was less punchy. Now I'm wondering if I can increase volume at low intensity to regain my endurance without losing power gained at threshold and above. I think it might work if I'm strict with the low intensity and don't cause too much additional fatigue.
Rumor has it that the way you get stronger on long rides is to do more long rides. This is a PBP year so most clubs are probably finished with their SR series now, too late to participate. Some folks ride a 200k every weekend year 'round, at least on decent days. I don't think that's quite necessary. 100k or 4 hours or so every weekend, ridden at one's limit, seems to do it just as well. I did that chasing faster riders, which kept my throttle open. It's tough to do that solo. Fatigue is the point. Quoting myself, "If you can walk at the finish, you could have gone harder." One builds endurance by enduring. This is the reason that randonneuring is referred to as the "dark side." OTOH, maybe you're not THAT interested in building endurance. More Z2 doesn't do it unless one is going to ride those long rides in Z2. You get what you pay for.

I don't remember if you strength train. Being able to squat at least bodyweight for 10 reps is helpful. One of the better RAAM riders could leg sled 450 lbs. for 50 reps, sorry I don't remember the name. Back in my 60s when I was strong, my sled 1RM was 700 at 145 bodyweight.
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Old 06-06-23, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy
Rumor has it that the way you get stronger on long rides is to do more long rides. This is a PBP year so most clubs are probably finished with their SR series now, too late to participate. Some folks ride a 200k every weekend year 'round, at least on decent days. I don't think that's quite necessary. 100k or 4 hours or so every weekend, ridden at one's limit, seems to do it just as well. I did that chasing faster riders, which kept my throttle open. It's tough to do that solo. Fatigue is the point. Quoting myself, "If you can walk at the finish, you could have gone harder." One builds endurance by enduring. This is the reason that randonneuring is referred to as the "dark side." OTOH, maybe you're not THAT interested in building endurance. More Z2 doesn't do it unless one is going to ride those long rides in Z2. You get what you pay for.

I don't remember if you strength train. Being able to squat at least bodyweight for 10 reps is helpful. One of the better RAAM riders could leg sled 450 lbs. for 50 reps, sorry I don't remember the name. Back in my 60s when I was strong, my sled 1RM was 700 at 145 bodyweight.
I'm not interested in endurance beyond 100 miles, but I do want to be fast over that distance. In previous years I did plenty of 4,5,6 hour training rides to build endurance and it worked well. This year I tried a different approach with few training rides beyond 2 hours. The surprise was not loss of endurance, but solid gains in FTP and VO2 max. So now I'm trying to work out a way of combining the two! I don't think riding at my limit for 4 hours on a weekly basis is going to work for me within a polarised plan.
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Old 06-06-23, 04:40 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
<snip> I don't think riding at my limit for 4 hours on a weekly basis is going to work for me within a polarised plan.
I don't know . . .

So on a typical 11 hour week on the hard ride I'd go like Z1:31', Z2: 1:22, Z3: 38', Z4: 1:01, Z5: 8', everything else zone 1 or 2. Or Z!: 17', Z2: 1:24, Z3: 39', Z4: 1:15, Z5: 11'. Something on that order though I don't think I ever went over 1:30 in Z4 on any long ride. Of course I was an old man and maybe your time in the upper zones would be a much larger percentage of the total.

Those are HR results. After I started using power in '19, on a 10 hour ride results were about the same, except that Z4 was smaller and Z5 larger, the total being about the same total (not percentage) I'd get on a shorter ride, about what one would expect.
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Old 06-07-23, 03:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy
I don't know . . .

So on a typical 11 hour week on the hard ride I'd go like Z1:31', Z2: 1:22, Z3: 38', Z4: 1:01, Z5: 8', everything else zone 1 or 2. Or Z!: 17', Z2: 1:24, Z3: 39', Z4: 1:15, Z5: 11'. Something on that order though I don't think I ever went over 1:30 in Z4 on any long ride. Of course I was an old man and maybe your time in the upper zones would be a much larger percentage of the total.

Those are HR results. After I started using power in '19, on a 10 hour ride results were about the same, except that Z4 was smaller and Z5 larger, the total being about the same total (not percentage) I'd get on a shorter ride, about what one would expect.
Looking at my last hard century event ride:-

From my training App (PILLAR)

HR mins
Z1: 3
Z2: 75
Z3: 180
Z4: 55
Z5: 2

Power mins
Z1: 35
Z2: 40
Z3: 30
Z4: 25
Z5: 20
Z6: 15
Z7: 10

Same ride on Strava:

HR mins
Moderate: 18
Tempo: 204
Threshold: 95
Anaerobic: 2

Power mins
Z1/Z2 Endurance: 222
Tempo: 31
Threshold: 24
VO2Max: 15
Anaerobic: 17
Nm: 10


So more than an hour above threshold power on a 5 hour ride. I didn't feel like riding for the next couple of days and my legs were pretty sore. Not my idea of a training ride!
So I was thinking I need to do my long training rides strictly in Z2, along with the higher intensity intervals in my plan. Otherwise I don't think I could increase volume without burning myself out. I have event rides like the above approx once per month in Spring, twice per month in Summer and then back to once per month in the Autumn. This year these events have basically been my only long rides and certainly my only rides >3 hours. I'm missing the long Z2 training rides and it shows, but my FTP is at an all-time high for the last 4 years and that shows too on short rides! So I want to build up my endurance again without losing my threshold power gains in the process. A polarised plan seems like my best bet at this point.
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Old 06-07-23, 10:04 AM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
Looking at my last hard century event ride:-

From my training App (PILLAR)

HR mins
Z1: 3
Z2: 75
Z3: 180
Z4: 55
Z5: 2

Power mins
Z1: 35
Z2: 40
Z3: 30
Z4: 25
Z5: 20
Z6: 15
Z7: 10

Same ride on Strava:

HR mins
Moderate: 18
Tempo: 204
Threshold: 95
Anaerobic: 2

Power mins
Z1/Z2 Endurance: 222
Tempo: 31
Threshold: 24
VO2Max: 15
Anaerobic: 17
Nm: 10


So more than an hour above threshold power on a 5 hour ride. I didn't feel like riding for the next couple of days and my legs were pretty sore. Not my idea of a training ride!
So I was thinking I need to do my long training rides strictly in Z2, along with the higher intensity intervals in my plan. Otherwise I don't think I could increase volume without burning myself out. I have event rides like the above approx once per month in Spring, twice per month in Summer and then back to once per month in the Autumn. This year these events have basically been my only long rides and certainly my only rides >3 hours. I'm missing the long Z2 training rides and it shows, but my FTP is at an all-time high for the last 4 years and that shows too on short rides! So I want to build up my endurance again without losing my threshold power gains in the process. A polarised plan seems like my best bet at this point.
I didn't start riding again until I was 50. I had been ruled by career for 30 years. I started out training solo. I read everything I could get my hands on, but I learned more on my first 200k group ride, populated by a core group of very experienced riders. I was put off by how slowly they rode the flats so I'd drop them, but then they'd catch me on the next climb. After a while, they were catching and passing me and then I had trouble hanging on to them. So if you look at the difference between your and my effort distribution, you're heavy in zone 3 and I'm light there. It's faster to get rid of a lot of that Z3 and substitute zones 2 and 4+. I guess that's polarized? Either go moderate or go hard. It's just physics - power required increases as the cube of the speed. They always catch the break on a climb.

Although that Z3 minimum depends on the length of the climbs. Around here most local climbs are only 500' or so. We have to drive to the mountains to get multi-thousand foot climbs. On mountain rides, the route either climbing or descending, my distribution was about like what you show.

If your legs were sore after a hard ride, that's just conditioning. Strength training + more of that. I used to figure that if my legs weren't sore a lot, I should be training harder. Weakness leaving the body and all that. What you want to watch for is resting and standing HRs increasing by several beats, though in general doing a series of hour Z2 rides will allow that to drop back down. My practice was always to go for a long hike in the mountains with about a 20# pack the day after a killer ride - Z1. Fixed me right up and well . . . polarized!
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Old 06-07-23, 05:47 PM
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This was a relatively flat course with long false flats and the odd punchy climb. It was also a pretty windy day. Just to clarify it wasnt a training ride. It was as fast as I could go over 5 hours. I expected it Ito hurt and take a few days recovery, which it did!

My point was that I wouldnt expect to ride this hard on a 4 hour weekly training ride within a polarised plan. I think it would cause too much fatigue. I think its the volume of Z2 training that Im lacking in my current plan and that became apparent on my first 2 century events this year. I dropped off more than usual in the last 2 hours and my HR was generally higher in the lower power zones.

I do strength training btw, but less than usual this year. I agree it could be a reason why I had sore legs from this long, hard tide.
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Old 06-08-23, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
This was a relatively flat course with long false flats and the odd punchy climb. It was also a pretty windy day. Just to clarify it wasnt a training ride. It was as fast as I could go over 5 hours. I expected it Ito hurt and take a few days recovery, which it did!

My point was that I wouldnt expect to ride this hard on a 4 hour weekly training ride within a polarised plan. I think it would cause too much fatigue. I think its the volume of Z2 training that Im lacking in my current plan and that became apparent on my first 2 century events this year. I dropped off more than usual in the last 2 hours and my HR was generally higher in the lower power zones.

I do strength training btw, but less than usual this year. I agree it could be a reason why I had sore legs from this long, hard tide.
The only flat ride around here I did was the one-day STP. I enjoyed it. I live in what would be a cyclist's paradise were it not for the rain. I probably have 150 different routes near me, on rural roads of 30-110 miles, all with gains of 35'-70' per mile. I try for 50'. Conditioning is somehow different on hilly routes. Intervals on the rollers or flats don't seem to do quite the same thing. Might be due to the lower crank inertial load. HR dropping off can be due to too low carb intake. On that 154 mile event ride I did lots of, in 2019 my climbing EF in TrainingPeaks at 4 and 8 hours was identical.
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Old 07-14-23, 12:19 PM
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I have similar curiosity about the training needs for something like a one day STP - 10+ hours, (not racing others, but as an achievement for personal satisfaction). So rather than start a new thread can we continue this conversation here..?
10 years ago I was doing multiple century rides the Deathride being the toughest. However, the day job got busier and came to dominate my existence as cycling & fitness took a back seat. I am recently retired so have time for ~10 hours per week, maybe more. I'd like to get back to riding centurys with some climbing and maybe some doubles. I have a smart trainer and am able to be consistent. So an alternative new thread title might be `Fat & weak and nearly 60'.

I have ~ a year. I *think* that my `event specific need' is for a high FTP and W/Kg (working on the Kg bit...), but more importantly, a high LT1 threshold and so I wonder if there much to be gained by efforts over threshold. Excepting for perhaps a few weeks of high intensity just before the main event, are intervals over FTP are even necessary? The whole "push up from below' versus "pull up from above" is often discussed but I have yet to see anything definitive for those who don't appear to need to train VO2 max for racing.
Circa 10 years ago, FTP was about 240. I have just started a diet of 6 hours of Z2 per week and will continue on this until I can do an hour with <5bpm heart rate drift. My plan is to continue with 4 days/hours a week of Z2 and add a longer Z2 ride in once per week and then start adding Z3. Then retest, reset numbers and continue...

All advice and input gratefully considered.
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Old 07-14-23, 10:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Al Bundy
I have similar curiosity about the training needs for something like a one day STP - 10+ hours, (not racing others, but as an achievement for personal satisfaction). So rather than start a new thread can we continue this conversation here..?
10 years ago I was doing multiple century rides the Deathride being the toughest. However, the day job got busier and came to dominate my existence as cycling & fitness took a back seat. I am recently retired so have time for ~10 hours per week, maybe more. I'd like to get back to riding centurys with some climbing and maybe some doubles. I have a smart trainer and am able to be consistent. So an alternative new thread title might be `Fat & weak and nearly 60'.

I have ~ a year. I *think* that my `event specific need' is for a high FTP and W/Kg (working on the Kg bit...), but more importantly, a high LT1 threshold and so I wonder if there much to be gained by efforts over threshold. Excepting for perhaps a few weeks of high intensity just before the main event, are intervals over FTP are even necessary? The whole "push up from below' versus "pull up from above" is often discussed but I have yet to see anything definitive for those who don't appear to need to train VO2 max for racing.
Circa 10 years ago, FTP was about 240. I have just started a diet of 6 hours of Z2 per week and will continue on this until I can do an hour with <5bpm heart rate drift. My plan is to continue with 4 days/hours a week of Z2 and add a longer Z2 ride in once per week and then start adding Z3. Then retest, reset numbers and continue...

All advice and input gratefully considered.
I've only done the one-day, many times, mostly on my single. I can't really recommend the 2-day. I assume that you're considering the one-day. My best elapsed time was in my late 50s, a hair under 12 hrs. elapsed, 10 hrs. saddle time. I was in the first 100. Unfortunately that was so long ago that my electronic records are gone. We've done it twice on our tandem in our late 60s, about 12.5 hrs. saddle time. We aren't a strong team, we just keep riding.

Back then, there was no FTP, only LT. My LT at the time of those tandem rides was probably 152-154. My max STP HR was 143, average 120. Which doesn't mean much of anything. To prep, I'd concentrate on hilly rides, 50'-70' per mile. Once the snow melts, do some pass rides, like Cle Elum-Leavenworth over Old Blewett, Chinook-Sunrise from the Deli stop or Packwood-Paradise. I don't think over-threshold intervals are particularly necessary, but long rides done as hard as you can, absolutely.

Program sounds good until next spring, when you should get out there and start doing long road rides. 4-6 hours is good, once a week, as hard as you can, both weekend days if you can, Saturday more Z3, Sunday go hard, during the week mostly Z2. Trainer intervals don't do the same thing. Main thing is to learn to pace, fuel, and hydrate.

Use power to set a steady pace, but HR to monitor physical deterioration. I know people who overcook just using power. Of course the more complicated thing is that you'll have at least 6000 fellow travelers when you set out. I would always go hard as I reasonably could for the first maybe 20 miles and try to get ahead of the idiots. Everything will get lots better after Centralia, but up to then it can be a circus. I remember one time maybe 30 miles into it when there was an uncontrolled stop sign. I dropped way back, waited until the harsh metallic sounds had stopped and then rode around the mess. Happens.

I'd grab a train if one went by me, try to stay near the front, help pull, safer up there. I'm kinda small, so I'd look for a guy the size of a refrigerator, try to hold his wheel. I was always strongest after the bridge, finally heading east to Portland. I knew I could pick up the pace then, wasn't that tired. My practice was to stop every 50 miles and make sure I peed, no pee, more water. If it was hot, I used a 2 liter Camelbak and a bottle. I used plain water and Endurolytes for hydration.
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Old 07-15-23, 07:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Al Bundy
I have similar curiosity about the training needs for something like a one day STP - 10+ hours, (not racing others, but as an achievement for personal satisfaction). So rather than start a new thread can we continue this conversation here..?
10 years ago I was doing multiple century rides the Deathride being the toughest. However, the day job got busier and came to dominate my existence as cycling & fitness took a back seat. I am recently retired so have time for ~10 hours per week, maybe more. I'd like to get back to riding centurys with some climbing and maybe some doubles. I have a smart trainer and am able to be consistent. So an alternative new thread title might be `Fat & weak and nearly 60'.

I have ~ a year. I *think* that my `event specific need' is for a high FTP and W/Kg (working on the Kg bit...), but more importantly, a high LT1 threshold and so I wonder if there much to be gained by efforts over threshold. Excepting for perhaps a few weeks of high intensity just before the main event, are intervals over FTP are even necessary? The whole "push up from below' versus "pull up from above" is often discussed but I have yet to see anything definitive for those who don't appear to need to train VO2 max for racing.
Circa 10 years ago, FTP was about 240. I have just started a diet of 6 hours of Z2 per week and will continue on this until I can do an hour with <5bpm heart rate drift. My plan is to continue with 4 days/hours a week of Z2 and add a longer Z2 ride in once per week and then start adding Z3. Then retest, reset numbers and continue...

All advice and input gratefully considered.
If you choose to do nothing at all above threshold then you will certainly not maximise your VO2 max or FTP. In a polarised plan, small doses of VO2 max intervals (best done on your smart trainer) should give you better results. A 10 hr week is perfect for a polarised plan IME. 9 hours of Z2 endurance and a 1 hour VO2 max interval session.

Where I sometimes go wrong with this kind of plan is riding too hard on the Z2 endurance rides, which greatly ramps up fatigue and then the VO2 max intervals become unproductive.

My actual event rides are the hard 5-10 hour efforts and they take several days to recover from. I never do more than 2 of those per month and never as training rides. If Im training for a big event I use smaller events in the lead up to test my race pace and fuelling etc.
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Old 07-15-23, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Al Bundy
I have similar curiosity about the training needs for something like a one day STP - 10+ hours, (not racing others, but as an achievement for personal satisfaction). So rather than start a new thread can we continue this conversation here..?

10 years ago I was doing multiple century rides the Deathride being the toughest. However, the day job got busier and came to dominate my existence as cycling & fitness took a back seat. I am recently retired so have time for ~10 hours per week, maybe more. I'd like to get back to riding centurys with some climbing and maybe some doubles. I have a smart trainer and am able to be consistent. So an alternative new thread title might be `Fat & weak and nearly 60'.


I have ~ a year. I *think* that my `event specific need' is for a high FTP and W/Kg (working on the Kg bit...), but more importantly, a high LT1 threshold and so I wonder if there much to be gained by efforts over threshold. Excepting for perhaps a few weeks of high intensity just before the main event, are intervals over FTP are even necessary? The whole "push up from below' versus "pull up from above" is often discussed but I have yet to see anything definitive for those who don't appear to need to train VO2 max for racing.

Circa 10 years ago, FTP was about 240. I have just started a diet of 6 hours of Z2 per week and will continue on this until I can do an hour with <5bpm heart rate drift. My plan is to continue with 4 days/hours a week of Z2 and add a longer Z2 ride in once per week and then start adding Z3. Then retest, reset numbers and continue...


All advice and input gratefully considered.

Not necessary although potentially helpful.


About a decade ago, I was in your shoes. Fat, weak, out of shape, and getting old. In 18 months, I lost almost 80 pounds and went from being unable to ride 12 miles to completing a 1218 km ride in 54 hours and being able to do something like STP in under 12 hours or thereabouts. (family and career kept me just doing very short rides with the kids type of thing). I reckon you need to spend 6 months on a gradual build up of your endurance. IMO


Your goals initially should be about endurance in double centuries are your goal. The ability to ride in zone 1 and zone 2 for hours and hours and hours. If you slowly increase your load (or call it miles) over 6-9 months and do not do any zone 3-5 work, you will lose weight, be faster, and be more able to do long distance events. It is not even clear to me that intervals would make much of a difference. There really aren't many studies either way, most are very, very short in duration. I would guess most could gain 25-35% or more in LT1 from the couch just riding more and more over a year. Throwing down 3 build blocks at the end might ice the cake up another 5-10% or not. On a double or 300-400K, I try to do 180-190 watts. At that no so high level but not low level, aerodynamics gets important. More than HIIT IMO. That is how I would get ready for STP.
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Old 07-15-23, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62
Not necessary although potentially helpful.


About a decade ago, I was in your shoes. Fat, weak, out of shape, and getting old. In 18 months, I lost almost 80 pounds and went from being unable to ride 12 miles to completing a 1218 km ride in 54 hours and being able to do something like STP in under 12 hours or thereabouts. (family and career kept me just doing very short rides with the kids type of thing). I reckon you need to spend 6 months on a gradual build up of your endurance. IMO


Your goals initially should be about endurance in double centuries are your goal. The ability to ride in zone 1 and zone 2 for hours and hours and hours. If you slowly increase your load (or call it miles) over 6-9 months and do not do any zone 3-5 work, you will lose weight, be faster, and be more able to do long distance events. It is not even clear to me that intervals would make much of a difference. There really aren't many studies either way, most are very, very short in duration. I would guess most could gain 25-35% or more in LT1 from the couch just riding more and more over a year. Throwing down 3 build blocks at the end might ice the cake up another 5-10% or not. On a double or 300-400K, I try to do 180-190 watts. At that no so high level but not low level, aerodynamics gets important. More than HIIT IMO. That is how I would get ready for STP.
So if you only do 10 hours total training per week, you don't think some intensity (i.e. polarisation) will help? Not talking about HIIT. I take that to mean little or no endurance training and very low overall volume. Obviously you are going to need volume to perform well over a double century.

My events tend to be very lumpy, so I need the ability to burn matches over numerous punchy climbs, so maybe interval training is more important for me. I don't have any experience of riding long events at steady state power.
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Old 07-15-23, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62
Not necessary although potentially helpful.


About a decade ago, I was in your shoes. Fat, weak, out of shape, and getting old. In 18 months, I lost almost 80 pounds and went from being unable to ride 12 miles to completing a 1218 km ride in 54 hours and being able to do something like STP in under 12 hours or thereabouts. (family and career kept me just doing very short rides with the kids type of thing). I reckon you need to spend 6 months on a gradual build up of your endurance. IMO


Your goals initially should be about endurance in double centuries are your goal. The ability to ride in zone 1 and zone 2 for hours and hours and hours. If you slowly increase your load (or call it miles) over 6-9 months and do not do any zone 3-5 work, you will lose weight, be faster, and be more able to do long distance events. It is not even clear to me that intervals would make much of a difference. There really aren't many studies either way, most are very, very short in duration. I would guess most could gain 25-35% or more in LT1 from the couch just riding more and more over a year. Throwing down 3 build blocks at the end might ice the cake up another 5-10% or not. On a double or 300-400K, I try to do 180-190 watts. At that no so high level but not low level, aerodynamics gets important. More than HIIT IMO. That is how I would get ready for STP.
IME the ideal is to simply not get particularly tired, meaning that with such a goal, one would train much differently for rides of different lengths, duh. There are folks who can do 600k in under 24 hours even with a lot of climbing. How does one train for such a thing? IME one gets there by stressing one's body to the limit over many hours, time and time again. It gradually takes more time to reach that limit. I did best with about 45'-60' of zone 4 and a little zone 5 on my weekly long hard ride of 60-100 miles, although sometimes I'd do 10' of zone 5 near the top of a climb. Tunes up the leg muscles.

I'd do one of these a week for months, about 60 miles to 200k, TTing the ride while aiming to be trashed exactly at the end, then do zone 2 rides while recovering for the next one. I did some formal intervals in the winter, but none after maybe January, switching over to getting fit enough for brevets by the end of March, then into shorter and harder rides. Not enough intensity at over 200k to really stress my energy systems.

IME finishing time was more correlated with how many calories I could put into the pedals rather than FTP, more input, higher steady output on the climbs, where it matters. As you pointed out above, it's all about the metabolics in the working muscles. I've love to hear how others prepped for 10-12 hour and longer event rides.

I tried Polarized one year, didn't seem like enough time at intensity to decrease my finishing times. Got tired too soon. Polarized came out of Nordic skiing research, with elite finish times of a little over 2 hours for 50k.
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Old 07-15-23, 11:51 AM
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Many thanks All,

I know that HIIT Z5, 6 & 7 training can / will increase FTP, but on the other hand so it appears, does lots of Tempo/Sweetspot. From an `event specific training' standpoint time at Tempo would seem more appropriate. Outside of racing and the need to be able to get some separation from others, I don't know whether VO2max plays much of a role in this sort of event. I ask as I am open to either/both and interested to learn. For sure I'd like to be able to channel my inner Jens Vogt, but right now it's more a case of exorcizing Homer Simpson.
I'm hoping that ~10 hours a week of Z2 and with some Z3 added in will push up the LT1 and also a lesser extent LT2/FTP. I would anticipate riding this sort of event at the upper end of Z2 with some excursions towards FTP as necessary here and there. I suppose the question is; within the available limits of time and recovery, whether more time at Tempo or efforts in Zone 4+ helps more.
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Old 07-15-23, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
So if you only do 10 hours total training per week, you don't think some intensity (i.e. polarisation) will help? Not talking about HIIT. I take that to mean little or no endurance training and very low overall volume. Obviously you are going to need volume to perform well over a double century.


My events tend to be very lumpy, so I need the ability to burn matches over numerous punchy climbs, so maybe interval training is more important for me. I don't have any experience of riding long events at steady state power.

Bundy did not say he only had 10 hours and I did not say intervals will not help.


What I said or meant to imply is that someone wanting to do a hard double century who is apparently coming from a low training volume would be better off increasing that training load or the number of calories (kJoules per ride) over 6-9 months before doing VO2 max intervals or more specifically intervals over FTP. I also said there really are no long term studies on the topic of ultra distance training and fatigue. I looked. I asked several well known experts.


Stroke volume increases most effectively at a relatively low heart rate. All great endurance athletes spend a lot of time at lower intensities. Time between VT1 and VT2 seems to impact mitochondrial function and muscle fiber type the best. The only questions are when, how much, the level of intensity and how often should one bump up intensity working towards a specific event. Some athletes respond to volume than intensity. This gets into the domain of having a good coach or in my case, knowing my body very well. Bundy would not be served poorly by getting his CTL up into the 90-110 range to do a double. Getting there from ostensibly zero at the age of 60 takes time, my guess was 6-9 months.


I remember a correspondence with Andrew Coggan asking a question and he asked me a few, basically to see how I knew what I was doing was helping my functional performance. At the end, he said keep doing it until it stops working then do something else. Some years after that I was searching for training on low volume because I needed surgery and could not ride much, low and behold Coggan wrote somewhere on a forum he would just do 2 x 20 min 3x per week. My FTP improved for sure on at regimen, actually a pretty good amount especially since I did more than 2x. BUT, my endurance at 4+ hours did not see any improvement.


I like Couzens because he has decades of data and he analyses it. I am doing a volume and intensity ramp myself right now. The earlier season volume allows me to train at a higher intensity over two blocks spanning 7 weeks. I am currently setting PB on shorter climbs by several seconds but the real meat and potatoes for me is the ability to keep laying a moderate power down hour after hour without your heart rate decoupling. I am dreaming to get 5% on the top end when my peaking concludes. Would I not want that 5%? No way, give it to me. I liked to read accounts and also posts from marathon world record holder Ed Whitlock. His training was very slow paced as is many other marathoners. Only when they get close to an event do they crank up intensity. Personally, that works for me. Just at about half the horsepower as those guys.


https://alancouzens.com/blog/optimal_periodization.html

Edit: Seilers polarized is 20% of sessions and no 20% of time. In terms of time, it usually is 5-10% of total time. I always try to do some intensity every week even in the off season but nothing structured, just maybe some hill repeats once every 7-10 days. Totally anecdotal but but I have found that as I get older, not losing it is very important and so, I do do some intensity year round as maintenance. A pure Build type cycle (usually 3 blocks) is a once a year type thing for me and then I go back. CFBoy would have more insight into this as he is about 10 years my senior

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Old 07-15-23, 04:16 PM
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Awesome. I think I have my marching orders.
I will carry on my initial estimated Z2 6 days/ 1hour per week until my heart rate is happy and stable and then do a ramp test and reset numbers.
I then plan 4 days /1 hour at Z2, a single day for a longer Z2 ride, a rest day and add a day of SS/Tempo intervals. I plan to ramp the time at intensity of that single day of intervals over 6 weeks as appears attainable and then retest.
Your collective wisdom much appreciated,
I better go get on the trainer.

PS. Isn't nice when someone says senior and not older. I still get confused when some young nipper calls me Sir.
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Old 07-15-23, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62
CFBoy would have more insight into this as he is about 10 years my senior
<snip>
The most recent data I have is from '19. Then it was Covid and no events so I didn't have much reason to actually train, no group rides, etc. Things started up again in '22 but I was rather out of shape and probably starting to have heart trouble, though undiagnosed. Anyway, I had a miserable time trying to train and ride events. Couldn't go hard. But going back to '19 and being 74, I trained really well, was doing 10%-15% intensity in summer, same long duration intensity, most of it in one day, that I've always done. Had some very good rides, was faster than anyone near my age, which was pretty good considering that my FTP is worse than anyone I know.
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