My own Mid Volume Polarized Plan

(all zones from Stephen Seiler model)
Tuesday, V02 Max intervals for an hour, pick from Trainerroad options.
Wednesday, Zone 1 75 -80 % FTP or 70-75% max HR
Thursday, same as Wednesday
Friday, rest
Saturday, around 2 hour group ride, for me that includes around an hour of around threshold, some V02, some sprint and the rest zone 1
Sunday, 1.5 to 2 hours at same intensity as Wednesday
Repeat
This gives around 400 TSS a week. Always take HR as the main limiter for Z1 rides, that way as you get fitter your power numbers naturally come up and you won’t get fatigued.
I find this training to be more effective for me that the mid volume SS plans, I have better endurance, better aerobic base and better 1 minute power without always moving towards burnout. Also I can do deadlifts at the gym on Tuesday evenings without too much fatigue. For reference, I’m 45, generally more of an anaerobic biased rider, FTP intervals kill me but 120% V02 intervals feels easy (I do them around 135%) Your mileage may vary.

Looks good. I did a block of a similar thing and had a small bump in FTP but still under my peak. The surprising thing was I never felt much fatigue. I averaged a little above 600tss. The only reason I switched back to GBHV is because I found in order to get my tss higher I’d have to find the time and mentality to do some super long rides over 4 hrs. Or add more intensity. I’ve actually been debating going back and doing another block. I created all my own workouts for it although TR offers just about anything you are looking for.

Yes I could see if you needed to get over 500 TSS it could get super boring. I haven’t found any Trainer road workouts for the 1 hour at 75 -80% FTP workouts, anyone?

I stayed away from that zone. Easy days easy, hard days hard. 75-80% seems to be in the middle. Below is 67%, I adjusted intensity up if hr was to low. Nice and simple

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@Tezz
Interesting. Did you create that in the workout editor? Would you mind sharing your calendar so I can look at your structure as I’m interested in going a polarized approach.

Yes, I know what you mean, that middle part I find is horrible. Don’t forget though the 75- 80% of FTP has the heart rate limiter of 75% of max HR so it keeps it low enough intensity to not be that middle zone. I can easily have a conversation at this pace.

(all zones from Stephen Seiler model)
Tuesday, V02 Max intervals for an hour, pick from Trainerroad options.
Wednesday, Zone 1 75 -80 % FTP or 70-75% max HR
Thursday, same as Wednesday
Friday, rest
Saturday, around 2 hour group ride, for me that includes around an hour of around threshold, some V02, some sprint and the rest zone 1
Sunday, 1.5 to 2 hours at same intensity as Wednesday

Yes I created a whole bunch of workout variations. Here is my calendar but keep a few things in mind. Polarized was done before the New Year, the month of January was a complete mess. I dabbled with Zwift again and completely lost structure and focus. I’m strictly TR again. I love structure and I love simplicity. TR gives me exactly that. I plan to do a ramp test soon to see if I can get back in the 270s(278 peak) or better yet higher. Also it’s important to note I am not training for any specific event. I train and experiment, I am constantly tweaking my calendar depending how my body is responding. That’s why I might go back to polarized because I’m 45 and it seems easier for me, BUT does it work? Still trying to figure that out…
https://www.trainerroad.com/career/tezzmin/calendar

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Fantastic and thanks for sharing.

Has anyone read any studies or heard any podcasts where Dr. Seiler puts a lower boundary on the time needed for a “long and slow” ride? I’ve looked everywhere and I can’t seem to find it. My question is whether or not 2 hours (mentioned above) is long enough for the proper adaptations. Everything I’ve heard and read has him mentioning 4 hours quite often and sometimes 5. I can’t recall even hearing 3 hours as an example. He’s always talking in the context of the best athletes in the world, who are obviously pro and have the time to dedicate 4-5 hours on long and slow rides. Also, their aerobic base is probably robust enough that 2-3 hours wouldn’t be enough. But what about the average or above average amateur? I’m always left wondering if I do a 2 hour or even 3 hours…is it long enough? I reached out to Dr. Seiler on Twitter, so I’ll follow up if he responds. Thoughts?

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try searching workouts from a web browser, for example:

Depends on your state of training but IMO for average folks

2 hours: below maintenance or deload
3 hours: maintenance
4 hours and beyond: adaptive

There are some things to make a 3 hour more like the 4 hour, but not much you can do for the 2 hour. A 2 hour aerobic ride for me keeps the legs fresh and burns a bit of fat, but isn’t really doing much for me fitness wise.

Pure guess here but I’d estimate that one consistent 4 hour ride is worth the equivalent of 3-4 2hour rides.

(disclaimer that I don’t do polarized but did do a big block of aerobic work in the off season, so my recommendations are similar)

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I’ve listened to Seiler on a couple of podcasts and this has been my takeaway as well. Not to mention, the podcasts I have heard him on (Velonews/FastLabs) share his approach so they never really press him on how well his approach works for time-crunched folks. They kind of assume everyone has around 10hr minimum to train. Never have I heard Chris or Trevor talk about the 5-7 hr athlete.

Not to mention the fact that those of us who only have 5-7 aren’t always able to sneak away on a weekly basis for a 4hr ride. Therefore, the 5-7hr is usually spread out across a 7-day week.

Re: 2hr. If you’re new to training a 2-hr ride might be super beneficial for aerobic adaptations.

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There is one segment in a Fast Talk podcast where Seiler talks about the 6 hour amateur. He says something along the lines of 'instead of riding 5 days a week, I’d rather see the athlete to ride 4 days and then increase one of the weekend rides to 2.5+ hours. This is also where Seiler talks about seeing the lactate curve shift right when amateurs start training polarized even on low hours. He said you can see that shift in about six weeks.

Trevor Connor, from hearing him talk, doesn’t think you can go slow enough but he’s a 5 hour ride kind of guy. He has also talked about the benefit of riding right at LT1/aerobic threshhold.

Connor has also talked about trying to get that long ride in every 7-10 days if you are time crunched. He has also talked about the benefits of a mini training camp for time crunched people - tell the wife that once a month you need to do a big endurance block of Friday-Sat-Sunday.

From what I’ve studied there are few things at play in the long slow ride. First is mitochondrial development and capillarization. My understanding is that the best bang for the buck there is 90 minutes plus. Second is getting faster twitch fibers to start acting like slower twitch fibers. I think the longer the better for this adaptation. I actually saw a study that showed benefits after 2 hours and all the way up to 6 hours with diminishing returns. Third is riding in a depleted glycogen state. I don’t mean keto or fasted but when you go for 3-4-5 hours you’ll be pretty depleted at the end of the ride unless you are on a sugar drip. This is going to help with fat utilization and glycogen utilization. So, you can probably get some of the these benefits by utilizing carbohydrate periodization or fasting on shorter rides. I think we’d be in the marginal gains area here so don’t go crazy on coffee only rides.

This sounds pretty similar to my schedule. One thing I do is stretch the Saturday group ride to 3-4 hours. The group ride goes for 2-2.5 hours and then I can usually find a cohort who wants to tack on another hour. Personally I get bored after 3 hours on a bike by myself but in a group or with other people it goes by quickly.

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Another interesting concept for time-crunched folks is adding a block of low-intensity to the start of a training ride in order to build fatigue prior to starting your intervals. So many of us start our rides off hot, do the intervals, and then add Z2 to the end. I have literally no science to back this up, but my inclination is that the opposite would lead to more adaptations. Start the ride with a block of endurance (30, 45, 60 min) and then finish it off with the intervals. This mimics most racing scenarios and might a valuable way to train.

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@AJS914 yes, this is essentially what I’ve read and heard as well. I don’t specifically remember the one long ride every 7-10 days, so that is helpful. I’ve been doing TR mid-volume training pretty consistently for 2.5 years and consistent over the past year. Prior to that, I rode but not structured. I have been going off of what Seiler says about being able to “run right to the dinner table” after a long ride and you know it worked. I start to get that feeling right at about 3 hours. However, having a family and a job doesn’t allow me to get much more than 3 hours in any given ride. I’m just really curious if there is that lower threshold (I know in physiology it is not binary…on/off). Is a 3 hour ride for a relatively fit amateur (~4 w/kg) providing the polarized adaptations or is it the equivalent of the dreaded “zone 2” ride where adaptations are few.

@stevemz this is precisely my concern. I’m ~4 w/kg and my fear is that ~3 hrs I’m in the grey abyss where I’m taking a lot of time away from family responsiblities and not getting the true adaptations the polarized model is striving for.

This is more of an advanced approach to interval training and I’m not sure it would be best for the average time crunched athlete. If you’re riding less volume and don’t have a very well developed aerobic system, you’re going to wind up getting less benefit from your intervals by doing them “tired”.

On the other hand, if you’re at the pointy end of a lot of 3-4+hr races and have plenty of aerobic fitness, these efforts are valuable as simulation and to acclimate your body to suffering through depleted efforts. I know @brendanhousler talks about this quite a bit.

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Yes, as many, or most here, I have a family that are always number 1 priority along with my job which is higher priority than training. Because of this I thought I couldn’t do a periodized plan and instead went to the SS MV plans. I think you can though, it’s working great for me. Although you can’t do the old 4 and 5 hour rides regularly I think you can get a lot of the benefits of it by simply spending as much time as you can tolerate at LT1 (for me that’s 75% of Max FTP, a pace I can fairly easily have a conversation at) and 1 V02 max session a week. I can ride at 75% max easily now and with less need to continually take on carbs and also I feel fresher for the V02 max sessions so my short power is going up too. And I’m not continually heading to fatigue.

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I think 2h is a little on the short side if it is the longest ride of the week. Last summer I did back to back 3h rides and made great improvement. My CTL topped out at about 80 back then. I think it’s useful to get at least one ride over 2.5h a week and as much volume as possible to support that. There was a distinct improvement as I got passed 70 CTL, for me that seems like a magic number.

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