My Polarized Training Experience (Chad McNeese & others)


Sorry to butt in on this one but are you guys talking about the Thomas Chapple book?


No, I had an extra copy of Tom Danielson’s “Core Advantage” and sent it to Chad.

p.s. my sister isn’t even cycling right now, but she liked “Base Building for Cyclists” so much that she ordered me a copy.

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  • A jump in one minute power after your recent block of training makes sense. CP1 is notoriously difficult to train and usually involves both working on your neuromuscular sprint and also your short VO2max power. Since you had a lot of 2 and 3 minute intervals this block, it’s good to see this logic holding. You could probably juice this even more the next time by including some specific sprint interval workouts.

  • I would ignore the NP for this workout since you have a big hammock with the sprints and the 1 minute effort at the end. Not really much of a conclusion you can draw in my opinion.

I’d be really interested in seeing how you did/felt in a rolling or hilly course, like a race on Watopia Figure 8, or 3/4 Lap Hilly. That would be a more representative yardstick since it involves a lot of above threshold efforts followed by time at threshold.


Tom Danielson’s book is on my list too. How is it?

I’m also waiting for the new version of the Coggan book to drop in December.


I bought “Core Advantage” while preparing for the 2017 double century. The book does a great job explaining a lot of things, like why weak hips can lead to knee pain. I spent the summer watching Physical Therapists on YouTube, some good stuff over there too where the better PTs grab a skeleton to illustrate what’s going on.

Definitely recommend “Base Building for Cyclists” and last week received the new 5th edition of “The Cyclist’s Training Bible” - just skimmed a few sections on base and polarized. As usual Joe Friel has some great field tests and advice.

Thought about ordering a signed copy of Coggan’s update, going to put it on my wish list and see if it shows up under the tree or a few months later on my birthday.


I do have the new Friel bible. I read the whole thing. For a lot of what he presented, I think I had a pretty intuitive understand of already, but it’s also helpful seeing it laid out like that IMO.


thanks for posting that, 1 minute power is my biggest weakness when looking at my power relative to Cat5/4/3/2/1. Prior to TR I’ve worked on it in a semi-structured way. And this past year has been a bust for consistent training. Will be interesting to (finally) make it thru a general build phase and see how it progresses.

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Great info, thanks for the review @stevemz.

Yeah, I think some adjustments in the Z3 workouts to include one VO2 Max workout like I did and a different one working more in the upper range (closer to the L6 Anaerobic Coggan) might be a nice compliment. One of each for the “hard” workouts each week for some variety and shift in the strain seems like a good plan.

Good to know on the NP. I know there are times when it falls well short of useful. I need to learn more about those times.

I am doing the Disaster-Half workout tomorrow, so that may be an interesting test as well.

And on Sunday, I am doing the Zwift Fondo. Still trying to decide on which length (A or B group) and how I want to ride (or race) it. I planned on the long A group with a Z1 focus for possible decoupling analysis.

I will see how the D-H workout goes and decide from there.


Hi @mcneese.chad ! My apologies if this has already been answered but I didn’t fancy trawling back through the 329 posts! How come you used those heart rate zones and not the ones Seiler and the Norwegian Olympic Federation use? Their zone 2 is between 82% and 87% of max heart rate. For me, this would mean I could include low sweetspot work in with zone 1 rides.


I find NP to most useful in thinking of equivalent load/strain, rather than “I could do this power for this duration”.

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Ahhhhh, very interesting. So more along the lines of IF and TSS in a way then for looking at stress and such.


I used the HR zones mentioned directly from Dr. Seiler via the Fast Talk EP 51 and the Faster EP 13. He stated them in the 75-77% of Max HR for the bottom of Z2 in either or both of those (haven’t listened in a while, but that is where I got the data for the Zone splits).

Based on my experience (shallow I know), I was getting worked over harder than intended when I got around 80% Max HR during my Longfellow workout. Something went wrong and my “regular power” was reporting really low for the RPE and HR I had. I KNOW that workout was way harder than the “easy” long ride I was planning to do. It was above my LT1/VT1 and likely did not have the best effect for the intended stress and resulting adaptation that I wanted.

Again, most of his work centers around reviewing data provided by those athletes for review. They don’t seem to be studies in most cases and few include “average” athletes. As such, I think his podcast recommendations seem far more applicable to the general public.

Regular SS definitions (even with the varying precise definitions in the Coggan model) place it nearly dead center of the Z2 POL model. Even if you pull the bottom of Z2 up to the values you show, it is borderline at best.

I just can’t see anything around 80% of HR Max working for Z2 bottom for most people other than elites. It is simply too hard. The whole emphasis on this POL effort is to make the “easy days EASY, and hard days HARD”.

My take is that for the best POL results, you should aim for staying away from the Zone 2 splits and focus more on the center of the Z1 & Z3 areas.

As such, I find the suggestion that people want to include SST in the POL model a bit odd. I have seen people claim that SS can be part of Z1 or Z3 and I just don’t see it that way in either case.

I’m not saying that training in the Z2 is “wrong” entirely. There are clear statements about using them for precise workouts as specificity workouts leading in the final event prep. But they are not generally considered part of the typical POL practices, AFAIK.

I’m curious to know if others see it differently?


Thanks @mcneese.chad! I was asking as I came across a tweet of his that implied he was using the % heart rate which I gave earlier. I then found the Norwegian zones and it all seemed very odd to me given everything I have been reading about polarized training. Perhaps he uses different zones for different sports, which makes sense.

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Sports and athletes will likely vary. The definition of LT1/VT1 is a point of discussion throughout this and the other POL threads. Ways to find them and such. I get a bit lost and tend to work on trying to focus on staying below those points when I can, just to play it safe.


he was reluctant to give lower threshold on podcast 51, because its really not something you measure with heart rate or power. Instead he does lab testing, and I’m guessing that means a lactate threshold test. And from that test you have individualized guidelines for heart rate and power.

So without a lab test, he gave % and said adjust accordingly.

For the ‘adjust accordingly’ its pretty easy to ride in erg mode at a specific power for a long time. If your heart rate is going up over time, you need to lower power. You can also use the talk test - if you can’t get on the phone and easily carry on a conversation then your power is set too high.

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Nice work

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I agree. 80% HR max puts me at very upper limit aerobic zone. I can feel this in my breathing and RPE and this was confirmed a few years back on a lactate test. It’s too hard for “easy” which becomes more evident, the longer the ride. And it’s too easy for “hard” as it doesn’t really get any where near to threshold. I think this area 80-85%, is where I will be trying to avoid because for me, that is where I end up on those typical rides where I feel like I am working “comfortably hard” but in the end not really targeting any specific adaptations. It might have it’s place in a race or longer rides / climbs and I think we naturally end up there but for training purposes it’s too neutral.

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Cycling Analytics also has a decoupling measurement over a user selected time period.


Are you referring to the cycling analytics within WKO4 or somewhere else? The charts in WKO4 definitely have self selected time frames to measure de-coupling.


I think he means: