My Polarized Training Experience (Chad McNeese & others)


Just to clarify - I think VO2 max intervals are very hard, but I still do them :muscle::grin:


Thanks for the update, @KatuskaMTB and @mcneese.chad !

Will be viewing this thread regularly as it is relevant to my time-crunched training and endurance-crunched body

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This is an intersteng article which explains why one persons Sweet Spot could be another’s Low Intensity even if they had similar FTP’'s

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It just depends on what type of rider you are. I’m 62 and find Sweet Spot intervals way harder than VO2 max ones. Having said that though neither are easy.

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We dicussed that info in the FB group. I find it to be very misleading in the way they combine the Threshold and Sweet Spot into the same block.

They mention it’s at the top of that block, but the graphic leads to poor conclusions IMHO.

There is really no way that true SST falls in Z1 POL for the majority of people.
There might be people where that is true, but I suspect it is a very select few.

Overall point being, claiming that SST can be considered Z1 - Low Intensity on the Polarized model is incorrect, IMHO. It’s just not likely for the vast majority of the training public. That claim only serves to lead to confusion and misdirected training.

Here is the discussion, with pics of the particular discussion below:

I found the section related to the Xert link:

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Totally agree, and I think this leads down the common trap of making easy rides too hard such that you don’t have the full 100% in the tank to really crush your hard rides.


Have you been using Xert alongside your polarized plan as well? I find that they seem to suggest more of the HIIT work (60 - 120 second intervals at 130% FTP) rather than the Seiler 4x8 style intervals. For me I’m landing more in the Ronnestad protocol as the one I seem to “like” the best (13 minutes of 30s on and 15s off) but still sorting it all out.

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I’m not using Xert at all. I’ve looked at it, but I’ve seen enough issues mentioned about interface complaints and the option to not ride hard for letting the auto adjust feature work properly.

I like some of the concepts it seems to offer, but planned to wait and let it mature first.

I’m actually hoping TR may adopt some aspects of it so I can stay nice and cozy in this side of the app world. :stuck_out_tongue:


Updated OP with last Z3 workout notes for this test period.

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Just curious, with all the modern science and medicine and technology, why don’t we have a more definitive answer as to what type of training elicits the best response?

Is cloning a human actually that much more simple than figuring out physical training regiments?! :man_shrugging:

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Despite the presence of similarities between us all as humans, we are also still individuals and not identical machines.

Genetics, nutrition, training history, work/life stress and many other variables will lead to variations (some subtle, some major) and all lead to differences in effectiveness of any training approach.

Hence the need to try some things, evaluate the effectiveness, and adjust as needed. There will likely be improvements over time (via research, learning, and technology improvements to name a few), but we will likely never have absolute “this works for everyone, all the time” types of solutions.

As they TR guys say, when you get into training like this, you embark into a world of constant trial, failure, review, learning and success (hopefully). :stuck_out_tongue:


Not forgetting contradiction and confusion!

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Nicely done :+1:t3:

How have the past 3 weeks compared to SS blocks you’ve done?

I did Mt Deborah today. Despite it having a higher TSS than Baxter, I found Baxter more tiring. More evidence that my aerobic base is underdeveloped vs my higher end stuff. Hoping POL can help balance this out.

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It’s been a while since I’ve done a TR based plan. I will get a good feel again in 4 more weeks.

But I’d say it interesting at the general feeling of having more energy the day after the V02 Max Z3 workouts. I know I worked hard during, but there is a lack of lingering tired legs.

I do get the full and tired legs after the line Z1 workout, especially if I do it on Saturday and follow it with the 2 hour Z1 workout on Sunday.

Legs felt surprisingly decent without mega burning the V02 Max. I do see dropping cadence thru the course of the workout. But it’s not a quad burning feel. It’s like an extended fatigue similar to the feel after the long ones.

Overall, I seem to be less tired after all but the longest one. But there sure is a time demand with the 10 hour range I am using.

It’s only 3 weeks loading (unlike a 5 week load like SSB) so I am not feeling that deep desire for the recovery week. I am curious to see how I roll out of the final rides this weekend and into my recovery week.

This shorter load makes me feel I am headed in the right direction of applying Nate’s adjustment to my pending SSB. I am shifting the recovery weeks with SSB 1 & 2 to have 3 week loads and then recovery for the first batch and 4 week load at the end. That seems like a good approach for my body.


Totally agree with the Xert interface problems, they have interesting concepts (especially the “ever-evolving” power profile) but the app especially is a bit of a mess.

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Hi Chad, just wondering - looking at a couple of your rides and glancing at the heart rate - whether the training is polarised enough for Seiler’s prescriptions?

For example, if your max HR is 185, then 75% is 139. But a good 2 hours of Longfellow was done with an average HR of 149.

Then for Mount Deborah +1, your absolute maximum was 167. But from what I’ve heard from the Seiler podcast(s), the aim of the Z3 sessions is to get as much time as possible in that 90-95% max HR range, which for you is about 166 and above.

Could it be you need to go easier at one end and harder at the other???


That’s not how the HR percentages are calculated. It’s a percentage of the range of your heart rate, where the top is of course your max HR but the bottom is your resting heart rate, not 0 bpm. To calculate you subtract your resting HR from your max HR, multiply by the percentage, and then add your resting HR. So if @mcneese.chad has a resting heart rate of 50, then his heart rate has a range of 135 bpm (from 50 - 185). 75% of 135 is 101, and 101bpm above the bottom of the range (50) would be 151bpm.


I need to add my detailed notes on that Longfellow ride (note that they are still absent in the OP). Something went very off the rails on that one. I don’t have conclusive answers, but a I suspect incorrect power data is the likely culprit. The RPE and HR for that indicated power was well over what it should have been and not what I had intended for that ride.

I did not deliberately blow the Longfellow ride. I am well aware it falls outside the planned zones. Nobody spends as much time as I have on this topic without recognizing the issue at hand in that workout.

I should have stopped mid-ride and re-calibrated the trainer, but I had it in my head that I would get "over the hump" somehow. But that never happened, unfortunately. I fully recognize that it is not a shining example of a "proper" long and easy ride. It is what it is, despite wanting it to be better, so I have to go with it for now.

Live and learn and in 20/20 hindsight, I would have stopped and calibrated to rule out that variable. I made a bad call in a foggy headed moment, and missed an opportunity to possible correct an issue. My mistake

You can see more "correct" HR & Power data in the prior long outside ride and two Vogelsang workouts that I did. I know the boundaries and attempted to follow them in general, but not strictly dogmatic practice. Other that the Longfellow problem, I feel I did a decent job following the POL model.

I am actively working on a summary of the test weeks to see the Session and Actual Time breakdown for analysis.

Disclaimer Repeat: As I have said numerous times and ways in this thread, I am in no way guaranteeing perfect info here. This is my personal test that I chose to share for the benefit of others. As with anything I do for the first time, I often find that I make mistakes and would do some of it differently on a second attempt. This process is no different.

On MT Deb, or any others, I was following POWER as my primary and HR as mostly informational & corroborating. I feel this is better in general for all the known reasons comparing power and HR.

Despite what you see in the HR data, I KNOW I RIPPED all the “HARD” days. I was smoked at the end of the each one. The last 1/3 of both HARD workouts in the final week required me to take backpedals and 30 seconds extra rest, to get through all of the intervals.

I went into every one of those HARD workouts and reiterated to myself “hard days HARD” over and over. It was part of an overall mantra I used to get through the intervals. The 4 minute ones in particular got hard after the 4th one each time.

So, I feel that I nailed the effort in all of those cases, regardless of what HR may show.


Thanks for this. I honestly have only include the HR data for “fun” and secondary info. I drive everything from the power data I extracted from the Dr. Seiler podcasts.

For reference, I don’t check it regularly, but my resting HR is around the low 40’s (40-45 bpm).

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This isn’t right - Seiler has used the formula you mention, but he doesn’t use it all the time. See Velonews podcast episode 54, from 41:40 - he talks about percentages of “heart rate peak”, then says they “shouldn’t go above 75%” in Z1 training.

(Also see Chad’s chart at the top of the sheet - top range of Z1 is 139.)

That said, it does sound from @mcneese.chad that the two rides I mentioned might have been anomalies in terms of heart rate - the Mt Alyeska rides did seem to show HR more around 90-95% of peak, despite being a similar power intensity to Mt Deborah.

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