This thread has been a very good read, including all the links.
I went through the Polarized debate earlier in the year and decided that the only way to see if it would work for me is to give it a go. Everyone is different and response to any particular training model is very individual.
You can really start to over think any form of training to the point it starts to become overwhelming. I decided to keep things simple with my Polarized approach and still mix things up with a choice of training session options to keep my interest and motivation high. All my training is done on my Cyclocross bike with off road cross tyres fitted so i can mix my rides up between on and off road. Certainly makes 3hrs fly by when you mix it up a bit.
This was my approach and my results were very good:
Day 1 - L3 Hard 1hr30 4x8min @107% ftp. (5x8min after 2months)
Day 2 - L1 Easy 2hrs @60-75% ftp with high cadence 5sec sprint every 20min.
Day 3 - L1 Easy 3hrs @60-75% ftp with high cadence 5sec sprint every 20min.
Day 4 - L3 Hard 1hr30 3 sets of 20/10’s OR 3 sets of 40/20’s OR KOM day on or off road.
Day 5 - L1 Easy 2hrs @60-75% ftp with high cadence 5sec sprint every 20min.
Day 6 - Rest recover
I then repeat it all again and then have a 4 day rest period.
As Cyclocross season got closer I changed workouts to be more specific whilst still keeping the Polarized model in place i.e. instead of 5x8min i did 5x5min ladders. So a bit less time but higher intensity. And on one of the easy L1 days i incorporated skills training into it.
Over a 5 month period, my ftp gains were greater than ever. CTL climbed to mid 90’s before the start of Cross season (did try to hit 100 but was just a stretch too far). Weight loss was gradual over the 5 months (3kg) which gave me a watts/kg of 3.97. So close to 4watts/kg so will be my goal for next year as well as hit a CTL of 100.
Cyclocross season is in full flow here in the UK with 1 race every weekend (for me). Obviously volume needed to be reduced to allow full recovery between races. A race is classed as a hard L3 session. Ignore the duration and TSS of a cross race, its the IF (Intensity Factor) thats the important one here. 45min cross race will hurt and definately need recovery after. L1 is still important during cross season so a couple of L1 rides and a single L3 ride during the week along with recovery and openers pretty much sums up the cross season to help try and hold what you have worked so hard to achieve with out doing to much and blowing up. Any rides i cant complete outside, i complete on TR by either finding a workout that best suits, or use the workout builder.
Once cross season has finished, i will take a short break and then back to Polarized training for a longer time period than this year in hope to reach my goals.
IMPO, if you are on the fence and not sure, just give the Polarized model a try. You never know, i might be the best change to your training you will ever make.