Quality over Quantity vs. 80/20 (or Chad vs. Matt ;))



I appreciate your thoughtful response.

I agree with you and @themagicspanner about the screen grab above being a hard sell. Working out a lot of sweet spot daily hurts me…like, I don’t really want to do it. I feel like it works to increase my FTP, but I am tired and grouchy with it.

There’s a lot to be said about doing what makes you feel good…and I plan on doing just that.

In addition, my thought is that there is enough evidence for me to foray more deeply into POL.


I can relate to the “sweet spot hurts me”. So much so that I started a thread “Science of Sweet Spot”. Secretly I wanted someone to go “yeah dude, that’s a thing…here’s what I do”. So far I gets lots of what I call the “elevator pitch”…best bang for your buck, etc. Or “I love it because I can do it everyday”. I too have had success these last few years with SS but I hate slamming intervals everyday, even mid intensity ones. And I frequently have to adjust so not to overreach. With my running background, where you would NEVER do these types of workouts, makes me even more skeptical. But running ain’t cycling.

I read some of the literature ppl provided in that thread and whereas I’m not confused, there’s definitely nothing wholey definitive. There’s also enough contradictory findings that you can’t really “combine the two”, as some have suggested


@robdoc1love If you want to experiment, maybe take a look at the Velonews Training Plan, Parts 1 & 2. Trevor Connor is currently infatuated with Seiler’s ideas and a lot of the “polarized” concepts are baked into that two part article.

I see what you’re saying now about “why wouldn’t they [TR] let us decide”. I’d like something like that too but other than what @stevemz said I think it’s because it’s not really a formal coaching philosophy with a champion, a book, and some success stories (like Coggan,Allen,using power, etc a few years back). It’s some research that amateurs are trying to codify into something organized.

If you start with something, report back.


if someone comes across more information on this, please share

4:30pm - 5:15pm

Panel: High Performance Strategies for the Time Crunched Athlete


Hey, I resemble that remark :laughing: But I didn’t really say that, nor mean to imply that. I love sweet spot for building muscular endurance early in the season, and then I move on to fun stuff like mid week races (that eerily look 80/20 or 70/30) and at least one long ride a month. Those mid week races include 20 minute hard push to the start, and then 40 minute hard push into the wind. Hope that explains why I value building muscle endurance in prep for a lot of outside riding starting mid Jan.


I’m guessing we would have to ask the athletes themselves in order to suss out why they trained as they did, and why they changed.

For more naivety, could there possibly be a “best training” practice for different stages of an athlete – beginner, advanced, elite? As in, do world class athletes utilize POL because it works for world class athletes, where as a total beginner might be best served utilizing sweet spot methods, or vice versa, etc.
(My personal n=1 was winning a race after training 5 hrs/week exclusively in Threshold and VO2 (Z4/5), nothing else. Would doing another 20 hours/week of low intensity training (POL) or another 5 hours/week of Sweet Spot have made my victory more victorious? Why isn’t this a valid training method?)

Admittedly, I have not read every single post in this thread, but perhaps instead of just asking if X is better than Y, we might have to consider that there is no definitive answer and we need to ask who/what/when/where/why in order to arrive at the best type of training.



Wow. Lots of posts since I last checked. This is one of the reasons I love this forum. Great passion and thought provoking dialog. :+1:t3::+1:t3:

Thee are a couple of themes in the last 30 or so posts I’ve read that I’d like to respond to.

  1. I think TR should create a polarized plan and add it to their training library. There’s enough interest among their user base, and enough evidence it may work, where it should be an easy decision to add. Leave it up to the user to decide if they want to do POL or SS/THR, or indeed a mix.

  2. Any training plan, for it to be most effective, needs to be tailored to the specific profile and goals of the individual. For some people, that may mean SS/THR is better, for others POL, or maybe even some thing different. The only way to really tell for you is to try something and see. This is why I love the “experiment” @mcneese.chad is trying.

Now if only I was as strong a bike rider as my interest in getting stronger. Then I’d be killing it!!


That’s me right there!

Fat Adapting Advice?

No matter how much evidence, experiments and data their is now, or will be in the future, you still wont know if a Polarized training model works for you ‘personally’ unless you give it a try. Thats the conclusion i came to thus changing to a Polarized model earler in the year to see how i ‘personally’ reacted to the training. And in my opinion, for me, it worked really well.


Absolutely. I’d also add that you need to give an approach like POL at least a full season before judging how effective it is. With POL you’re playing the long game… gradual improvements based on a larger aerobic base, increased consistency and better overall health. There’s no use looking for big improvements after 1 month… they aren’t going to be there.

It’s worked for me as well (on 5 hours per week). I’m not strictly following POL (as I’m still doing some threshold work), but for the last 9 months I’ve added much more low intensity work… I’ve had better performance (although not massive gains) & improved health.


Added much more low intensity work, on 5 hours total per week?

What does your typical work load week look like (session type and duration)?

Curios to see your splits in comparison to my 9+ hour weeks.



The 5 hours a week was based on an average over the last 12 months. In the summer the weekly volume would be slightly higher.

I’m a triathlete, so depending on what I’m training for at the time a typical week would look something like this…

  • 3 x low intensity runs (30-40 mins, keeping under 142 bpm).
  • 1 high intensity run (something like a track session).
  • 1 or 2 45 min swims.
  • 2 x TR workouts (or in the summer a TR workout and a 10 mile TT).
    Where family commitments allow I’d go for a longer ride on a weekend, trying to keep HR under 142 bpm.
  • 1 x 30 min strength session.

Prior to Feb I did hardly any training at a low HR.


…and how you reacted personally at that moment in time. It may not have worked as well either when you were a novice cyclist or in another years time of exclusively following a polarised training model.

As much as we debate is X training better than Y training they are inseparable from the rider, their personal response to different training stimuli, where they are in their training, and what they are training for.

As far as I can see both approaches can be equally valid in different points of a periodised training plan. While some riders may respond slightly better to one than the other, that’s probably no reason to exclusively rely on one methodology to the exclusion of the other over the long term.


Cool. That’s a solid schedule for tri work. Well done.


Exactly, I like the concept of mixing them over a long range. I am planning the normal TR Base, Build and Specialty. Then I may try a POL break and return to Build for the finish to my season.

I think it’s good to look at the options and consider how a shift from one type to another may be good on multiple levels (body and mind).


Cheers. It’d be nice to have a few extra hours on the bike, but there aren’t enough hours in the day :slight_smile:


Agreed. Especially the mind part as well, something that is often overlooked and isn’t easily studied.


Hey sorry @bbarrera you’re right you didn’t say it that way. I was trying to summarize the whole other thread there. @robdoc1love seemed like he was getting off to a rough start with the discussion and I wanted to let him know that I shared his frustration (training, not the discussion)

FWIW, I actually liked your answer. Effectively “No”. :joy:. Direct (for me) is good. And yes, muscular endurance FTW. It’s important for my goals and type of riding as well.


@tshortt no worries, just yanking your chain ha ha. The difference between us is that sweet spot doesn’t hurt me, it just makes me stronger, without the need for a lot of recovery, and in the process raises ftp up to a point. And after that point is time to work on higher intensities with VO2max and sprint intervals.


Can’t recall just now where I read it but I think the recommended zone 3 workouts include 16 min intervals @ 108 % ftp, 8 min @ 108 %, 4 min @ 118 % and 40/20 @ ?%.
Anyone recall where I can have read/heard those workouts?

In the polarized team group workouts there are 8 min intervals @ 108 % ftp and 4 mins @ 108 %. But not the other variants. Anyone have tips from the TrainerRoad catalogue?