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



Its a matter of opinion, right? Here’s mine - I’d rather allow the discussion to naturally fork into sub-topics and have a nice contained 10-20 post discussion. Searching a mega-thread does not automatically make it easier to review and follow sub-threads of the conversation. And forcing into a mega-thread without actively editing to increase readability is rather authoritarian.


I already mentioned above, that it is possible to merge the discussion in one operation, or separate ones with deliberate intent to keep readability in tact.

I’m just trying to help keep things organized and keep this great discussion in all the various topics accessible (and with less chaos that we saw on the FB side).

We have great tools at hand (like Categories, Tags, and grouping options) and I think the intent for the move here was to capitalize on those for the benefit of current discussion and future references

I contacted @Nate and @chelsea to see how they would like this handled. It may be either of the options listed or something else entirely. I’ll leave it to them to decide.


Yes, this is basically what I was thinking about when I said there was another discussion that could be had.

Setting aside whether polarized works better that sweetspot or whatever you want to call it, what I do like is that the polarized zones are no longer woolly and anchored around a single point but rather well defined by specific physiological markers. That’s probably the engineer in me that likes that!

When Coggan defined his classic zones they were anchored purely around FTP both above and below based on percentages. Since then there has been quite a bit of development carried out to address these shortcomings above FTP through iLevels which are based on the Mean Maximal Power Curve in WKO4.

No real progress has really been made on defining the zones under FTP because it is not possible to carry out a non-invasive test to determine LT1. XERT have a model that they used based on the power curve but I have no idea how that works or whether it’s effective.



Another option - create a “POL” category and label all relevant threads with that category (as currently works with “Training”, “Nutrition” etc.). Nice way to group all related POL discussions.

Best of both worlds - keeps things organised, plus allows smaller sub-topics to be created.


Yup, with one consideration: I think Polarized, 80/20 or something similar would be a better as a Tag under the existing Training Category.


this is a killer quote, and I personally like LT1 and LT2 markers much more than the kinda arbitrary FTP zones. The type of events I do are also more suited to LT/VT. I think you convinced me to go do my lab tests :slight_smile:


Right now if someone was to ask me what the next £300 I would spend on bike parts would be, I think it would be on a lactate testing machine.


I personally don’t see the 80/20 and polarized training style as that different at all from a traditional approach.

I would bet most of those high level athletes are spending less %age of their time during the offseason in the Z3 area but then focusing more on the intensity as the race season approaches.

Didn’t Seiler make this observation based on what athletes were already doing, not necessarily changing what what they were doing.


That is my understanding for much of his data. There are also studies he discusses in one of the YT videos.

Not sure about the overall blend between pure review of athletes vs studies?


What do you mean by 'Traditional approach? Polarized training is nothing new - rowers started gravitating towards it as far back as the 70s.



It’s massively different. In the traditional approach most people spend a large chunk of time around threshold, with very little easy training.


I agree with Mike, “Traditional approach” needs more information to properly assess that statement.


The marking and setup point for LT1 interesting and lacking from the 7-Level Coggan model.

But LT2 seems to be very comparable to FTP in the sense that both are aiming to identify the MLSS (Max Lactate Steady State) as far as I understand. So I don’t think that is much different other than choosing to actually test lactate to get more direct data.

Even when you do that, it is probably appropriate to link that to a Power value (or HR?). We still need some reference other than the pure LT info so we can set our training zone split (Z2/Z3) since you aren’t likely to use the true LT testing day to day.


I think Seiler talks about that in one of the podcast, I believe specific to LT1, but determining it and a related HR and then using that for a season to train.


You’re correct regarding FTP and LT2 as we’ve dicussed before, assuming a suitably accurate test is done. Having said that there is a tendancy for riders to inflate FTP as it serves as a proxy for performance as well as a critical physiological marker. The effect of this is that training often happens in the wrong zone.


I thought it was generally understood since TR has a series of “Traditional Base” training plans.

Traditional Base has three consecutive four-week blocks: I, II and III. Time permitting, complete each block in order.

As its name implies, the Traditional block takes the old-fashioned approach to base training. It requires a large time commitment to give you significant gains. Unless you have at least 10 hours/week to train, we do not recommend the long, low-intensity Traditional approach. Workouts include fair shares of form work, pedaling drills, power sprints, force intervals and hill simulations.

This block is primarily geared toward Grand Tour athletes or those recovering from an injury who want to avoid high-intensity intervals

Although this article is almost 10 years old, it did form a lot of my approaches to self-coaching. As far as using the polarized approach in under than 10 hours a week, I used to train in the 10-12 hours a week after my first year, however that was only cycling 4-6 during the winter and 6-8 during the nicer weather months and the other half of my training running/swimming. That took me from BOP to FOP in 2-3 years. There were lots of others on beginnertriathlete who were able to do the same. The general consensus there was to increase duration/volume until you plateau and then worry about adding in harder workouts. There are several parts in the series that I’m linking and has a nice summary of the different approaches to endurance training and the advantages/disadvantages. As some others have said, there is a limit you can reach on the hours you are doing without either upping the duration or intensity to increase the workload. This is why training with a powermeter is so awesome since you can increase the workload without increasing the duration in a logical manner instead of just ‘Riding more’


And so it appears that this article helped to shape my opinion of how to train smart for endurance events. It is linked as a reference in the article series I posted earlier.

Shouldn’t be too hard to guess the author.




We all know about the Traditional Base plans within TR. The reason we asked for clarity is that we are discussing various training practices, many of which ARE NOT part of the TR picture. So, we were trying to clarify what could have been a poor assumption/association between TR Traditional Base and some other interpretation of “Traditional approach” that someone might consider.

My point being, the particular details matter, so it’s best to be specific so there is less chance for misunderstanding.

Thanks for the clarity and association to the TR TB plans.


I think Dr Seiler mentioned in one of the podcasts that a way to check if you are riding below LT1 is to monitor your heart rate, and if there is not excessive drift, then you are below LT1.

I seem to recall hearing/reading somewhere (maybe somewhere in this thread or another - jeez, cant we just have one thread? :grin:) that “not excessive” is about 10bpm or less.

So seems like a starting point of 70-75% of HR max, plus the above check would get a pretty close estimate? Not sure I’d personally spend much on a lactate monitor to measure something that I’d from then on measure reasonable infrequently.