I’m fully bought into the polarized training model. But one thing I don’t get: Trevor and team continue to suggest two high intensity workouts per week. How is that 80/20? In a 7 day week, that’s 70/30, or if you rest one day, that’s 66/33. So how can 80% of my rides be low intensity if I’m doing two HIIT workouts per week? Should it just be one?
I think you’re looking at this from too much of a close lens. I think 80/20 is more of a generality, and not meant to be taken literally. If you go out for a 2 hour ride, are you back right at 2 hours? Or is it sometime 2 hours and 5 minutes or 1 hour and 55 minutes, etc.
Focus on the forest and not the trees, and the concept behind what 80/20 is all about is more what you are trying to go after, as opposed to an exact science and numbered percentage.
I think if you’re in that ‘ballpark’ there is some going to be some slight variance of the exact number. My power meter has a +/- 2% accuracy…I think the same can be said for an 80/20 training plan.
Just my .02.
I was thinking the same thing.
Thank you! That makes sense. It just that I see the 80/20 so often cited. But yes, I can see how four Z1 rides (one long) and two high intensity interval workouts per week is a good polarized model,
Great question and I fully agree with the answers! The Polarized approach is more an overall philosophy and approach. It’s not necessary to track the exact numbers (unless you’re using them to generally help you keep your high intensity work in check.)
All that being said, you actually raise a good question about the seven day week. Dr Seiler has actually said a few times that you’re better planning a 10-day week with two intensity sessions in those 10 days. The problem is that’s easy to do as a pro, but much harder to do when you have a job, weekends matter, and you’re trying to get into a regular routine. So, I will say that two in ten days is a little more polarized and a little better, but two in seven days is good enough for most of us.
Hope that helps!
Excellent! Thank you, Trevor. (For everything you do; I’ve been devouring the podcasts.) I will use the 10 day concept as my license to listen to my body and push the hard day back when I’m feeling overly fatigued.
On that note, what really speaks to me about the polarized model (after years of doing TR sweet spot work) is that, as I near age 50, I need to give my body more time to recover/adapt. I realize now that I rarely have done that over the past few years.
FWIW, I changed from a 3+1 cycle to a 2+1 in May this year. First two weeks will have two hard workouts per week (VO2 and Threshold), with everything else being easy (HR capped at what feels like my LT1). I don’t have the luxury of extending volume, so rely on extending intensity.
As @robpickels mentioned to me in an email, the training load is still the same over the 12 weeks, except that there is one more recovery week.
Looking at my notes, RPE, and EF (for a specific ride I do each week), it’s all indicating that I’m responding better to this, than a traditional 4 week cycle. So in 21 days, I’m doing 4 hard workouts, and 9-10 easy rides (75% of the time), mostly 90 minutes each or 3-4 hours on Saturday. The rest of the 8-9 days are non-ride days, but not stress/load-free.
I k lm ow there’s no magic formula for training, but I have found what works, and it’s working well enough to call it magic.
@geraldm24 That is a great suggestion, and it definitely fits the model. I may try that. After finally seeing the polarized light, I’ve looked back at past training and seasons and seen that I did all of the high intensity work necessary, but very little low intensity and not enough recovery. What do your recovery weeks look like? Shorter, low intensity rides?
Recovery is 3 rides during the week, mostly Tu-We-Th, but sometimes a mix of the 4 days Mo-Th depending on work and family commitments. Fridays are my rest day, because I change from afternoon weekday training to morning weekend training. The break between Thursday afternoon to Saturday morning is a good 34 hours, as well as Sunday morning to Monday afternoon giving me 30 hours if I don’t do anything on Sunday morning in a hard week.
The weekend is a normal weekend club ride. Duration during the week is 60-90 minutes per ride, depending on the time in my season. The weekend is almost always 3-4 hours at mostly Endurance pace).
So the weekly total can be anywhere between 6-8.5 hours, which is higher than what most coaches would prescribe. It’s all easy riding (all day pace), where heart rate is usually always below what LT1 would be.
Planned load 360, actual was 383
Planned hours 6, actual was 8
Power shows in zone 3 and SS, but HR was mostly in Z2, so the TiZ distribution looks like it was harder than easy.
Excellent, thank you.