Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Results 1 to 16 of 16
  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    North Denver
    Posts
    148
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Polarized training and FTP

    I have recently switched up my training from basically all my rides being hard (zone 5) to the polarized method. For the past 2 months I have been riding slow, zone 2 (<135 bpm) for all but a few rides. I want to learn how to train is this way, but incorporate my FTP number? I went outdoors this weekend, and riding at my old pace (155-163 bpm) is at the top of zone 5 for me, but feels easier/better than my zone 2 workout. My goal is racing, hoping you guys have some insight into how I can reach my potential with this method.

  2. #2
    Senior Member grolby's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    BOSTON BABY
    Posts
    7,318
    Mentioned
    9 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I'm not aware of any training system in which "zone 5" is a training level you can ride continuously in for more than 5-8 minutes or so, at least if you're doing it right. But my knowledge is small, and the world is large.

    Still, I think what you're asking requires a more complete and careful answer than you can easily get from a message board. Because I do think you don't even quite know what questions to ask, or how big the question you have asked is. It's really the kind of question that requires a literal book to answer fully. If you are looking to try training with periodization (I think this is what you mean by "polarized"), you might be better served by starting out with something like The Cyclist's Training Bible, by Joe Friel. There may be other appropriate books as well, and I know people around here that have lots to say on some of the details in that book. But nothing else that I'm aware of lays out how to think about and plan training with the same clarity and completeness. It's sort of a cycling training 101. If nothing else, starting from there or another source with similar scope and goals will be less confusing because it will be written from a singular philosophy and voice. At this stage, that's probably a lot more helpful. Everyone here will have different experiences and philosophies and even with the best of intentions, that means that what you get can be a bit cacophonous and confusing.
    The Workingman's Honest Bicycle Program - Heady talk about bikes, bike racing, bike racers and bike riding. standarddouble.com/whbp

  3. #3
    powered by Racer Ex gsteinb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    teh Jersey
    Posts
    17,030
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    this is one of those instances where the devil is in the details. how is zone 5 being defined? How many hours a week were you training, and how many are you planning on training in this new system? what sort of racing do you plan on doing?

    A lot of people spend their winters riding around in zone 2. there's been volumes written in this forum on the pros or cons of that.

    Boardman won all kinds of stuff training on 8 hours a week. None of it was much longer than 90 minutes, and the vast majority of it was 5 mins to an hour in length. From what I've read most of it was pretty damn hard.

    I can ride zone 5, by definition (and in fact), significantly less than an hour. I probably couldn't repeat that many times in a week.

  4. #4
    Senior Member aaronmcd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    SF Bay Area, CA
    My Bikes
    Cervelo S2, Ultegra 6700
    Posts
    1,629
    Mentioned
    24 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Your definition of zone 5 may be different than the usual definition. It usually means the pace you could do rested and all out for anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes, or a workout of maybe 4 to 6 minute repeats. Zone 2 typically means what you should be able to do for maybe 3 to 6 hours or more (I've never done over 6 hours).

  5. #5
    The Slow One Alaska Mike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Anchorage, AK
    My Bikes
    2 blue ones, 2 black ones, and a white one.
    Posts
    172
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Periodized training? If that's what you mean, it's basically a series of peaks and valleys in terms of effort. During a week, you can have hard days and easy days. During a month, you can have progressively harder weeks and then one easier week to recover. During a season, you can peak for events at different times.
    Also, FTP refers to a power measurement, and it seems you are training by heart rate. Apples and oranges (relatively speaking). Power is the work you do, and heart rate is how your body responds to it. You want to work relative to your Lactic Threshold heart Rate.
    The Time Crunched Cyclist book by Carmichael is one that some people new to training plans have had some success with. Easy enough to understand, although it's not as flexible or as responsive as a real cycling coach. There are all sorts of canned training plans available on the interwebs. First, figure out what you want to improve or train for, and then choose a plan that addresses that goal. I think that just about anyone that has been just hammering away at the same intensity could make some sufficient gains with a canned structured training program.
    My self-indulgent bike blog: http://alaskanpackfodder.blogspot.com/

  6. #6
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    San Francisco Bay Area
    My Bikes
    Too Many
    Posts
    8,793
    Mentioned
    59 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I assume this is the workout described above.

    From the article...

    “Low” intensity in polarized training is below your aerobic threshold (AeT).

    As you might have reckoned by now, the “moderate” intensity in polarized training is the training done between AeT and AnT. So with my heart rate zone system this is zones 2, 3 and 4. With Coggan’s power zone system that’s everything from zone 2 up to FTP.


    POL Group. This is the polarized group. They trained with a combination of the HVT and HIIT groups—either very hard of very easy. Also training in three-week blocks, they did two weeks with two HIIT interval sessions each week and with four long sessions done below AeT. Every third week (recovery week) they alternated days off with a single HIIT session and long workouts done below AeT. Their training was unique in that they never did any training between AeT and AnT. Few, if any, athletes train this way.

    My interpretation from the article by Friel is that one rides below zone 2 or above zone 4 in polarized training.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    North Denver
    Posts
    148
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Will try to answer all the comments.

    Polarized/periodized - seem to mean the same thing? Go easy, or go hard...

    I had some metabolic testing done that got me on this type of training. My zones are based on blood lactate response. zone 2 -123-135, 3 -136-144, zone 4 145-154, zone 5 155-166, and zone 6 >166. I'm 45, 175lbs. The new training model I got from a lecture here - http://www.canal-insep.fr/fr/trainin...hen_seiler-mov and from the guy who tested me, (former pro) after going through my results. He basically stated that I was on a dead end street working at the level I had been, and to switch to zone 2, which when I watched that video started ringing bells in my head.

    The past 4 years all my rides/races I have been at 150-160 consistently. I am very comfortable in this range. My average HR for my 20 minute FTP test on an indoor trainer with stages power was 164bpm, that was very hard to sustain, and I maxed out the last 45 seconds at 170 (not sustainable).

    What I am not sure about is when I am working the 20% hard rides, where do I go with my HR? Curiously, zone 2 (135) for 90 minutes I perceive as being harder than what I am referring to as zone 5 (155). A week of training realistically is under 8-10 hours max, and that would include races during the season, crits and road races.

    I am super comfortable at the low end of zone 5, do I push to the upper end zone 5 and into zone 6 for my hard workout? That is what I am not sure about.

  8. #8
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    16
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by denvertrout View Post
    Polarized/periodized - seem to mean the same thing? Go easy, or go hard...
    Quote Originally Posted by denvertrout View Post
    I am super comfortable at the low end of zone 5, do I push to the upper end zone 5 and into zone 6 for my hard workout? That is what I am not sure about.
    Polarized and periodized definitely mean two different things. Even in Seiler's presentation the pro athlete examples he gives seem to have been following a periodized year where they raise the amount of volume at intensity when closing in on competition.

    My take on Seiler's paper is his stressing the importance of avoiding time at threshold and instead spending that time at lower intensities and higher intensities. This is based on his studies of winning endurance athletes had more volume in lower intensity zones and higher intensity zones than their losing competitors, and, less volume in threshold.

    I think the difficulty was actually mapping that time to different training zones ie a 5, 6 or 7 zone platform. I sort of sketched out the zones from Seiler, Friel, and Coggan. Friel was useful there as his book actually has a chart with lactate units which helps translate.

    Not sure what scale of training zone's you're using, but, basically he's saying 80% volume in recovery, endurance, and maybe tempo, avoiding threshold, and, 10 to 20% in VO2max and anaerobic capacity, and sprints.

    I'm guessing you're saying you're comfortable at V02max. I think you would continue to train that as well as anaerobic capacity; but, those are sustainable for different lengths and would be trained as such.

  9. #9
    Ninny globecanvas's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    The Gunks
    Posts
    1,659
    Mentioned
    9 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by denvertrout View Post
    My zones are based on blood lactate response. zone 2 -123-135, 3 -136-144, zone 4 145-154, zone 5 155-166, and zone 6 >166.

    My average HR for my 20 minute FTP test on an indoor trainer with stages power was 164bpm.

    If you have a power meter, you should use it to determine your zones, rather than HR. If you can do 20 minutes with an average HR of what you are calling zone 5, then that's not a hard enough effort to qualify as "intensity" in the type of polarized training that is described in the video you linked to. That's a threshold effort by definition, exactly the middle-ground the polarized model says to avoid.

    He describes lots of time in Z1 and Z2, literally talking about skiers walking up hills rather than skiing, and time at vO2max and higher intensities. That kind of intensity you can sustain for 4-5 minutes, maybe 8 minutes at the absolute limit, but really wanting to die immediately afterwards. If you are "super comfortable" or any kind of comfortable at that level of intensity, you are not doing it hard enough.
    Last edited by globecanvas; 01-21-15 at 07:33 PM.

  10. #10
    The Slow One Alaska Mike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Anchorage, AK
    My Bikes
    2 blue ones, 2 black ones, and a white one.
    Posts
    172
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I was familiar with the concept, but not necessarily the terminology. Interesting.

    OP- I think that you would be better served going with a more conventional periodized training program, as you are essentially an untrained cyclist (one that has followed a structured training program). Friel pretty much says the same thing in the article:
    Intermediate and the less experienced of the advanced athletes may make great gains by training with the THR group’s method—lots of time at about AnT. This way is somewhat similar to what Coggan proposes with his “sweetspot” training methodology with 2 x 20-minute intervals at 88-93% of FTP with 5-minute recoveries. I’ve seen a lot of athletes improve by training that way.
    THR Group. The focus of this group was training at AnT. They also trained in three-week blocks with two weeks of high volume including four interval sessions at AnT (such as 5 x 6 minutes, 6 x 7 minutes and 6 x 8 minutes each with 2-minute recoveries) followed by a recovery week. In the two hard weeks of each block they also did a weekly AnT session with longer intervals (3 x 15 minutes and 3 x 20 minutes with 3-minute recoveries). This way of training is similar to what many athletes do in their late Base or Build periods.
    As he mentions, variety is the spice of life when it comes to training- you have to mix it up or you will burn out. There is a lot of information out there to digest.

    This time of year I am exclusively on the trainer, and I alternate harder and easier days. The first week starts off at a certain level. The next week gets a little harder. Maybe the intervals get longer or the ranges get higher, but it still alternates between harder and easier days. The next week gets even harder. The 4th week is a recovery week, where I back off and do less intense efforts and shorter intervals. Then I start all over again. Each week has a rest day, where I don't get on the bike and instead ski. The easier days are usually at an Endurance pace. A harder day could be long intervals at lactic threshold, shorter VO2max intervals, or maybe extended grinds at a high Tempo pace. Usually the week slowly builds in intensity leading up to the rest day.

    When I follow the training program my coach lays out during the winter, the numbers in WKO generally trend slowly upwards until just before the road season. When I don't stick to it, I either stagnate or have a lot of peaks and valleys. One day I'll feel great and push it, and the next I'll crash and barely get out of bed. I've done that more times than I care to remember, because I'm an idiot.

    A lot depends on what you're training for, and what you have time for. I will say that a training plan that is not sustainable is not a good training plan.
    My self-indulgent bike blog: http://alaskanpackfodder.blogspot.com/

  11. #11
    Hardening the F up
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Galt's Gulch, New Hampshire
    My Bikes
    02 Litespeed Siena, 29# hard tail Tank
    Posts
    131
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by denvertrout View Post
    I had some metabolic testing done that got me on this type of training. My zones are based on blood lactate response. zone 2 -123-135, 3 -136-144, zone 4 145-154, zone 5 155-166, and zone 6 >166. I'm 45, 175lbs. The new training model I got from a lecture here - Training periodization. Deep-root cultural heritage and innovative paradigms (2013) - Managing the distribution of training intensity: the polarized model and from the guy who tested me, (former pro) after going through my results. He basically stated that I was on a dead end street working at the level I had been, and to switch to zone 2, which when I watched that video started ringing bells in my head.

    The past 4 years all my rides/races I have been at 150-160 consistently. I am very comfortable in this range. My average HR for my 20 minute FTP test on an indoor trainer with stages power was 164bpm, that was very hard to sustain, and I maxed out the last 45 seconds at 170 (not sustainable).

    What I am not sure about is when I am working the 20% hard rides, where do I go with my HR? Curiously, zone 2 (135) for 90 minutes I perceive as being harder than what I am referring to as zone 5 (155). A week of training realistically is under 8-10 hours max, and that would include races during the season, crits and road races.

    I am super comfortable at the low end of zone 5, do I push to the upper end zone 5 and into zone 6 for my hard workout? That is what I am not sure about.
    Forget about HR. Do it by breathing (below VT1 for easy, above VT2 for hard) or by power (< 75% ftp for easy, verify with breathing, > FTP for hard).

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8vRWNb0suE
    Last edited by no sweat; 01-22-15 at 06:52 AM.

  12. #12
    Hardening the F up
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Galt's Gulch, New Hampshire
    My Bikes
    02 Litespeed Siena, 29# hard tail Tank
    Posts
    131
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by denvertrout View Post
    He basically stated that I was on a dead end street working at the level I had been
    I am simply curious: what sort of FTP were you putting down when you were told you were at a dead end?

  13. #13
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Western MA
    My Bikes
    Yes
    Posts
    12,632
    Mentioned
    48 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Polarized training is all the rage for recreational cyclists. It makes sense on the surface. Train primarily in the zone you ride in and add HIT to build strength for climbing and pull FTP. It also makes sense for pros whose events last 4-6 hours for many days in a row. To me it makes no sense for amateur racers.

  14. #14
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    The Netherlands
    My Bikes
    Batavus
    Posts
    28
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    There have been a few discussions on the Training and Nutrition subforum of Bikeforums.net.

    Zone 2 lecture - a while back
    How do I incorporate "Polarized training" into a "normal" ride?

    I think polarized training can be useful, even for shorter race events, however, I feel it only is if you trully commit to it.

    This off-season I've sort of incorporated in my indoor training sessions:
    • I have 3 or 4 Endurance days where I stay in Z2 (Endurance, thus staying below VT1) about 90 min each
    • I have one Anaerobic day where I do intervals in Z4 and Z5 (from 4x8 to 8x4 etc) this results in 30min above VT2 and total session time 60min or so
    • This results in roughly 80% training sessions easy and 20% hard sessions


    I feel it is creating some good adaptations, however, I obviously have no comparison because last year I wasn´t structured at all, and was hardly riding in the winter.
    So who knows, maybe if I were doing 60 min Tempo sessions each day I would also improve.

    What I do know, though, is that my speed on the trainer is sufficiently higher at a low HR after a month or so of doing this. And my speed in Z4 and Z5 is also higher.
    Which for a crit racer is pretty good, because you are usually either cruising or hammering. (At least me, I'm a sprinter-type so I'm either sprinting or hiding behind the strong guys.)

    I might change up one of the easy day for 3x10's or 2x20's when racing season gets closer such that every zone is trained. But I feel that Z3 is highly dependent on your adaptations in Z2 and Z4 rather than the other way around, so it is getting trained already regardles.

  15. #15
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    North Denver
    Posts
    148
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by no sweat View Post
    I am simply curious: what sort of FTP were you putting down when you were told you were at a dead end?
    Let me clarify. I meant that I was told my training at the level that I had been doing for 3 years, heart rate between 150-160 on basically all my rides, will not get me the physiological adaptations that will allow me to reach my potential. I was told to work zone 2 to allow my lactate curve to move.

    Workload Junior Cyclist Top Amateurs Avg. Pro-Tour World Class
    w/kg Blood La (mmol/L) Blood La (mmol/L) Blood La (mmol/L) Blood La (mmol/L)
    3 1.3 1.1 1.1 0.8
    3.5 1.8 1.3 1.2 0.8
    4 3 2.3 2 0.96
    4.5 6.6 3.5 3.2 1.8
    5 10 7.6 5.8 3.1
    5.5 9.2 8.2 5.2
    6 8.9

    Chart taken from this article - What is Lactate and Lactate Threshold | TrainingPeaks

    Basically, the higher your lactate level the sooner you are cooked. The way to move the curve and train your body to adapt is zone 2, because it is correlated to your heart rate. That is what I am told and have been training for the past 2 months.
    Last edited by denvertrout; 01-23-15 at 09:08 AM.

  16. #16
    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Ygduf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Redwood City, CA
    My Bikes
    road bikes
    Posts
    6,640
    Mentioned
    52 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by denvertrout View Post
    Let me clarify. I meant that I was told my training at the level that I had been doing for 3 years, heart rate between 150-160 on basically all my rides, will not get me the physiological adaptations that will allow me to reach my potential. I was told to work zone 2 to allow my lactate curve to move.
    If you ride 70% all the time you get good at riding 70%!

    I think you'll find there is plenty of room to improve if you work on very-hard efforts and ride moderately around them. Like a race.

    twitter.com/ygduf
    strava.com/athletes/ygduf

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •