Polarized Training Discussion (Fast Talk podcast & Flo Cycling podcast)

Ones with built in analgesics.

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I don’t think this is based in fact. Indoor training is more effective but this “worth twice as much” thing is from the marketing department. A 2 hour ride is still 2 hours indoors or out, right?


It’s the coasting (0W) outside that makes the indoor more bang for the buck, if you live in a very hilly area you might have to ride 10-25% longer to get same TSS, but its far from 100% more. When im super effective outside i can be down under 5% coasting (very flat area i live)


Most likely not the case. In my experience, and from examining indoor vs outdoor ride data, a 2 hour endurance ride is nearly equivalent for each setting. Even longer Z2 rides don’t diverge that much, e.g.:

This is mirrors my own kJ data — 4hrs indoors = 5hrs outdoors.

It’s more than that. Riding indoors can allow holding say 200w for 4 hours, so outdoors, anything below 200w will increase the divergence of the two rides.

It’s odd, because in training you want to be on the power/expending energy as much as possible, but in races/events, you want to be off the power/conserving energy as much as possible. Two different learnings.


No it is not accurate there is no context to the statement. Anyone that says an indoor ride is time 1.x (or any multiple) of an outdoor ride is talking nonsense unless they quantify it. Storesund makes a good point re: coasting. Going back to the statement if you coasted for ~40 - 45% of a 4 hour ride (plus you get micro breaks, not that noticeable,) they they might be almost equal, but then they might not.

Generally you will get more work done for a given time indoors, although where I live depending on how I ride I can get close outside. I find in easier to ride a touch harder outside for the same RPE and I don’t coast more than 5% of the ride so can easily end up with the same training load (actually normally higher) outside for the same duration.

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  • I wear a mix of Pearl Izumi Elite and PRO bibs.
  • I see two parts to the question.
  1. Comfort: Related to the comment above, riding inside is often far less comfortable than outside. I feel the biggest reason is the lack of motion on most trainers. The rigid nature of nor.al trainers overloads sit bones and support tissue in an unnatural way.

    • Adding motion via a rocker plate or the original Kinetic Rock and Roll relieves this pressure and allows more natural rider motion in the saddle. This can greatly improve comfort and redice.the strain, which allows for longer rides inside.

    • It also makes standing efforts more natural than riding. This encourages more standing efforts for saddle pressure relief as well as changes to muscle loading, both of which can extend time on the trainer.

  2. Actual work/rest ratios and return on trainer time vs outside are debated. I don’t think it is likely double in most cases, but I do think a 10-25% bonus is very possible inside. That will depend on the rider, trainer, and their typical ride outside, but I bet there is more efficiency in most cases.

Here is a related thread on the topic.

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Does this mean my 12hr trainer ride was really 24hrs? :thinking:

Kidding of course. Although in general, we hear that training indoors can be more efficient, outdoor rides can be just as efficient. I have over 100 miles of rail trails nearby that are mostly non interrupted and my rides on trail have bearly any coasting, if any at all.


For me it’s different. My ftp on trainer is way lower than outside. So a 4hr outside ride I burn a good bit more calories than a 4hr indoor.

A coach told me 2 hours indoors =pretty much 4 outside. I only worked with him for a month…

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Yes, riding outdoors, using energy as efficiently as possible and indoors trying to stimulate training effects as much as possible.

I use power indoors and HR/ RPE outdoors, so the experience is harder to compare

Why can’t you do that outdoors? If you are training, mazimizing effort is the key, speed/efficiency be damned

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Train by power, race by speed.

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Exactly this!

My old style watt bike is rigid. I think it’s too heavy for a rocker plate.
Not sure I want to do longer than 2hrs at a time indoors though :wink:

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I was thinking of 24hour solo training I did tbh and remembering how I had to train to conserve energy whilst riding.

I’ve seen 2 FB group members do Atoms on rockers, so it can be done.

updated the Polarized Cycling blog with a polarized power zones calculator that can be downloaded to your computer


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Here’s one.

Deathtrap for Cutie. :laughing: