Anyone know what Lionel Sanders is doing?

I assumed Lionel was going from heavy intensity to more of a polarized approach with a lot more low-end efficiency developing stuff, but in this video he says he had been on polarized for a long time, so I’m very curious if he just wasn’t doing polarized correctly before or if he was doing something else. He said he was heavily reliant on his anaerobic capacity before and that he was working to both improve efficiency and raise his aerobic capacity. Sounds very polarized to me, but his comments about doing polarized for a long time confused me. I know he’s attempting to align his methods with Jan and his Norwegian counterparts, so perhaps this can expose their methods as well.

red is now, green was before. With aerobic capacity building he means riding a lot at AeT/LT1 ,not at VO2max



Good comment by @sryke here:

He was just talking rubbish (as he does at this time of year)… nothing to be learnt, it is just social media entertainment.

Which could still be polarized. As I understand it, zone 1 is up to LT1, and zone 3 is anything at or above LT2. Doing work just below LT1 and just below LT2 seems pretty close.

I agree that he seems to do this each year, but I do think his time talking with Jan and Jan asking him if “he really trained like that” shook him a bit and got him off out of his entrenched habits. Iden beating him after and corroborating Jan’s ideas I think cemented his need for an adjustment.

I believe the bit about the really hard stuff.
But then again he knows its good for him to reduce his VLa max (maybe he has been going about this the wrong way)… although he is not a stupid as he’d have people believe. I wouldnt be surprised if its mainly smoke and mirrors.

Could be and I don’t think he’s dumb, just like I’m not dumb, but doesn’t mean I know the best approach to putting together a training plan. An interesting thing I noticed was his body looked different which suggests a change. In my opinion he was noticeably leaner and less muscular. He always had a pretty big chest for his build, but his arms and chest appeared slimmer to me suggesting he’s been training differently for long enough to see body composition changes.

I don’t follow Triathlon but saw a video posted on the Pro training thread about this. So, I watched a couple of his videos (the latest two talking about training) and this appears to a big shift from what he was doing in the past. He’s also being coached full time where before he wrote all his own training and really only had some part-time coaching for the swim.

In the latest video he goes into a bit more depth as to how we was training (way too Polarized…he says too easy and too hard) and is now fully on the Norwegian model.

If you check out the Pro training thread you’ll see that the Pro cyclists don’t really do “Polarized” training either. It’s mostly “stuff” and Z2 for a bit then moving into Tempo with more “stuff” thrown in. Not really like what Seiler talks about.

Interesting videos from him for sure though. But maybe it’s just social media fluff like you said. I’m not at all familiar with him so if he derives a bunch of income from his social media postings then that very well could be true.

Sounds like he’s got some smart people in his corner. Just remember, a lot of incredible athletes get there in spite of their training, not because of it.


So he was training at (generalizing here) Z1 (in the Coggan model) and then Z5 VO2 Max? In one of his latest videos he mentions that he was going too easy and too hard.

It appears now that this “mostly easy” rides are more intense (relatively) and his “go eye bleedingly hard” rides have been dialed back significantly. Looks like maybe Z2 and Z4 or a bit under? Maybe.

I like how he said he was obsessed with “suffering” and that it was the wrong way to be thinking about his training.

Quite the seismic shift if so.

He loved suffering and thought thats what it takes all the time….he ignored sports science and is now learning the hard knocks from a coach. Multiple comments making him feel kind of stupid for how he trained. Major improvements will be seen :man_shrugging:t3:

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I wonder how long he’ll listen to this coach for before spiraling off to do his own thing again.


I would imagine it depends on how well it works.

In a prior video he talks a bit about how he viewed his biggest advantage was ‘suffering’ and he’d just go and smash himself on every workout. I think a big advantage for him having a coach is that the coach can program rest / recovery periods and more aerobic endurance workouts that would be easier than if he planned and executed them himself.

He said he posting good swim times and other metrics with the lower workload. Hopefully he sees the light and doesn’t feel the need to smash himself into the ground to get better even if he drops the coach in the future.

Just join his discord and he’ll tell you all about. No need to speculate


What I thought was particularly entertaining was his claim that he’s never been coached before. Funny on a few levels.

Partly agree. No one who wants to make solid progression should be getting their workouts straight off LS videos, but it is legitimate food for thought I think and most of his broad messages are good, no?


I like the stuff he puts out. Have beening following him since 2016.

It would be interesting to know the differences between his training in the 2017 session and this year.

Last year it seemed to all be about reverse periodisation… Sprint (speed) > IM

Generally I don’t think his training has varied as much as he’d have us beleive.

We could ask but I think you’d get the dramatic answer (drama Queen, good for media)

My takeaway is he has been mainly below / around LT1 and the hard stuff main at LT2 or just above Threshold LT2. The harder and harder bit seems to just be longer intervals around threshold with things like 2 minutes recoveries. Might be missed it (probably have) but apart from running speed work not seen anything really hard as in way way above threshold.

Not sure how much different his training will be going forward.

I’m glad Sanders seems to be properly coached now as he is the biggest threat to himself. I don’t think he is half as smart as he thinks he is, and the social media output borders on embarrassing at times with contradictory messages within posts let alone between them. At his best he is phenomenal but at his worst he risks damaging his career, and more importantly his health. He has proved himself at times to be desperately impatient, and I think this has got worse as his social media profile has increased so he needs to generate content that isn’t entirely repetitive. I hope his 2nd at Kona won’t be his best result there but I wouldn’t be betting much money on him improving it with the current competition. I’d be more interested to know if he is getting support on the psychological/mental side of things as getting the chip off his shoulder about Jan Frodeno and whoever else he sets up as a strawman in a made up adversarial contests might do him more good than improving the physical side of things.

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So he chose to change the training around these two threshold points.
Would another option be to only change the training around lt1, but keep the high intensity training the same? Instead of also bringing down to lt2 more? I guess he chose to train more specific for triathlon vs classic ‘‘polarized…’’ distribution?