Anyone with experience of merging polarized (80/20) and TR bike plan?

Having recently upgraded to a smart trainer (still waiting for delivery!) I am keen to look at utilising trainer road into my current training schedule.

Coming from a MTB background of mostly downhill / bikepark riding I am pretty new to the whole training plan concept. I took up triathlon 2 years ago, and for my first 2 events (Slateman / Ironman Wymouth 70.3) followed a traditional periodized plan, which buried me. Whilst I completed the events I was spending a lot of time injured / getting physio, and really didn’t enjoy a lot of the training.

Last year I decided to take on a full Ironman, but having not run a marathon before decided to tick that off first. This is when I came across Matt Fitzgerald and Dave Wardens 80/20 plans. I followed my first marathon plan, and was amazed at how well I progressed to the full distance, and also how great I felt (injury free for the whole training cycle / significant weight loss) even my physio commented on how little work I needed doing.

Based off the success of this, I followed the Ironman plan ahead of a Long course weekend. Again, felt great, and progressed through the plan injury free.

Now I am signed up for 3 races next year, with Ironman Wales being my A race. Part of me just wants to stick with the 80/20 plan as it has given me a lot of success. BUT at the same time, I am aware that the bike is where I can make the biggest gains, which has me thinking TR is a better option.

So my question really is, has anyone had success running a hybrid style plan ? I am considering following the 80/20 structure for running and swimming still, but TR for the bike.

Or maybe following the 80/20 plan and substituting the two shorter rides of the 80/20 plan a week to TR, and maintaining the long slow weekend rides / brick sessions

Just looking for some thoughts / advice on this, as I say I’m very new to the whole world of FTP / training plans


Very interesting post for me, as I have actually been trialing a hybrid plan myself for 70.3 training this year.
My thought process behind the plan was that I have a limited amount of time to train, and I am not a great volume responder (10-12hrs/week is about my max) on a threshold/reverse periodised plan. I also wanted to minimise my risk of injury or illness, but the plan had to be sustainable and effective.
I decided to move to a 80/20 approach for my running, and then keep the intensity in bike and swims. The approach is simple - don’t excessively increase injury or illness risk in the high-load sports, and use that to increase the base endurance, then use the limited available time to be very efficient with reduced-load sports.
I am in the Northern hemisphere (UK), but am racing in Florida in December, so it has also worked really well as I it followed my natural move towards indoor training this time of year.
I’m pleased to say that on my test events, I have set new running and 70.3 pb’s, I have been able to work off an average of 600 TSS per week since August (peak of 1000), and I have not been injured or ill (touch wood).
Once my race is over I will dig deeper into the format and see if I can share some insights. I also want to try this method with a coached athlete to expand the data pool greater than 1…!


I’m trying 80:20 this season.

Doing all the long easy rides outside using only HR.
Doing the short hard workouts on TR by just grabbing from the workouts that are already in the system.

Be much better if there was a TR 80:20 plan option for workouts but is what it is.


I’m currently following 80/20. Doing the same as @sinbad, designing my own. Low intensity rides outdoors and indoors. Augment about 1x per week with a TR VO2max or threshold workout. It would be easier if TR had a polarized plan.

I may transition to TRs usual Sweet Spot plans at some point next year, for specificity reasons i.e. to get rides under my belt at sweet spot intensity.


There are several threads about this. My recommendation would be to post in here: My Polarized Training Experience (Chad McNeese & others)


We sure can add there. I can edit the title to remove my name, if appropriate.

It’s probably time for a merged thread, if that function works in a decent way.

We discussed that option a bit in the other 80/20 thread. Pros and Cons to merging.

For now, we are using the recently created “polarized” Tag along with the “Training” Category.

In this case, since it leans towards “bike” discussion (as opposed to full tri) and this thread is still very short, I think future comments could be shifted to my original thread.

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Would be really keen to try a 80/20 or Polarised plan if it was on TR. Seems to be a fair bit of interest here on the forums as well, wonder if TR and Coach Chad has plans for this at all?


My gut says ‘no plans coming’, but I may be wrong.

We will have a better idea once we hear their big data and training deep dive podcast. Its is said to address 80/20 and lots more.

Based on hints and other parallel discussion on the cast, I expect they feel their approach is more successful for a broader range of TR users. 80/20 can and does work, but I think it’s a different range of rider that doesn’t typically fall under the TR umbrella of “time-crunched”.

Again, all speculation from me with. No inside info and I am probably totally wrong :stuck_out_tongue:


General thoughts…I’m not a coach but, if I were I would say for cycling:

-Still periodize.
-Use 80/20 in the build phase.
-Specificity to your event is important.

For the most part the build phase I’m doing minus the SST is basically POL. If I do the most VO2max oriented workouts each week and one long ride outside zone 2 or less I’m fulfilling the model.

I skied for the University of Colorado back in the day and the nordic guys were doing this long before POL became a buzzword term. Some (even alpine guys) moved on to triathlon. What I can’t recall is if they reversed periodized their training. I was shocked at how much time they spent at the track doing interval work! I worked in the athletic department for a couple years and my office was right next to the track. When these guys went hard they emptied the tank!

edit: just to add, I think the TR ramp test is a higher enough number compared to an actual blood lactate number that even the TR SST work is fine with me. It probably falls in Dr. Seiler’s zone 3.


Whilst I’d like to stay within the TR ecosystem I think Polarised training is almost putting a finger in the eye of a lot of training packages and coaches. Whilst I’ve not doubt TR works for many people one of the benefits of training polarised is that pretty much anyone can create 6-8 weeks worth of training. Mainly because let’s say you are training 5 days per week and some way away from any events, 4 of those days will be easy and 1 will be hard, the 4 easy ones just involve riding at a low wattage, then you just need to come up with an interval session (not hard!!) and workout the best order of the training days.

Where I think TR is good is that if you are following one of the plans the sessions are put together really nicely, the intended benefits are indicated and from what I can tell they factor in recovery quite well.


I think they should add a POL plan. And then let individual users choose the plan that works best for them.

I’d be a little disappointed if they felt compelled to “take a side” on the POL vs SS debate, as the reality is that both can work, depending on the rider, and time in the season. Even if SS works better for the majority of riders, that would not negate the value of POL for other riders.

As it is now, I have to create my own POL plan vs following something TR creates. From a business perspective, if I’m TR, I’d want all my users following a plan within the TR ecosystem vs following their own plan.


I fully believe that they know both can work. I don’t see this as a “sides” issue.

It’s more an issue of time required to create and manage the plans.

Many of the new features face 2.5 tests.

  1. Will this make you faster?
    • I think the clear answer with POL is ‘yes’.
  2. How much work work/effort will it take to implement & how many users will benefit?
    • In this sense, I have no idea how much time it would take Coach Chad to make the plans. It would likely start with Base and I don’t know if it would go into Build and Specialty? Not to mention the possibility of needing multiple volume levels. It could snowball into a large set of work.
    • Then they need to consider how many users will access these plans.
    • It’s essentially an ROI calculation on payback. I don’t claim to know one way or the other, but I think it is necessary for them to consider.

To repeat, all this is speculation on my part and I am quite likely to be wrong. :stuck_out_tongue:


The question on the table if I worked at TR - put time & energy into polarized or something else… tri plan upgrades, tweaking existing plans like recent SSB-2-MV, or put all efforts into machine learning (ML) to semi-customize for an individual.

My money is on ML and adapting plans for the athlete.


I think it is quite likely they are headed in the “Performance Coaching” direction as the next ‘leg’ of the product, and expect it will be ML based.

Seems possible based on the recent focus and comments from Nate and the rest via the cast and some related comments from other TR folks in various threads.


I don’t really see why a POL plan is needed. Not much to be planned in this training model.

  1. Do a 60min all-out test (“just get over it” according to Seiler) to determine LT2
  2. Do a nose-breathing test to determine LT1
  3. Take your weekly number of training days, do 20% of them with sessions hitting >LT2. Fill the rest with easy riding <LT1
    Take your weekly training hours, train 10% >LT2, fill the rest with <LT1

According to Seiler it does not really matter so much how you do these >LT2 workouts, as long as you’re doing them.

That’s it. No periodisation, simply repeat this pattern forever. Take a rest week if needed. Polarized training.


Yep - this is an area I’d love to see them develop. It’ll be difficult though, as there are a lot of variables to account for. But it would really set them apart vs other training programs.

This could be a slight oversimplification, though I agree that at first glance, Seiler’s model is straight forward. In an interview with him, I believe I did hear him suggest that you can apply periodization to the model. So for base training, your Zone 1 efforts are low zone 1, and your zone 3 efforts are low zone 4 (e.g., Threshold), Zone 2 (sweet spot) still being virtually non-existent), but as you get to the Build phase, you move to the higher end of Zone 1 and the higher end of Zone 3 (VO2max, Anaerobic, etc), and your Zone 3 work starts to emulate what your race efforts will be. So theoretically we could create a nice little periodized and polarized training plan that introduces sort of a “slow boil” from Base to race day (Peak). I’m going to create one this weekend in fact, using TR workouts.

and what if your race efforts are not higher end z3?