Base/long-term training efficiency - research, science, biomarkers other than max 5/20/60 min effort


TL;DR; Is there any research focusing on biomarkers that are not maximum 5/20/60-min effort? A research focused more on long-term, base-fitness-like criteria. Something in our body that “sticks for longer”, raises our ceiling, something that explains why doing base actually helps?

Longer discussion:

I read the thread about polarized vs pyramidal vs sweet spot (Polarized Training vs. Sweet Spot (Dylan Johnson video) - #329 by Captain_Doughnutman) and I think there’s a danger that we’re comparing apples to oranges. Look:

  1. Research clearly says that pyramidal/polarized training is better than sweet spot / z2 base. But…
  2. It says so based on the “success criteria” which is max 5/20/60 min effort, etc. But…
  3. Is it really the best way to measure training efficiency? In high season, when we compete - YES. It’s all about highest output. Going only z2 or only sweetspot without touching high-intensity work at all seems very doubtful training strategy near racing time (isn’t that obvious?). But…
  4. What about off-season? Or pre-season? If our only “success criterium” was max 40 min effort then taking 2 weeks off in October wouldn’t make any sense. It will leave literally everyone’s 40 min effort worse. Same with doing only long z2 rides without intensity. However…
  5. In the long run it’s obvious that it helps. It’s what coaches suggest, what pros do etc. So basically they do the OPPOSITE of what they should do to max their 40 min effort. Why?
  6. Because it will make then stronger NEXT YEAR. It won’t make them stronger in 1, 2, or even 3 months time.
  7. And that’s the point I’m trying to make. When it’s December or January and I’m racing in July and August, it doesn’t matter for me if polarized will leave me with higher FTP than sweetspot in March. I know it will.. But it’s not the goal. The metric (best 5/20/60 min time) is what is wrong.
  8. What if sweetspot leaves me with worse FTP than polarized in March, but in June sweetspot+polarized will leave me with better FTP than polarized+polarized?
  9. Most coaches suggest that changing stimulus is great for the body. So maybe (MAYBE - I don’t know that) sweetspot doesn’t give better FTP bump than polarized, but sst-pol-sst-pol variation is still better long-term than pol-pol-pol-pol?

Is there any research trying to focus on this?

Is there any research trying to focus on other biomarkers than 5/20/60 min max effort? Some biomarkers that are more long-term, more “base-fitness-oriented”? Something that can tell us that our bodies are getting stronger and can predict that our ceiling actually got higher without focusing on the ceiling right now? It seems that it’s easy to find research that tells us how to get to the max form short-term (months). How about long-term (years)?

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