Best Way to Raise FTP, Pro Nutrition, Strava Segments and More – Ask a Cycling Coach 296

This is one of the best posts I’ve seen on this forum. Pro cyclist - all the time in the world to train , Mr and Mrs family person - limited time, limited recovery in fact limited everything because they have so many other distractions.

There is no one way to train and you will never know which way is better because once you’ve done it one way if you then change to another method that 2nd way is affected by the first.


On 8 hours a week doing polarisation is going to see your CTL plummet and there’s not a chance you’re going to get fitter. Do I know this for 100%? No I don’t but everything I’ve learnt over the last 30 years of reading about training and sports science would suggest this is one surefire way to becoming a slower rider.

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somebody should have told dr seiler that CTL will go down, i’m sure if he’d considered that then his views woudl be different


You’ve totally missed my point but that’s fine.

And likewise you’re missing mine but that’s also fine

And then today we see this:

And I asked Keegan on Strava if that was a toaster strudel because they never looked that good in the 80s… and he told me it was homemade by Sofia Gomez Villagane : Where did you ride OUTSIDE today (2021) - #120 by bbarrera

So @Nate_Pearson can you get the recipe? :grin:


Go on then, you go first, what is your point?

Okay fair enough.

My point is—and this is not to say that experienced practitioners in the field can’t be wrong, but—if you believe one of them is recommending a course that will in all cases make an athlete slower and less fit, then I would suggest as a first step you examine what unstated premises you might be relying on. Specifically here, probably an assumed rigidity of application and use case.

I apologize for the sarcasm though, that was not appropriate or helpful.

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This whole post is assuming you have faith in the Coogan metrics :wink: and I’m referring to the statement about someone with 8 hours available should train polarised.

From my understanding of what he says, and I’ve listened to pretty much every podcast he’s ever been on, is that the bulk of sessions/training time (80%) need to be done at a very low HR so to achieve this you will inevitably be riding at very low Wattages, at least initially.
Clearly if you have endless time you can achieve reasonable TSS this way but to say that people who have only 8 hours to train ought to train in a polarised way is surely inevitably only going to lead to one thing… getting slower.

Then again CTL etc isn’t the be all and end all of training, so what if your CTL plummets, if you’re rested enough to beast your 4 x 8s at 110% FTP a few times a week then who knows where it will get you.

Bandit said it already, if you want to get fitter, in general, you need to do more volume at lower intensity, people with 8 hours a week clearly don’t have this time available.

I can’t recall him ever saying this ref people with only 8 hours to train by the way, where did this come from?

Ah okay.

So I do not know if I heard a podcast with that exact statement, but I do remember a podcast—could have been fast talk—where they discuss what polarized means for average athletes with a job, family or other time constraints. They said they thought people like this could benefit, and then described a use case of a time crunched cyclist who does all their rides somewhat hard but who has plateaued. It was basically that you can hit a point where you need more quality but you’re too tired to do it unless you get more disciplined about the easy days.

This suggests to me that it was not a blanket statement at all but rather would depend on circumstances, and that 80/20, which was mostly descriptive anyway, would not be rigidly applied.

Like here’s my guess. I bet if you had four days to train and you were no longer improving on SSB and you asked a coach who subscribes to the philosophy what to do, I bet he or she’d say do two very hard days, a very easy day anf a long day and see what happens. It’s not 80/20 but as someone else noted it’s got the passive rest built in

Message Sofia on IG, I bet she will respond!


I don’t FB or Insta so if anyone does please ask!

Just back from a shopping trip and picked up some Trader Joe’s Cherry Pomegranate Organic Toaster Pastries and here is the ingredient list and nutritional info:

What, no breakdown on carb/sugar ratios?!

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Define what you mean by “very low HR”. That 80% is supposed to be done below the first threshold. My resting HR is under 50 when I’m fresh and my first threshold is ~145bpm. I don’t consider that “very low HR”.

Hi, I think the one issue was missed or not highlighted enough (or maybe I wasn’t listening carefully :slight_smile: ) during the discussion about the pros training in tempo/sweet spot, especially when it comes to pro road racers - RACING.

Pro road racers on World Tour or Pro Continental level usually have around 60-90 racing days in a year (sometimes even more, of course in 2020 season it was a bit less) and racing definitelly consists of a lot of tempo/sweet spot intensity. So even If they (hypothetically) train in a strict polarised model the rest of the year, they get their fair share of moderate intensity during the racing season. Of course the amount of z3-4 riding may differ depending on they role in the team, but that also changes during the season and often you can see “leaders” riding as domestiques in early races for example - seems like a great way to get some sweet spot training.

There is of course a lot of “it depends” :slight_smile: but I personally think that this approach, to have blocks of more polarised training mixed with blocks of more moderate intensity, can be very effective, both for pros and amateurs. We don’t have to go 100% one way or the other.

Anyways, great episode, cheers.

I have a suspicion that for this episode the TR crew had a heads-up that there was some “feedback” incoming.

Interesting applying the comments @Nate_Pearson made about giving and receiving feedback to a certain other forum topic. I might have to listen again to that section of the podcast. :slight_smile:


I asked Sofia on Instagram, and she was more than happy to provide the recipe:

It’s the first recipe. She recommended watching the video tutorial that’s on there, and I have. If you’ve made pastry dough before it doesn’t look too bad. Sofia said the dough comes together really easily, and the folding process was easier than she expected. I will probably try these sometime in the near future, but it may take me a little bit.


He mentions it briefly at around the 53min mark here: Fast Talk, ep. 54: Applying the polarized model, with Dr. Stephen Seiler by VeloNews | Velo News | Free Listening on SoundCloud

Thanks I’ll try to catch up on it later

That’s not the one I remember, I was just listening to this earlier and he mentioned it again. Another key takeaway I got was when he said “power at LT1 is a better predictor of elite performance than FTP”.

I just caught this via FB feed. Could be done in your own preferred mix and form factor.