Feedback Needed: Polarized Plan Questions for the Community

I think there are 2000+ messages on the forum debating what Polarized actually is.

There’s no book about what it is, and Seiler has said contradicting things on podcasts and in research. Our goal is to make these new POL plans as close to Seiler’s recent recommendations as possible.

There are some things that can’t happen. IE 80/20 workout distribution with 90/10 TIZ is not possible in a 3.5-hour plan. That would only give you two hard workouts over three weeks, and thus you’d have a week with zero Z3 work.

This leaves us in a tricky situation. We know there will be much debate over these plans so I wanted to share some principles right now that we’re following and get feedback from the community.

8 Week - with recovery every 4th week
6 week - with recovery on the 6th week

The 6-week plan is made to slot into the “base” phase and replaces a plan there. We have a choice; should we have the recovery week on the 6th week or go 2:1 then 2:1 for recovery? We could also just drop the 6-week plan and only offer the 8-week plan.

Workout Intensity Distribution
Low Volume - One Z3 per week
Mid/High Volume - Two Z3 per week

Long Ride
The plans have an escalating long ride on Sunday. (except for low volume 6 week due to time constraints)

6 Week Plan Max Ride
Low Volume - 1.5 Hours
Mid Volume - 3 hours
High Volume - 4 hours

8 Week Plan Max Ride
Low Volume - 3 hours
Mid Volume - 4 hours
High Volume - 5 hours

Workout Type
We stick to the 4/8/16 interval length recommendation from Seiler. He’s mentioned two minutes rest between intervals before but has said if that’s not enough just take more.

Our workouts are built in terms of Adaptive Training and we’ve built lots of them to help fill in the levels to meet you where you are at.

There is a stepped warm-up with a couple of minutes in Z2. This is the only time you’ll touch Z2.


What do ya’ll think of this structure? What do you think of the 6 week work/recovery ratio?

**Note: The plans that some people saw early are not the POL plans I’m talking about here. We haven’t released anything yet.


Could you provide an example.of a week or 2 of proposed workouts?

This is our internal system so it’s not meant to be shared. And note…it doesn’t look pretty.


Personally, I’d like to see the 6 week plan include a recovery week every 3rd week (2:1, then 2:1). Just my 2 cents worth.


We could also keep the low volume be 5:1 then have mid/high be 2:1.


I think that would be a great way to do it.


I’m no expert on polarized plans, but TR’s initial plan seems very reasonable.

In SSB mid and high volume the 6 week cycle is maybe too long, at least for some people. I know that for me, I find most of the SSB workouts very manageable, but I’m tired by the end of SSBMV2. Part of the reason I’d like to try a polarized model is to see if fatigue accumulates in the same way (my understanding is that, in theory, it should not).

Also, I like the idea of slightly different base and build plans in the polarized plans. Maybe it’s total BS, but conceptually I like the idea that I’d be progressing from one phase of training to the next with a slightly different focus, so adopting a slightly different training regime is appealing.


It would be clever if the ML/AI could find if a rider can handle 1, 2 or 3 intensity days per week and also vary the work:rest week ration from 2:1, 3:1, 4:1 etc to optimize for individuals. Big ask but I know 40 year old me could do 3:1 with 3-4 days a week hard and 55 year old me is more like 2-3 days and 2:1 or 3:1 for best results. 25 year old me laughs at the older versions.

Personally… although not P/p olarized dogma… I would do a general plan with VO2 work Tuesday, high SST to threshold work Thursday and two long rides Sat / Sun. Make Saturday a third optional intensity day (SST or more 105%).

Plans like that could be run for long periods.


p.s. Very excited about the new plans that were leaked. They look like strong foundation to build on. Nice evolution.


One suggestion - is it possible to have plans that depend on how many hours people have to train per week? Maybe, instead of having low/mid/high volume plans, you could provide 4/6/8/10/12 hour plans?

The intuition behind it is - if I have 9 hours per week to train, and mid volume is 7 and high volume is 10 hours, I have to fall back to “mid volume” and start tinkering with it, potentially screwing up the intent behind the original plan. And if I stay with mid volume as-is, I know for sure it is not optimal for me given my constraints.


You could also build them 5:1 but with text for week 3 advising users to substitute the week 6 (recovery) plan if they feel they need it.

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We’re trying to figure that out with ML. But for these plans, we just want to do what Seiler suggests and get a solid feed of data.


That’s not in our system yet, but it’ sin our plan.

The ideal way would be “How much time do you have per day to train, then ML figures out what is BEST for you to train.”

IE just because you can train 5 hours doesn’t mean you should do a 5 hour ride.


Very fair.

Would it be fair to say in near term the ML/AI will help optimize within a block (say Base/Build/Speciality) with a longer term goal of optimizing for linking blocks together towards multiple user defined goals over long periods?

Can take that off line, somewhere else or not at all :slight_smile:

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arm chair quarterbacking
back seat driving
philosophical ramblings

Low Volume is 3 workouts and 3.5 hours a week IIUC. It is my personal opinion that polarized approach needs 5-6 hours/week minimum. Given that opinion, 3.5 hours a week is perhaps best done as 2 hard 45-minute mid-week workouts and hopefully (assuming Mon-Fri work week) a longer inside/outside ride on the weekend.

Which looks nothing like polarized and therefore might be considered unhelpful and feel free to toss out my feedback.


This seems doable… Is this mid volume like?

While doing run/bike i like the 5 week cycles where I do 4 week and then a lower intensity similar volume recovery week then repeat… Son a 9 to 10 week sessiona seems to work for me… Or maybe 5 week sessions…

That is high volume.


This is just my experience but if I’m only doing ~4hrs per week & only 1 workout is a ‘polarized zone 3’ workout…and you asked me where in a 6 week meso should we put the recovery week I’d say week 7.

I’d be really into that 1/wk hard workout. You wouldn’t be able to yank me off the scent.

That’s part of the charm of the approach. I get 0.86 weeks of recovery for every 0.14 weeks of hard work.


If I’m interpreting the model correctly, HV would mean recovery every 6th week?

I can’t speak for others in the 50+ age group but…I’d be happy with a 10-12h/week (maybe even an hour or two more on the last week before the rest week), so I’m guessing that is a HV plan. However, those of us well north of fifty would probably agree that a rest week would be useful after maximum of a four week block of work.

In other words, just because one is good with high volume, it doesn’t necessarily mean that recovery weeks every 6th week are ideal.


To clarify, this debate of 5:1 or 2:1 rest:work only applies to the 6-Week Polarized Plan, not the 8-Week Polarized Plan.


Have you guys reached out to Seiler to get his input or asked to collaborate with/commission him to build something? I think that would be awesome!