Feedback Needed: Polarized Plan Questions for the Community

It feels to me that the way this unfolded, the team was being a little defensive. There were a bunch of attacks on TR for pushing programs with too much stress and not enough recovery. Their response seems to have been to record a rebuttal that they decided not to air, and then to try again the next week with that unusual format of Nate and Amber.

I read a bunch of social science research for work (not real science, but still), and the review articles are pretty tightly focused on two goals: establishing what we know, and suggesting a pathway to learn what we don’t. It might be me, but I took a lot of the discussion to be “we know less than people think about polarized training.” Full stop.

As I said initially, TR has a unique ability to advance research on training. I am sure they will want to keep some of this proprietary, but I would hope they will actively engage with researchers (and contribute some of their own research) to the field, given the remarkable database that they are using for ML. It seems to me the goal of their public scientific work should be to advance hypotheses then prove or disprove them. I didn’t see the show doing that, and I was disappointed.


When I add the high volume 6 week POL plan and select outside workouts most of them show an IF of 0…

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I think they mentioned in the thread announcing the release of them that they were still working on the outdoor versions of them. So I’m assuming that missing IF is simply that they aren’t 100% ready yet or that they indicate a bug.


Why is the an example of a wrong workout translation? IMO this is one of the few examples of a correct indoor to outdoor conversion for an endurance workout. Almost all the rest are between 50-100% longer when you switch to outdoors.


The increased duration of outside to inside is pretty much standard. Bear in mind the potential start stop nature of outside rides and the constant pedalling of indoor rides.

I would just follow the indoor stats and target time, and tss at endurance pace. No need for an outdoor workout. Some of the outdoor ones added a lot more tss.

Don’t think intervals are needed at all.

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Actually I believe it is based on where you ride.

Bear in mind it is possible to ride outside for 3+ hours without stopping, or worst case only a few minutes of stopping:

even less on this 3 hour outside ride:

Perkins -1 is basically “go outside and ride around 61% FTP for 2 hours with a short warmup and cool down”

That is likely a better approach for z2 / endurance rides. For example TR’s Pettit inside is 1h hour and 39 TSS. The outside version CLAIMS 39 TSS:

WRONG! That is FALSE because if you do it as instructed then its 52-71+ TSS

Taking Pettit from 39 TSS to 71+ TSS is a real possibility if you have little or no stopping. And @GeorgeAnderson I believe a near doubling of TSS is wrong in my opinion.


I don’t want to take this thread further off track but my opinion is that you should have <10% of your time coasting, stopped or in Z1 on endurance rides. In which case, I think you shouldn’t need to increase the duration on your ‘outside’ workout. Obviously if you live in the center of NYC then that might be different but if you do so much stopping or coasting that you need to add 50+% time to your rides then you either need to re-evaluate your course or have more discipline with keeping the pressure on the pedals.

As @iamholland said. For the endurance rides I think you should stick to the general power target and ride until you hit the TSS target. And that required ride time should be very close to the original ‘indoor’ ride time


I am excited about the new polarized training plans. I am 59 years old and most of the older athletes I have talked to, modify their TR workout plans to increase their recovery. I am really excited about the time when the staff are able to extend the daily plan modification to the polarized training plans, and would be a willing guinea pig to help develop this @Nate_Pearson! As a 59 year old athlete with some health problems now, my recovery times are slower, and not as consistent. I agree with some of the comments above, that when you are use to using a PM for training outside, endurance riding becomes very consistent and usually is very consistent with the indoor TSS scores/times. It would be really nice to be able to send the inside workout to the Garmin, so that I didn’t have to do it manually before going for an outdoor ride, or virtual world ride.


People have been asking for a deep dive into polarized training for years, way before the Dylan Johnson video. They finally did one and the conclusion that I drew was that the evidence base is small, especially in cyclists but that it is a promising TID that may help some people in some circumstances. I don’t find that defensive at all.

Secondly they have not only introduced Polarized plans to their product, they have developed a technology that can leverage their database to determine if they work in comparison to other approaches like pyramidal or threshold TIDs. They are not a research facility and nobody is paying them to do research as far as I know. Given the above, if you don’t think they are doing enough to make sure their product works then I have to say I am surprised.


Yes, but the study he performed was just to try and validate why the athletes he studies tended to do longer intervals as opposed to the intermittent shorter intervals. Seiler is basically only a coach to his daughter, and is studying results of athletes who were performing intervals other than 4xY minutes. I’m not really complaining here though just an FYI. Don’t forget one of the most often quoted interval sessions he talks about is a guy doing 6x10’s a significant number of times in his olympic year preparation. Longer intervals tend to have more elapsed time ~ 90% HR and he suggests that is the main driver of the polarized model fitness gains.

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Who is Seiler?

He is the guy who help identify Polarized training via his research and shared the info around that helped drive the interest in it via many different channels and podcasts.


We’ve officially come full circle


Just looked a Dylan Johnson video about that. Very interesting.

Unfortunately the polarized plans are just available with the webinterface. On iOS its not available.
Are the TR Plans for polarized training good or do you have some better?

  • You can use a web page to apply the desired plan to you calendar, and should be able to run the workouts via iOS like any other training plan.

Well I am all in on this.
Have cancelled my coaching and am starting 8 week HV next week.
I will be following the plan as closely as possible - especially the THR and VO2 workouts, however
I am used to doing higher TSS than even the HV plan shows and more hours. Therefore I will be doing a mixture of increasing effort on such rides as Petit (from 60-65% to 70-75%) as well as extending duration of workouts.

My longer term plans include doing longer rides and next week I had planned my first 100 miler of the year. I also planned a half Everest effort (indoors) towards the end of April. I will still ride those but ensure I stay in Z1 as much as possible.

I have read/listened to most things Seiler for the past year and I really think it will suit my cycle training aims.

As far as ATA I only see that as icing on the cake. I call that Xert on steroids.


That depends. Structured training in any form will lead to improvements in fitness. Polarized plans have less intensity per time, so they may be better for athletes who cannot handle or do not want as much intensity.

TrainerRoad’s polarized plans are an experiment to find out the efficacy of polarized plans compared to TrainerRoad’s usual plans. Note that officially polarized plans are only meant to replace base and build plans, but not specialty. If you are interested, just go ahead and try.

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Something very interesting here… Ive just finished reading the running book and am 90% through the triathlon book and Matt fitzgerald writes decent stuff.

If the vid doesn’t start at the right “mark” its around 16’30"

He basically explains that its a framework thats made to put limiters… I didnt listen to all of it, but it was posted in the 80/20 group i joined and thought id share!

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@Nate_Pearson, curious whether part of the issue with people saying hte build plans are “too hard” is actually that for some people they are too long.

Like maybe the training density per week is fine, but after 8 weeks build people are hitting a peak and after 4 weeks specialty they are well on their way back down with fatigue instead of raring to go.

I think polarized plans are a great addition–these will be perfect for in-season doing a weekly series every weekend–but maybe another big improvement could be just to (i) let people specify (within boundaries) the duration of build and/or (ii) specify the load/recovery cycle (to be able to move from 3 weeks on to 2 weeks on.

I mean intuitively it makes sense to consider training density in conjunction with duration, right? Becuase for example maybe you could actually complete FIVE interval sessions in a week . . . but only for one week.