In my opinion, the LV polarized plane doesn’t have enough Z2 volume.
The origination of the polarized “revolution” - if you will - started with Stephen Seiler observing the training habits of world class Nordic skiers. Meaning, athletes that were training greater than 20 hours a week.
In my opinion - and I am not an expert, a physiologist or a coach - you need to have a couple 2+ hour rides per week to glean a big benefit using this method. I also think you probably need to train >9 hours a week as well.
This is just my opinion and it is gleaned from working with coaches who are more or less polarized, and listening to almost every podcast that exists on this topic.
Can be a frustrating topic for sure. I’ve had this same question. I’ve heard anywhere from 6+ to gain benefit
From this approach to 12-20. I’ve kind of thought those 1 hour Z2 workouts would be better as SS.
I think the biggest gain on doing the shorter ones was just for consistency’s sake and maybe some clearing of the legs? I think that’s what I took from the explanation
I did about 2 months of almost all upper zone 2 riding and running leading up to an IM 70.3 this year. In 2 months I pushed my power at around 132 bpm (my upper limit for endurance) up over 20 watts, which helped me to set a PR (by 34 minutes!). I was questioning the coach the whole time, thinking “I don’t have enough intensity.” Polarized and lower intensity definitely has its place. My advice would be to only do “easy” rides based on heart rate and push the upper limit of your endurance zone (but don’t go over). If I had held my endurance based on power I probably would have left a lot of gains on the table.
I maxed out at 10 hours/week of combined swim, bike and run.
One thing I’ve never heard mentioned (and wondered about many times) is that, from memory, many TR interval workouts I used to do averaged out across the 60-90mins at Z2!!!
In fact, it’s almost as if they were designed that way (no idea if they were).
So actually, your workload from a kj standpoint is identical.
And indeed, framing it like that makes sense of how raising your aerobic threshold during Z2 training gives you a higher “mass” of watts to share out amongst your chosen HI interval sessions.
For the outside ones, it’s a 90 min workout before I turn around then I’m in z1 - z2 mostly as the return leg is mostly gently sloping down. So it’s 90mins for TR and about 150 all in.
If I want longer I can go further and do some loops around a reservoir but cos I live in a very hilly area there’s going to be a few z6 efforts heading upwards.
It would be pretty much this ride each time I want to z2 outside.
Sorry I don’t have TR subscription and can’t see your ride. I’ll make an assumption and simplify by saying you target 2.5 hours (150 minutes) of endurance riding, at something like 50-75% FTP. Correct? How many times/week? One complication is TR AT will customize the target %, and endurance rides are primarily about logging hours at relatively low intensity. Think ranges and not a specific % FTP.
The key point is you should be thinking of riding as steady as possible and within a range. FWIW my endurance target is 180-215W or 128-142bpm but its not a problem if I end up doing 170W average or pulling it down to 150W average if its really hot outside. I never worry about short punchy efforts to get over a steep hill.
Fort the last 2 years my training weeks have been built around a 2 to 2.5 hour mid-week endurance ride, and a longer 2-5 hour weekend endurance ride. My interval days also have a lot of endurance. It works.
I’m then logged out of the forum and have to login. Did it twice in case something changed, but it still works the same. Good times.
Adaptations in the muscles are primarily from muscle contractions, and not intensity. Similar with the heart, you need to get above resting HR in order for the heart to more forcefully pump at low intensity (improve stroke volume).
There is a floor, otherwise sitting at a desk would get you aerobic fitness. There is also the concept of focused work around the transition where you go from primarily burning fat to burning fat/carbs. And stressing type 2 muscle fibers to become more aerobic. And strain/recovery. These are all discussion topics after you consistently are putting down endurance hours every week.
I respond to volume. Recently did an HC climb after a couple days not feeling well. Here is 5100 feet of climbing with only 100 feet of descending, it was literally straight uphill for 4+ hours and I just wanted to get the work done without worrying about hitting the 180-215W target (in green on chart below) in plain sight on my Garmin:
lots of z1 power, from the past I knew that length of time and relatively low cadence were going to deliver adaptations. Sure enough, within 10 days I was already seeing adaptations and highest power-to-HR of the year on my two hour Tuesday ride (and it was very warm on that day). And last week (about 4 weeks after the climb), I hit all-time power-to-HR on a 2 hour endurance ride in the gym, partly because the average temp in gym was around 65 degrees / 18C and a LOT lower than my usual 80-100F / 27-38C outside summer rides.