My experience with TR POL plans

I am all in on trying the new Polarized plans.
I 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 extended 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 am hoping that others who have already started on the new POL plans or are about to would like to contribute.

Note, I am taking the plans as they are. I am not interested in whether they are exactly what Seiler may have been thinking of or whether we should do 30/30s for the VO2 workouts. There are plenty of threads available for those discussions.

Hopefully I will get a response and if it sounds worthwhile I will post a brief summary of my age, training history and what I might call my KPI’s with which I will monitor improvements (hopefully). I am very interested in hearing the same from others.

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What is your goal in doing the POL plans?

I want to build endurance up so that I can do longer rides (5-10 hours) with a lower heart rate and become more efficient.
However a parallel goal is that I actually like training and having a plan to work with.
I want to become more efficient in my cycling at the lower end and to improve my top end. Two goals this season (target time July and September) are to beat my best times for a 50 and a 100 mile time-trial. However they are incidental to my longer term aim of going longer.

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but you are not doing Pettit as it is, and adding TSS? :joy: Sorry, couldn’t help myself, rhetorical question. No need to answer.

Experimental plans for the win! :rofl: Just kidding.

Seriously good luck and don’t be afraid of making adjustments and not ‘taking the plans as they are.’

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Totally agree with that point. I considered saying that a few times. However that is my intention and I might as well be upfront with it. I am not changing the plan as such, in fact for the Z3 workouts I will be adhering to them exactly.
I have the time and the desire to spend 10-13 hours per week and I currently aim for 560 TSS a week. I am not changing anything dramatically.

If you are going to increase % FTP on Pettit you might as well start making changes to the HIIT portion :thinking:

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If your goal is more TSS the answer is longer z2 not more intensity. If all your z2 becomes tempo… you’re going to have a bad time.

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^^^ this

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Upping the intensity of Petit is basically going to ‘unpolarize’ the plan, as that is adding time in Z2 that is deliberately minimized in polarized plans.

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Yep agree with what everyone else is saying on Pettit, if you want to do more add more z2 not more intensity. Do update us on how it goes though, it will be interesting to see how someone does on it.

In addition to avoiding bumping the intensity - if you do add more z2, you also need to add more HIT, or you’ll be shifting the polarized distribution.

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Point taken on Petitt.

Purely out of curiosity, why would you cancel your coach in favour of an experimental plan? Were you not getting expected results?

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These are the reasons I gave him. I was with him 4 months.

  1. I have been off work all the time I have been with you and even the last 6 weeks I have had a lot of holidays to take. That made training reasonably practical. After Easter I will be full time for a period until I retire, probably end of May. I really do not want to start stressing about getting every session in.

  2. I was planning to re-evaluate in May/June anyway.

  3. TrainerRoad have brought out polarised plans which I think will suit me really well.

  4. I have always rated Xert and the way it recommends sessions. TrainerRoad are bringing out out an Adaptive Training Advisor, which will be like Xert on steroids. Well it could be

  5. Personally I find a coach works well for me over the winter period when I am dedicated to be on the trainer and I have less other commitments.

Finally, in a bizarre co-incidence, after sending the coach my email, a couple of days later he suddenly became unavailable (to all his cyclists not just me). I dont know the details yet but clearly something serious. So to my mind everything comes together.

Re the experimental aspect. It is hardly leading edge science is it. There is not room for massive margins of error. I am 64 years old. Maybe not training 100% optimally (if the plans turn out to be sub-optimal) might not be the best thing but I doubt my cycling future will be affected by it.

I am not sure I get this Toyman, EricVH and others who have commented. TR POL Z1 is categorised as 50-79% of FTP. I have never suggested going above that range. I stated I will be doing a mixture of increasing effort on such rides as Petit (from 60-65% to 70-75%) and/or increasing the length of them with the extend workout option if I am indoors.

That to me says that even though you do more tss at the moment, maybe give the unaltered TR plan a go, before thinking of adding more to it.

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I don’t know where they got 79% as being the top of zone 1 (ie LT 1), as that seems quite high. For me LT1 is more like 60-65% of FTP. This does vary a lot per individual, but based on both my experience as well as lots of listening/reading on Polarized training I don’t think that 79% of FTP is a good ‘rule of thumb’ as an estimation of LT1.

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From confusion with Seiler and his wishy washy association with numbers, and people’s desire to have a rigid guide.

Seiler said up to 80% for 1hr power. 1hr power != FTP. People always conflate FTP and 1hr power. Unless people’s TTE @ FTP is 1hr, then it’s not what Seiler is saying. For most people 1hr power will be less than FTP, especially if you just use the ramp test.

He also said that for all practical purposes the working % will be considerably lower. I believe he also intimated it is best to go with HR for that. Lots of rambling in various interviews, and hosts injecting their own thinking into it as well.

FWIW, I’m pretty sure my LT1 is a good bit below 80% FTP.

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Well I guess we’re all different as my LTP sits at around 78% of my 1hr FTP.

Yeah, I’ve heard a number of those imprecise statements on podcasts from him as well. However, what I think is clear and specific is definition of the zones in the papers and other written presentations, is that the breakpoints between the zones are LT1 and LT2, not some ‘arbitrary’ percentages of LT2 or VO2max. These real, physiological breakpoints define the zones.

From a practical point of view, people need/want more specific guidance that that, as without further guidance saying ‘ride below LT1’ is not that helpful. If the TR plans say that <80% FTP is zone 1 (ie they are claiming that 80% FTP is a good estimation of LT1) then I’m quite disappointed, and certainly won’t be following that aspect of them myself. If I had to pick numbers based on my experience, z1 would be about 50-65% FTP. Yes, that is really easy, as Z1 is supposed to be.