My experience with TR POL plans

Nice gains. What volume were you doing previously?

I’ve just started SSBLV2 and thinking of swapping it for the polarised plan. The thing is though, that on weekends I like to get out and ride. No intervals, just a social ride generally hard and could be anywhere from 60 minutes to four hours. I’m assuming this doesn’t align with the polarised aspect of the plan, but has anyone got any advice/experience with this? Will it greatly affect the outcome?
I like to stick with low volume so I can fit in a couple of these rides a week.

I guess as long as the extra rides don’t diminish the quality of the hard rides there s no problem.
The only problem is: how do you really know for sure if they don’t :stuck_out_tongue:

Just play it by ear - if the weekend ride one week is longer and has more hard efforts, then call it one of your ‘hard’ days and drop one of the interval sessions. If its an easier ride or longer endurance pace then just make sure you have sufficient recovery before your next hard interval day.

I think the problem comes if your social/group rides start to become 3-4 times a week and you lose both the steady aerobic endurance rides AND the higher intensity hard days. Then everything becomes a fudge in the middle - that may or may not work for you, but it wont be polarised in any sense of word.

1 Like

Thanks, after thinking about it a bit more, I think I’ll stick with sweet spot low volume and then add in endurance rides if I want extra time on the trainer and keep the outside rides for fun.

I posted this over on the Polarised Plan announcement thread.

OK, here’s my thoughts on the Polarised Plans. They just happened to come along before I finished my last Plan Builder assigned progression. I was starting to get a little jaded with that if truth be told, after all I’d been doing some variation of Low Volume Sweet Spot Base and various Build plans since October 2019 (all hail the Covid lockdowns!) so something new would be of help.

I went with the Mid Volume plans, six week then eight week. The reason for “stepping up” from LV wasn’t so much that I was fitter (I was) but that my LV plans invariably included longer weekend rides so I was really swapping LV + unstructured/un-associated rides with an endurance ride associated with a workout.

I set all workouts to be outdoors. I began the plans in the first week of April just as the weather here in the UK was becoming drier if not warmer - we’ve had one of the coldest springs in recent years. This raised its own problems in that I live in a hilly area, even the “flat” roads are anything but, “rolling” would be a better description. Not a problem with the endurance workouts but a bit of Strava detective work, i.e. looking at my times on various potential hills and I reckoned I could map workouts onto some of those. It’s surprising just how far you can go, even uphill, in sixteen minutes! Also the hills aren’t a steady grade, the one I chose for threshold intervals had 150m @ 20%, 200m @ 10%, 100m @25%, 800m @ 5%, etc. Pacing is a nightmare!

I haven’t done an FTP test in a while - I don’t seem to get on with the Ramp Test - but I have a good idea of how various workouts should feel and, yes, let’s be honest, I’d probably stagnated. The eFTP from intervals.icu was 5W lower than that obtained via one of the few good Ramp Tests I’ve done: 267W vs 272W. (When I started on TR back in Oct 2019, my FTP was 244W) Because of this I’ll use eFTP as a proxy since there were updates during the plans and it’s the one figure I have to compare over the period plus it’s always been within 5W of the TR figure.

One last point: I signed up for AT shortly after the announcement but only got added to the Closed Beta when I was one week into the eight week build plan. Since I’d added the plans manually rather than doing the use Plan Builder then swap out the plans method I decided to keep on with the Polarised Plan and ignore AT for the duration. I knew I wouldn’t get any adaptations but I wasn’t looking at going along that road at this time.

I found the endurance workouts very easy, in fact the hardest part was keeping the power down, this was in part due to the aforementioned rolling roads - keeping to 70% of FTP is rather tricky when you are faced with a 16% grade! Most of the time I just went for a ride and didn’t bother about the duration so a 2hr workout often ended up as a four hour ride. I often did these on my mountain bike which doesn’t have a power meter so I went by HR instead - I’ve a good idea of what pace/HR to do for 70% and Strava’s estimated power isn’t far off.

The threshold and VO2max workouts meant hill work. The first threshold workout, San Pedro, called for eight minute efforts - easy enough. My PB on the segment I used for the 16min threshold was 13;30 so slightly short of the duration required but pacing and using the next bit of road meant I was never much more than a minute short. The plan called for two repeats, then three the next week and four the week after that. After the last of these Intervals.icu bumped my eFTP to 272W, i.e. the same as from the Ramp Test. Here’s my notes from that workout (Bartlett Peak):

Pretty consistent with times and power on each lap/climb. A slight decline over the first three then a bigger drop to the fourth one. I think a fifth would have been really hard work so just right for where I’m at. The power levels were actually: 105%, 106%, 105%, 103%, so pushing into the bottom of VO2max territory - this is born out in intervals.icu which shows 24mins in that zone, so probably the intervals were really a set of over-unders. Looking at the power trace, they do look very over-under in nature, albeit with the overs at 117% and the unders at 90%, obviously dictated by the gradients and ramps of the climb.

VO2max is one of my weak points on the trainer - I possibly move the bike a lot and the fixed nature of the trainer means I can’t do that. Outside I’m a bit freer. My chosen hill for these varied between flat and maybe 5% but long enough that I could choose “flat then climb” or “climb then flat”. Again these worked well and I hit or exceeded the power targets repeatedly and consistently though 12 efforts over the same bit of road do tire somewhat!

I didn’t see any further improvements during the Base phase and the start of the Build phase was delayed slightly by a four day bikepacking trip in the south of England.

Build.

There’s a few common workouts in Base and Build and one of these, Mount Grant, saw my next increase in eFTP to 276W. The week after this saw a significant rise in eFTP to 291W. Here’s my ride notes:

Got an email from intervals.icu that my eFTP had risen to 291W because of this ride! It could well be right, my average power for the four climbs was 316W, 294W, 294W & 302W. The middle two definitely felt repeatable, with an FTP of 272W they would be at 108% whereas with a 291W they are at 101% - much more likely. Also I shouldn’t be able to ride for 15mins at 116% as with the first interval, again with a 291W FTP that drops to 108%.

There haven’t been any further improvements. The two plans though designated Base and Build are pretty much of a muchness so there’s not a lot to say about Build that hasn’t already been said about Base.

Overall the plans fitted in with work and the weather surprisingly well. I felt that targeting just two hard workouts a week was much easier than the three called for in the Sweet Spot LV plans and I could really focus on them.

One thing I have noticed: I suffer from cramps quite a lot but following the Polarised Plans I’ve been getting much fewer attacks. Not sure if it’s entirely related or just coincidence.

I’ve not manually bumped my FTP within TR but workouts on my latest plan do feel “easy” - I could have done another couple of sets of Ritter with no problem and Tunnabora’s Sweet Spot could have been twice as long without worrying me.

In conclusion. Do they work? A qualified yes from me. It’s a bit hard to tell if the improvements were because of the plans themselves or just that I needed a change. Certainly for summer they make a lot of sense with only short sessions of hard work with the rest of the time really being “just riding”.

11 Likes

Hi, everyone!

Has someone done bartlett peak?
I have it scheduled next week and It seems really tough. is it doable???:rofl::rofl::rofl:

if you think you can, or think you can’t…you’re right :wink:

2 Likes

Under ‘All Rides’, it has a 37% success rate.

Do the workout but do it at 98% instead of 102%. It’ll give you the same adaptations…well, probably more since you’ll actually complete it.

p.s. - love your avatar thingy!

3 Likes

Thanks for your advice!
I think i’ll do what you say

…and yes: i’m a biiiiig Tintín fan😅

I’ve done Bartlett Peak but did it (and all the Polarised Plan) outdoors so it doesn’t appear in the “My rides” or “All Rides” tabs. Tough but it’s more that the rests are just three minutes rather than the eight minutes of Mount Grant or Miller Peak which precede it in the progression.

1 Like

usually, I do all the workouts indoors since I don’t have a powermeter in my bike.
after lowering my ftp, and for the moment being, I’ve completed all of them. they were tough, that’s for shure; but I’ve managed to do them, nevertheless.

deseret, last week, was both physically and mentally hard, but I did it and felt that I could do another 16min threshold interval…i could do it, but I tell you that I was REALLY glad that I didn’t had to :rofl:

training indoors always feels harder that outdoors, at least for me…
the thing is that bartlett peak seems…i don’t know…maybe not following the difficulty progression in previous workouts? (more intensity and very short rests…)

1 Like

Several reasons for this, it’s normal.

1 Like

Just finished bartlett peak!

I followed your advice: very, very tough workout, mentally and physically, but It was doable: HR stabilized at around 90 percent of my Max cycling hr, which I think is a good average

Thanks a lot four your advice
@Captain_Doughnutman !!!

5 Likes

It’s me, again… :sweat_smile:

I turns out I always do a long group ride on the weekends (4-6 hours). It usually involves 2 or 3 long climbs and even if I try to keep intensity down, it never happens XD (i honestly try, but during long climbs, I usually go beyond my L1 threshold even if I take It easy)

I’m currently in the MV. Should I keep the same weekly structure and do both interval workouts? Should I swap one of the interval workouts for my long outdoor ride? In that case, which one? The VO2 ones or the threshold ones? I’m not training for any specific event; i just want to be a stronger Rider…and beat my friends XD

What would you guys do?
Glad to read your thoughts on this!

…or…change to low volume and fill the resto of the Days with Z1 rides?

I posted my thoughts about intensity for Polarised training, which other might like to consider. I certainly welcome feedback.

Simple Question really :grin:

Have anyone gone thru polarized Base and build?
Did you use it thru plan builder and adaptive training?
What was your outcome? Higer FTP?
Higher zon “1” power with lower heartrate?

Other?

See post #85 above.

Basically:

yes
no and no
Yes, went from 272 to 292.
Hard to say, I did them all outdoors and I’m very endurance orientated (think 12hr+ rides)

Funny John,

I’ve wondered for years why anybody would need a plan to train in a polarized manner.

Ride Z1 a lot. Do two hard sessions per week. These do not actually have to be V02 Max sessions by the way.

How hard is that to remember?

The challenging part for amateur athletes is they are terrible at doing Z1, in general.

Also, it’s important to have a good idea of your VT1 and VT2. Preferably tested. Additionally, knowing your HR at these two inflection points is incredibly useful, long-term.

The rest, really is, just doing the work.

Polarized, the plan free training plan :grin:

2 Likes