My Polarized Training Experience (Chad McNeese & others)

Looks like you have got your wish @mcneese.chad with ATA. Albeit 2.5 years later.

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Sure enough, :rofl: Funny to see these old post sometimes.

Based on my initial use of AT, it holds some promise. I am seeing some odd stuff right now, but the early weeks were pretty good. Stuff to refine with new tools, but it looks like a good future around here :+1:

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It would be nice to have a dedicated thread where all the people trying AT share the experiences…just saying. Thanks. H

Yup, agreed. I’m still waiting for TR to green light that option (which I requested a while ago :wink: )

I understand why YOU have to request permission for this…but how about the other 100+ testers?..What’s preventing them from sharing?.

Nothing is preventing any testers from sharing whatever they want about the experience.

At some point (not disclosed directly to me), they plan to create a dedicated “experience” thread for everyone to use from that point forward. But for now, they can use the existing thread, as several people (me included) have already done.


Only short addition from Seiler:

So basically, as I suspected, the medium is a hard bucket. But medium exists in training. This way polarized is pyramidal as I assumed from the beginning :slight_smile:

Remember, @jarsson, that Seiler counts sessions not TiZ. Long-ish sessions at medium power = Hard, so they are not in his middle bucket.

Yes, I know. But there is a lot of discussion about polarized as “never, ever go into the middle zones because then you will be very bad person”. My interpretation of polarized was always: you have two states - hard and easy. Easy is your endurance and everything above would be hard session. So do not do too many hard sessions and do not do too much middle.

But many people treat polarized as endurance and vo2 max only, when Seiler himself include threshold and sst in training (not to mention in that this “famous” study with 4x4, 4x8 and 4x16, 4x16 was done in threshold zone).


well, as they say here, one of the fallacies of the “polarised evangelists” (their words) is, that hard & easy always just refers to single sessions. Many successful coaches apply this hard & easy at other levels.

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We agree on this. My comment would be that hard must be at a duration appropriate to the intensity. At pVO2max, you do a short work session [less than half an hour TiZ, depending on the individual]. That would be hard. At SS, the TiZ might need to be 60 - 90 - 120 minutes [depending on the individual] to count as hard; otherwise, it’s the ‘despised’ middle.


Fully agree.

Hard is hard
Medium is hard
Easy is easy
Therefore everyone is training polarized.

Wait a minute… if medium is hard because we are getting adaptations, does that mean easy is hard if we are getting adaptations? So by this new Seiler logic:
Hard is hard
Medium is hard
Easy is hard
No pain no gain


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Basically yes :slight_smile: so if you find 4-5h rides easy, you are probably doing them wrong. Hence - training is hard :wink:


My 3-4h easy ride after vo2max workout feels pretty damn hard, even if I keep repeating in my head that this is easy.


I don’t know if one is doing it wrong when 4-5h feel easy. The #TrainSlowToRaceFast camp will have a different view. They will say most peripheral adaptions will already be obtained at 50% Vo2max. Adding to that many adaptions are simply caused by the mechanical stress (vascular sheer stress and so). Intensity does not have to be high for that. A higher intensity will suck you into a black hole, leading to overtraining. And it will prevent you from seeing God on those days. Therefore, if 4-5h do not feel easy you’re doing it wrong. You just have to check the twitter feeds by folks like A Couzens and so. Seems to be his obsession that everyone is training too hard.


Ok maybe my comment was only my personal, and limited experience. But even assuming 50% of vo2 max, it’s around 0.65IF (just looking at my wko estimation) - so it’s not hard but given the time pedaling it’s not a “breeze”. As I do not have years of endurance training behind me, 4-5h ride, even at lower wattage will be still challenging workout around 4th hour. It’s just different feel of fatigue than let’s say hammering vo2 max. So as always “it depends”.

That’s exactly what I meant too. I’ve only been riding for 1.5 years. Non-stop rides that are 4 hours + are challenging, especially when they are done after a hard vo2max workout and my legs are still fatigued from the day before. And by easy I stick to the 60% (or less) HR max. For me that’s 126bpm (210 HR max), which is still 170-190W for 4 hours. And for me, that’s not a walk in a park.

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When you guys start doing 6 hour training rides, those 4 hour rides will feel like a piece of cake. :slight_smile:

Ok, serious question about cycling vs. other sports. Seiler’s research started in XC skiing. I’ve been reading Jan Olbrecht’s book lately (swimming) and his method is very polarized. Here’s the question:

Is easy different for cycling compared to running or skiing or swimming?

Here’s my theory. I can go out and ride at an easy Z1 or low Z2 pace and it feels like an all day pace. On flat ground with fast tires it feels like nothing. The only real challenge is really sitting on the saddle for a long long time.

I cannot swim, run, or XC ski at a similar all day pace. Swimming at my slowest possible pace feels like sweet spot thought I’m not well conditioned for swimming. Walking would be my all day pace for running. XC skiing on flat ground feels like at least low tempo if the snow if fast and you can glide. If you can’t glide, a lot more muscular endurance is required and it feels closer to high tempo or sweet spot.

So maybe stay out of the middle zone applies more to other sports than cycling since we have gears and can coast downhill for half the ride?

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I have no doubts that Kipchoge can run very easy. And experiences this as very, very easy.

Cycling is a sport for dummies. No strong technical or biomechanical components. If swim technique or running biomechanics are poor, the body compensates with effort. And that’s why it probably feels more strenuous.