My Polarized Training Experience (Chad McNeese & others)

Yeah, I’m 45 and I find the higher VO2 max intervals hard also. For my next Z3 workout I’ll give the 110% intervals a shot.

I think coach Chad has commented on a post recently that if you do enough of the 110% intervals, you end up at VO2 max anyway.

1 Like

Judging by my HR, respiration, and the feeling that I didn’t think I could handle another one when I finished each… I think I was working hard enough for long enough to drive some adaptations.

I’m excited to hear what you think of the lower percentage efforts. Good luck. They are still work when you get enough time, but more manageable for sure.

1 Like

How long are the Z3 108% of FTP intervals?

You can see all of this in the original / top post, Chad is keeping that updated as he progresses.

Mount Alyeska is 6x4 minutes and Mount Deborah is 7x3 minutes.

1 Like

Correct. I am updating the pics in the OP, when I complete each week

I also supplied links to my TR profile so you can view any and all of my workouts.

Last night was Mount Deborah +1, 10 x 4 min at 105-109% of FTP. Hurt at the end and I chose to add some backpedals to make it fully thru all the work intervals.

If you would like to hear prof roonestad talk a little bit about this protocol:


Roonestad’s protocol is much easier than Burgomaster’s. :wink: 6 wingate tests. :nauseated_face::face_vomiting::face_vomiting::face_vomiting:

I tried that Burgomaster protocol. It will hollow out your soul.

Wingate tests are brutal. I did one - once - on an airdyne bike. Never again.

1 Like

Fun fact…if you look at a distribution of Wingate test results it’s pretty much a normal distribution centered around 200% of Wmax. So if you wanted to approximate a Wingate test on TR 30s @ 200% FTP ought to just about do it.

Of course, StDev of that distribution is quite large so individual variation applies.

So we could make a TR called Burgomaster that is 10min spin at 50% then 6x 30s@200%, 4min@50%. FUN TIMES!

1 Like

I’m not sure if you were deliberately exaggerating on the benefits of 2 hours indoors versus an outdoor 5+ hour ride. I agree that trainers are more time effective, but I don’t believe the adaptations are inherently better than an outdoor ride of equal pedaling time and power (average and normalized). I’d say the continuous effort versus stochastic effort is worth something, but not THAT much. I personally make up for the time lost to coasting with higher power numbers (or simply a lower RPE) outside.

My latest outdoor ride was 2:45 with 21min coasting and an IF of 0.90. To be fair, I’m better outdoors with only about half my riding in the last two months being inside, but that IF, and I’d even argue the training load at a different IF, would be totally unmanageable inside. I wasn’t particularly tired after, and my next TrainerRoad workout was Baird the next day, which went great.


If you look, you will see the Vogelsang I did in Saturday was 4 hours inside, then inside another 2 hours inside on Sunday. Both in Z1 POL.

I was not commenting based purely on the 2-hour ride. It is the combo of 2 long rides (4 hrs + 2 hrs) in 2 days that lead to my DOMs and related comments.

I was in not equating 2 hrs on the trainer with 5+ outside. I never said anything close to that.

I said that about 4 hours on the trainer is more like 5+ outside. I was referring to the 4-hour Vogelsang workout when I made that comment.

I see how it may not have been fully clear and edited that post to make my correlation more clear.

1 Like

My understanding of the wingate test is that there is no pacing - so it’s as hard as you can go at every point in the test. This is what makes it so hard - you go super deep anaerobically in the first 10-15 seconds, and then have to keep going for the remainder of the test in massive oxygen debt (the test I did was 60 seconds). So a steady effort at 200% wouldn’t be the same as a true wingate test?

Yeah, I agree. Part of the charm of the Wingate test is you start out in a high cadence sprint and wind up in a low cadence grind. So definitely not he same. Just approximately the same work.

I haven’t tried it but I suspect 200% 30s intervals would feel ‘easier’. Doing multiple Wingate tests is just really hard. Walking into those workouts is like picking which finger you’re going to clip off with garden shears.

But I’m hijacking this thread. So

1 Like

That makes much more sense! Thanks for clarifying.

I’ve also looked back and I’m closer to 1/3rd indoor than 1/2. Have you found you can do near to 100% power, personally, on the trainer as what you can do outside? I’m at least 5% higher outside across all durations, but I’ve been in SSB to prep for a triathlon following into road race base season and I’ve definitely progressed on the muscular endurance for both.

1 Like

I think I am close to the same, but probably not 100%. Maybe 95-98% depending on the day. I am have worked hard on my cooling and airflow to make sweating and heat buildup essentially a non-issue for my training room.

Even on my hardest workouts, I rarely have more than 5 drops of sweat reach the floor. I am a profuse sweater outside, and strive to make my airflow and cooling prevent any sweat drops inside. So I think I have that part nailed. I also use Zwift for distraction and motivation, but I think I can still pull a bit harder in real world situations.

For reference, based on your comment about hard rides inside, I did a very challenging Zwift ride/race.

  • - TrainerRoad

  • It was 5 hours at 0.8 IF with 324 TSS, and I was crushed at the end.

  • I underfueled which was not intentional, but really hampered my final lap in the race.

  • Despite that issue, I nailed a BUNCH of power PR’s (All-Time and current season) so I was able to use the pack effect to push me harder than I likely would on my own.

  • Overall point being that I think you can push yourself as hard as you want in side, even for extremely long events like the one I did.

1 Like

Updated the OP with last nights workout.

I also added direct links to each related workout right in the header of each workout comment, for quick access to see the related workout…

Come on, guys…you’re giving our demographic a bad name! :laughing:
I’m older than both of you(!!!) and I still get a kick out of Vmax sessions!
Do NOT go gentle into that good night…of VO2max intervals! :leg::muscle:

Similar to the original Koichi/Tabata protocol: 8x20/10 @200% FTP (4x/week for 6 weeks).
The original test subjects, world-class speed skaters, found it very hard with some failing around interval #7.
Interestingly, Dr. Tabata found that 30s/2min @ 200% VO2 was not as effective as the 20/10 protocol at taxing the aerobic and anaerobic systems (+28% anaerobic, +15% VO2max).

So for all TR riders who find 1 low-% VO2max session per week a challenge…it could be worse – a LOT worse!


I love it. I am hoping to actually grow my VO2 Max by using these slightly lower levels as a stepping stone. I think that making it through those will give better results than failing at the 120%. But that’s a guess and a hope from me :wink:

1 Like

Exactly! The power zones of Dade+

look like the power zones of our local Wed night ride:


its easier to chase those VO2max outside, but a lot more recovery is required from the higher TSS!!