My Polarized Training Experience (Chad McNeese & others)

What did your decoupling look like for Vogelsang? I can’t quite tell if the sign of an appropriate endurance ride (not too hard / not too easy) is a modest amount of decoupling, this was what my intervals looked like:

60% FTP intervals: HR 132, 130, 132, 135 (4% decoupling)
65% FTP intervals: HR 134, 139 (4%)
70% FTP intervals: HR 138, 136, 137, 141, 143 (5%)

I feel like zero decoupling means you didn’t push yourself hard enough, and too much means you went too deep into the red, I was pretty pleased to hit ~4% - 5% for this ride.

What do you think in your trials / research so far - some modest amount of decoupling is ideal?


I need to pull those still. All I’ve done for now is a 1st half and 2nd half comparison.

@KatuskaMTB a 5% or less decoupling is typically considered good for rides longer than two hours.


I’ve not been able to keep track with this thread, but I am extremely intrigued and planning to kick off my official LTMTB100 training in January following this approach. Im hoping the lower intensity will allow me to alpine ski weekends this winter without disrupting my training. What has been the experience with general fatigue and ability to undertake different activities with the POL approach?

I noticed last winter that SS mid volume plans took a lot out of me and were hard to stay on top of after a weekend of skiing—it forced me to be much more conservative on skis and turned me into a bit of a fair weather skier…

My focus for the past 3 months and the next 2 is weight loss. I am averaging about 1.25 lbs a week, and down about 20 so far—204 to 184. I’m currently running through SSB mid-volume and trying to focus on the weight progress over the flattening power gains…hopping power gains will come once the weight is off and I’m not in such a catabolic state.

On a 90 minute endurance ride (avg 65% ftp) my heart rate increases by about 15-20 bpm over the course of the ride, around an average in the mid-high 130s. This decoupling is well above 10% - another sign to me that my aerobic base is under developed. I’m hoping a POL approach will help address this.

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@DaveWh it doesn’t necessarily mean a POL approach is needed (although that is an option) but typically would suggest longer endurance rides certainly are needed. We typically use a 2 hr steady state ride at 65-70% to test decoupling and whether to up the load on endurance rides. FTP changes won’t necessarily show that endurance ride loads should be increased or decreased. We have found this through experience but have run across a couple of articles on it as well. If I get a chance I will try and link them.


Yep - I’m changing my training to do more long endurance rides. Given my time constraints, practically this means replacing sweet spot rides with endurance rides. I’m still doing 1, sometimes 2 VO2 max sessions a week, so where I’ve ended up is polarized.

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Sounds like a reasonable plan! I almost always try to have a long endurance ride on Sunday’s between 3-5hrs when possible. Even just that once a week seems to make a big difference for me.


I’m building my own POL training plan in my calendar for the next few weeks. Besides the workouts listed in the Team area I was looking for some alternative Z1 workouts. Can I filter by “Endurance”? Does TR’s definition of endurance match the Z1 in the POL method? Can I go by IF? If I were to filter by IF what would be the range?

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Anything below .65 IF probably puts you close to that Z1 range. Might need to adjust intensity in-ride based on your HR.

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No, it doesn’t. Scroll to the top of this thread and look at the document linked below. @mcneese.chad has a great summary in that document. Good stuff.

“Match” may not be the best wording.

However, Level-2 Endurance from the 7-Level Coggan model falls nicely into the middle of the Zone-1 Low Intensity 3-Zone Seiler model.

Short List

Full List

  • This shows the grouping a bit better and how much overlap there is between the 2 areas:

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I’m in the process of doing the same - for me the right Endurance rides are anything with the 60% - 70% FTP range (“60-70” is the search term I enter), such as Gibbs, Boarstone, Warren, etc.


So it seems the best way to find workouts is to use % of FTP and not IF. Is this the general consensus?

For long steady state workout they are effectively the same thing. An hour at 70% FTP is 0.7 IF.

@mcneese.chad is your post-POL ramp test this week?

It sure is… tomorrow :flushed:

Edit:, @bbarrera, I updated the OP with some snapshots of HR Decoupling from various long rides in the last 4 weeks. Ignoring the mess of Longfellow, it seems a bit promising in decrease over time.

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Entering my 4th season, year-over-year I’m seeing a 5-10bpm drop in HR at same power:

My current hypothesis is that aerobic endurance gains are from my somewhat unstructured ‘early base’ that ended with Traditional Base 1, just prior to starting SSB1-HV for my 2019 season.

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That’s a really positive improvement. Even with the caveats you mention, I think it helps reinforce the overall benefit to the long and slow rides. Very cool to see.

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Ya, and I only looked because someone mentioned it on the other thread. Curious to see if you can draw out some analytical results from your POL experience as it should be doing a lot to improve your aerobic base/endurance.

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