My Polarized Training Experience (Chad McNeese & others)

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.


Kipchoge slow - doing the Kenyan Shuffle (5-6 min/km acc. to this article, but looks slower IMO)

I ran XC and we never ran a shuffle like that. All of our running was practically tempo and above. Of course, those guys know what they are doing.

I also competed in swimming. We never did long endurance intervals like we do in cycling. I think our longest set may have been 400 yards. Of course, my longest race was a 200 yard medley and most were 50 yards.

In neither sport did we do hours of low intensity endurance. Of course, we were not elites and I suspect that my coaches were making it up as they went along.

Of course bumping an old post, but olbrecht was suggesting La 1 for easy effort days or sets. So they were definitely doing easy work. He did state that most of his training ideas were geared towards the standard events which are all around 4 minutes or less. The 800 and 1500 swimmers were to use more of an endurance focus and less high intensity.