POL for Low(er) Volume Cyclists - Is There Evidence?

You can do your own n=1 experiments. I did a bunch before hiring a coach.

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This might be worthy of a post over there:

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TBF the TR crew isn’t much better…they went through a lot of trouble to claim their plans were polarized based on a very basic mistake on their calculations from a paper that was caught in like 15 mins by forum members because it obviously didn’t pass the sniff test

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Thanks, interesting read.

I’m not saying they are any better or worse, but Dylan definitely is overrated by many


Check out the MCT-4 results…I didn’t expect that metric to go that way. :rofl: O, Lordy! Guess what, all you over/under haters? They are a wasted effort for the intended purpose.

O! My side!

That was an interesting read and example of how I learned (before a coach, before TR) and continue to do “adaptive training” - and it doesn’t require ftp updates or AI algorithms on a computer.

My takeaway on mct4 was different…it’s not an adaptation to increase performance (40km TT).

Over-unders? Race or chain gang / pace line specificity, and for many that means overs that are well above threshold (zone5 or low zone6). My TR over-unders look mysteriously like my outside threshold intervals.

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This is my mentality as well after trying to do an outdoor workout… just go race pace during the intervals, if that means variable power due to terrain, so be it. Everything else is just too hard without a nice steady climb.

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I think you are conflating two things here: over/unders are not more natural than keeping your power constant. If you are riding outdoors, you want to maintain momentum, not keep your power constant. So personally, neither is “more realistic”.

But when training outdoors, the key is to find suitable terrain. If you are doing workouts close-to-threshold and above and you have a long, sustained climb nearby, you can do anything on that climb, long, sustained power, over/unders, VO2max. You’ll be less susceptible to wind conditions, etc. Plus, it is safer to get tunnel vision at lower speeds.

Of course, you can also ride flat terrain if that’s what you have available. However, at least where I live, wind then becomes a very important factor that might make holding any sort of steady power very difficult. Just passing by a row of trees or houses can lead to large variations in power.

I don’t think so. When you ride outdoors and you want to maximize average speed not stay in a power zone, which is a completely different ball of wax. Riding outdoors is about managing momentum, your road/line, you have to navigate traffic, etc.

Riding in erg mode feels nothing like riding outdoors. Zero. If you stay in your gear and put effort in to increase your cadence, it first becomes a lot harder and then a lot easier as the algorithm tries to make you meet a power target. That’s completely different from how things work outdoors. (That’s why I prefer to do anything above endurance pace in resistance mode.)

The about “20 minute state state power effort just doesn’t exist in cycling bit”, over/unders are equally artificial. Like I wrote above, depending on wind, geography, traffic, your surroundings, your power may fluctuate significantly even if you keep your speed/cadence relatively constant. And even efforts that might have a similar power profile in spirit (e. g. if you are in a breakaway group and take turns rotating), I don’t think your power profile is as smooth and simple as that in an over/under workout. In a race you also wouldn’t have the option to decide where to set your power levels, that’s determined by the speed of your group and the conditions.

On some roads where I could do intervals if I wanted to, there is sometimes a lot of traffic. You can get a superb draft from trucks and other commercial vehicles while being safely tucked away on the side. My power fluctuates wildly depending on whether I’m exposed to the air (“between two vehicles”) or in a draft.

What is more, I think you are assuming that structured training should be quite similar to riding. I think this is a misconception: unless we are talking about the specialty phase, I don’t expect that my workouts resemble my riding in any way whatsoever. But just because those efforts are not very similar doesn’t mean that “artificial” intervals aren’t tremendously beneficial.

I think you are mixing up two different things again: one is structured training and the other is learning to pace yourself, stay aero, ride in a pack, etc. These are very important skills that we should hone, but I would not recommend mixing both and just focus on one.

For structured training your friend has nailed it: climbs are by far the best way to practice. It is really difficult to find an uninterrupted, safe stretch of road where you can practice long sweet spot+ intervals. And because of your much higher speed, it’d be inherently less safe, especially if you are close to your limit and you get tunnel vision.

For practicing how to ride efficiently, it depends on what you want to practice. If you are practicing for a hill climb TT, you should ride a route that resembles that. If you want to do well in a rolling road race … well, ride rolling terrain.

You have to be careful here. You find it difficult, doesn’t mean that’s the case everywhere. I certainly have local suitable safe stretches for 20 min intervals. If I go just a bit further then 30-40 min sections open themselves up.

But I must say, you seem to have gone wildly off topic in this thread.