Polarized plan : better to get Z2 trainings?

Im begginer and I’m starting to train for l’Etape du Tour 2023.
So I followed the custom plan builder and started sweet spot Base I : Moderate / difficult / difficult
so 3 hard/moderate workouts per week, almost no Z2.
Problem is that I read everywhere that we have to train more often in Z2, so I modified the plan by choosing polarized plan and now I have easy/ moderate / easy
Do you think that’s better ?

If you are starting out with your first year of structured training it probably doesn’t really matter what you do. I would just start with the standard training plan sweetspot base low volume and see where it brings you

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Yeah its my first year so maybe I dont care about endurance with very low level?

Since that GCN podcast with Pogaca’s coach, this z2 training has become a bit of a ‘thing’.
Dylan Johnston also recommends polarized taining.
But, you and I are not pro s, (speaking for myself here), and we have a totally different lifestyle.
So while I agree it is crucial to build your z2 for your event, you also need to enjoy your training and keep healthy.
I did try some polarised but it was so BORING :grimacing:
My advice is to get 1 z2 ride of 2-4 hours /week in place of 1 of your sweet spot sessions .
Best done outside, as challenging on a trainer.
Good luck in the Etape!


Oh yeah Z2 is sooo boring man, when I don’t have time to get bored with the harder sessions
Well, I will try this, thanks !

If you’re new to training, start with the low volume plan and add Zone 2 rides. You will then have 3 core workouts to complete and adding 2 endurance days works like a charm. Just make sure you can complete those 3 workouts. There’s lots of suggestions how to schedule this on the forum, I’m just busy at work at the moment.
Low volume plan doesn’t mean it’s easy, I had my best season following low volume plus an extra 4-7 hours of endurance. *I’m not new to structured training


I combat the boredom by finding new roads to ride.

How much time can you ride/train? In general for a beginner, riding more, say 6-8 hours/week, will lead to more fitness than riding 3 structured hours. That was absolutely true for me.

Back in December 2015 I bought a road bike and on 1 January 2016 started training for a similar ride in July, in the California “Alps” - 5 mountain passes and elevation mostly above 1800m with passes above 2600m. The mountain passes on l’tape du Tour 2023 are all under 1700m.

Finished strong on 6 months of training and averaging about 8.5 hours/week.

Endurance rides aren’t strictly “Z2” and here is a practical definition from CTS/Strava:

I did a mix of club rides and loosely following the CTS/Strava Gran Fondo Intermediate plan. Also did 4 imperial centuries to dial in nutrition/hydration.

First week looked like this:

Fewer intervals vs what I did on TR plans in 2018-2019, however the endurance miles really add up and I was stronger on 8 hours than TR at 5-6 hours/week. In my opinion the real take away from “polarized” is just that, ride more endurance and sprinkle in 2-3 days of intervals. I’m doing something similar for the last 2 years, and riding more with fewer intervals is working better for me. May not for you, but it does for a lot of riders.

The weekend club rides were endurance riding in the draft of stronger riders, plus trying to stay with the group on climbs. Endurance riding, not pure Z2.

Again I did the “zero to hero” by averaging 8+ hours/week for 6 months and finished the event with a smile on my face and felt normal the next day. Listen to your body, do 2-3 days with intervals, do a long ride once a month, and if you can push for more hours riding at endurance than a lot less hours of structure.

You can do that by modifying the TR LV plans and adding endurance rides, as mentioned by others.


To get benefit of Zone 2 riding and do “polarized” training you need to be on the bike 2-5 hours for your rides. As mentioned, since you are starting If the weather allows it I would just get out and enjoy riding as much as possible. If you are stuck inside the best use of your time is a workout. Just start at the easier levels and choose workouts you can complete and build from there. Best of luck to you!