Polarized plan VO2 max workouts

Hi all,

I’ve planned to go through the 8 week polarized mid volume plan soon.

I’m confused about the VO2 max workouts though.

First of all, there seems to be very little progression in them. They’re all 3x4min @106% FTP, the only thing that changes is the recoveries go from 4 minutes to 3 to 2. You also seem to start over in week 5, going back to 4 minute rests. What am I missing here? I’d expect some more progression, and certainly not to go back to what you started at halfway through the plan. The threshold workouts do the same only with 4x8min @100% FTP.

Second, 3x4min @106% FTP seems fairly easy? When I’d do hill repeats as my own version of VO2 max training previously, I’d do 5x3min @ 115% FTP, with only 90 seconds rest in between at that wasn’t easy, but also not so hard that I’d be completely spent because I’d always be able to up the power a bit on the last climb, which was also a bit longer at 4 minutes because the turn off to go back down was slightly before the top.

I don’t think it’s because my FTP was underestimated because this is based on FTP measured a few weeks after the interval sessions, which if anything is estimated because I’d do a 20min test without the shorter all out efforts before the 20min one.

I thought the idea behind polarized was that it was mostly easy, but the hard bits would be very hard. So am I missing something, should I adjust the workouts, or should AT automatically fix that?

edit: adaptive training seems to have been the issue:

That’s not what I see in the 8wk mid volume polarized plan at all.
Did you accept adaptations right after scheduling the plan?
In my experience (and at recommendation of TR) don’t accept adaptations on a polarized plan. It pre-emptively tries to adjust the progression of the VO2Max / Threshold work.

Tupungato - 3x4min @ 114%
Leatherman - 4x4min @ 113%
Cotopaxi - 9x2min @ 122%
Churup - 12x2min @ 128%
Piscani - 12x2min @ 130%

This sounds way more like what I’d expect!

What I get is this though:

I got no adaptations at all when scheduling the plan

Strange. What do you see on this page? Does it match what I posted or what you have planned?

8wk Polarized Mid Volume

It really looks like adaptive training is getting in the way somehow, maybe behind the scenes. I say that because all your planned workouts are at the same level. What if you turn off adaptive training and delete/re-add the plan?

Probably an issue to contact support about though.

That page has exactly the workouts that it adds to my calendar when scheduling the plan.

Switching off adaptive training and rescheduling the plan gives me actual progression for both VO2 max and threshold workouts!

Now I get:
Nevado - 3x4min @ 110%
Ancochuma - 6x2min @ 124%
Cayambe - 9x2min @ 126%
Churup - 12x2min @ 128%
Piscani - 12x2min @ 130%

Turning adaptive training back on doesn’t even change it back, though the plan overview page you linked does change back to what it was before.

Looking at the threshold workouts now makes me regret making this topic though, 4x16min @ 104% in the last week is gonna make me cry :’)

Gonna contact support about this issue that it should probably be fixed. Thanks for your help @jfurner!

Wow, thats very interesting and a part of adaptive training I didnt know about, that it effects how a plan shows up before even being scheduled.

I turned off adaptive training, and my workouts on the plan page now match what you posted, the sequence starting with Nevado. So that sequence is the neutral, non adaptive version of the plan.

Having AT on apparently gives an adapted version of the plan, which can vary from no progression (like yours) to similar, but different progression (like mine).

Seems like advice needs to be given to not only reject adaptations on polarized, but also to turn it off before scheduling a plan.

I just started mixing in Polarized workouts into my plan and noticed the SAME thing - the VO2 workouts are vastly different from any I have done before. Just outside of threshold, with relatively long recoveries.

I just scheduled 8 week POL plan earlier to start in a few weeks. I’ve chosen workouts from the plan that I want to do that time hopefully permits, and copied it over the 8 weeks, hoping that AT starts suggesting things as I go through it.

Do you think it will work?

Do V02max workouts in resistance mode at max repeatable intensity. Remember the polarized plans have not been tested at all, they were thrown together in response to the dylan j discussions. Seiler(and many high level coaches) has always said to do V02max efforts at max efforts. The goal is to spend lots of time near max HR.

I think these plans need work, obviously. For example, the 6-week mid-vol starts with a 4x4 @ 106% (lets all ignore the recommended % of FTP as it’s A) too low B) should be all out)

BUT…then you spend the next 3 weeks progressing 2-min intervals. Which, IMO, is mediocre. These are probably more anaerobic and less aerobic. I think a better progression of workouts would be something like this for example…

Week 1: Ramp
Week 2: 4x3
Week 3: 4x4
Week 4: 4x5
Week 5: 5x5
Week 6: Recovery

Definitely consider making adjustments to these plans as I don’t think they were given the time needed by the TR team.

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And there are a lot more ways to start teasing vo2max gains before going all-in on classic 3-5 minute intervals.

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Nah, into the deep end.

Without arguing the many ways to skin the cat, I do think that progression of 2-min intervals is odd, and does need some refinement. Perhaps a build up to longer intervals in that 4-6 min range.

At only 2 min, the end-user might not actually see the adaptations they think they’re chasing.

progression my friend, progression.