Polarized training plan with added outdoor rides

Hi guys,

I’m giving the Polarized plan a bash. The intensity seems to suit me more seeing as I want to get a decent amount of time training on the trainer but also ride hard on the local club rides every Tuesday and Saturday when they start back up soon.

With this in mind (that I’ll be riding hard Tues+Sat most weeks) does the way I’ve set this plan up look sustainable? This is mid volume with an added recovery ride on Friday but even on LV with the normal plan builder fitting in 3 high intense sessions Mon-Fri with my outdoors ride feels more tricky.

Side note: I’ve just thought, by adding in 2 hard outdoor rides every week am I completely defeating the object/science of “polarized training”?


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Yes, 4 intense rides a week is not polarized. Any additional rides should be z2.

This is why I think a large portion of TR subscribers will struggle with it. Being strict about z2 and below is hard and boring. Especially if you’re doing the riding inside. Outside it’s really easy for z2 rides to creep into tempo on every uphill or headwind.


I would still be doing the Z2 prescribed rides in the day, but just adding on some intense outdoor rides on the evening.

You’d have intensity days Mon, Tue, Thu, Sat.

And some of the Thursday workouts in at least one of the Polarized plans looked absolutely brutal. 4x16min at 104% or thereabouts. That’s like one of the hardest over/under workouts with the unders flipped. And people fear Mary Austin…

It doesn’t matter. Polarization is predicated on an 80/20 split or even 90/10. If you add random intensity, it becomes more 60/20/20 or 70/30 or whatever, and it’s no longer polarized. That doesn’t mean it’s fundamentally wrong, you’ll probably still get faster that way…but may encounter overtraining or struggling to complete the prescribed high intensity portions of the polarized plan.

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Hmm, what’s the alternative then? Because even with plan builder LV that’s 3 days of intensity indoors and 2 days outdoors. I guess the bottom line is if riding for fun outside something has to give and I just need to find the right compromise…

ill be in a similar predicament although i suspect that the polarized plan will give me less stress than the normal hv build and speciality plans in conjunction with the odd hard group ride and big long sunday ride so im going to try an 8 week block and see what happens

ps its z1 not z2

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Let’s say that the hard ride on Tuesday is actually a hard ride - then drop one of the planned interval sessions from say Monday.

It also depends on the Saturday ride and who you ride with - if you can get away with being disciplined and not going hell for leather up the climbs, skip turns etc you could probably make an excuse for it to be a Z1(3 zone model)/Z2 (7zone model) ride.

I often substitute one day of intervals for a virtual race in my polarised based training as I get to a point where I can’t stand the turbo after a few weeks. From a HR perspective I spend more time in zone during races then a VO2 session, from the power perspective this turns my polarised training in to Pyramid or Threshold if you look at time in zone.

It depends if you want to be dogmatic or pragmatic about the training IMHO.

Personally I’d say the hard outdoor smash fests… treat those as your workout replacements. And use the POL to keep you honest and doing the low end Z1 work.

I’m doing POL on here now too, but come summer I’ll drop the VO2 sessions that week if I want to smash it elsewhere. 2 hard sessions, no matter what, rest easy.

Maybe throw in some really long tempo occasionally to build up from, become more pyramidal.


I would agree with this, if you want to do polarized and ride outside, find a punchy hilly route and whenever there is a hill, MAXIMUM EFFORT. z2/tempo on the flats.

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