πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰ Polarized Training Plans Are Here! πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰

After I finish the 3x16 at 100% FTP I’ll decide about the 4x16 at 102% - I kind of want to give it a try just to see. If I feel ok after the prior workout I’ll probably give it a try

To be fair - a 20 minute test number would be something like 105.5%, not 102%. So they aren’t quite asking that you do 4*(20 minute test number).

I tend to think the 4x16 at 102% is possible, although possibly only with an easy run-in, and not in the fourth or fifth week of a training plan. I don’t think the 4x16 at 104% is likely to be possible regardless of preparation, but who knows.

My overall feeling on this iteration of the Polarized plans is that they start too easy and finish too hard


4 minutes is a very long time!

I’ve just started them and this too threw me off a little but we shall see!

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If I recall correctly from when TR rolled out the plan and explained the 4x16@102%, this assumes that your FTP has grown over the previous weeks. So although it states 102% of your FTP, it is expected that your FTP from the previous test is actually higher. In theory being that you’re in effect at/below 100% FTP. Now whether that is the case is another story.


Yeah - I presume that’s their assumption as well - but I spend an entire season trying to grow my FTP by 2%, so assuming that level of growth is definitely a bit optimistic for me :slight_smile:


My ramp test this morning put me at exactly the same FTP as when I started the polarized 6-week plan. That aligns with this weekend’s congratulatory email from intervals.icu reporting that my estimated FTP had increased by 1 watt :slight_smile: . My experience is just one data point, but it fails to support the expectation that the first 4 weeks of the plan would prepare me for 4x16 @ 102%.


hi, Finished my HV 6 week polarized training plan i haven’t done all workouts especially the long rides, had some local races, just managed 2 long ones, but the increase estimate was really nice, 1 week some taper and rest, new ftp gain from 270Seated position to 282TT position from (FTP +12 to 282w from 29m at 289w) so in increase i am expecting 285-290w on normal race position and lots of power PR,. i Was able to Do Shumard peak with 1 stop at last interval but Hueco after 1 stop 2nd interval it went down the drain psychologically and was a little over heated i think those efforts are made to be done outside and if you can take more time for resting it will be very doable,will probably go straight into last 4weekplan from 8week polarized since next race is in 1 month. I am currently at 86 kg 10 more than the last time i have done this race, just came back after 3 months of winter brake, from 1 month SS into 6 week polarized, from 238w to 285/290w maybe

What doesn’t make sense is how POL Base has you doing work for 5 weeks in a row and then resting for one, and POL Build has you doing 3 weeks in a row then resting for one.

This has been the case for SSB/Build also but the POL base and build look nearly identical so unsure why the ramp up period is different for doing the same work. I’d be tempted to just go through Build twice to keep fresher rather than blow myself up in Base

Have you ever tried polarized training before? Or done an extended period with two days of intensity and the rest endurance? Generally speaking most people will be able to handle longer periods between rest weeks with this methodology, so if you haven’t tried it before I’d recommend seeing how you go with 5:1 or 4:1 - adjust accordingly, but don’t sell yourself short on 3:1 until you see how you are responding to the different approach

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I tweaked Short Power build last year to be more like POL. Just don’t get why two seemingly identical plans have different ratios of work:rest. Seems like POL may not even need a base or build. Would be nice if plan builder could just ask something like how many weeks you want to train and how many days a week you have, and just build A plan from there based around whatever work:rest period it wants, or even let you select one

AT only works in plan builder(something I just learned the other day and I’ve been in the beta for several weeks) so your pol plans won’t change ever.

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Thanks, unfortunately I realized this after contacting support a week or so ago

Is there anymore feedback on the effectiveness of these plans?

I’m going into week 2 but have just seen the new SSB plans and they look good! I’m tempted to stick to the polarised MV because it gives more room to weight train i.e. on the Monday and then cycle on wed/thurs and sat/sun

Finished the 8 week Medium Volume plan last week and did a ramp test Today. Here are some notes. When referring to zones in the notes (Z1,Z2,Z3), I mean polarized zones.

Overall thoughts and results:

  • It definitely has felt like there’s been a lack of long endurance rides and truly hard vo2max workouts in the Trainerroad plans I’ve done so far (although I have often replaced the Sunday ride with a long endurance ride). The polarized plan seemed like a good and easy way try if remedying that lack of stimulus could provide results.
  • I like the basic structure of only 2 hard rides per week and lots of endurance riding. It fits my life and goals pretty well. I wonder if there could be a bit more variety in the Z3 rides however. The current 2 minute and 16 minute intervals are also extremely intimidating, they are like the two extremes of Z3 riding.
  • Results: FTP went from 266w to 276w and I lost ~1.5kg of weight. W/kg is now 4.25, which is the highest it’s been. I do think the 276 estimate is probably a bit too high, intervals.icu estimates 273 which I feel is more appropriate. In any case, I definitely did not get slower.
  • It’s really hard to give too definitive comments based on just 8 weeks, but polarized training seems to fit my lifestyle and seems to have given good results. Based on this, polarized training will be playing a part in my training in the future. I’ll probably still stick to sweet spot during the winter as outdoor rides during the winter are hard.
  • EDIT: worth mentioning that my conclusion is not that polarized is the best approach. Other approaches could have provided similar or even better results. However, it at least seemed to provide some results, it provided variety and I enjoyed it. All of that combined means I’m happy leaning more towards polarized for the time being.

Differences between plan and execution, plus other confounding factors:

  • I did some bike fit changes during the plan, which seemed to help with glute activation among other things, so that could have affected results.
  • First week was partly based on the earlier β€œleaked” plans, so that was a slight difference
  • On week 2 weekend I did a quick overnight bikepacking trip, so the endurance ride + 2x16min@100% were replaced with the rides to/from camp (essentially two 2h30min endurance rides).
  • On week 7 weekend I did an ultra distance overnight gear test bikepacking ride (not really sure what to call it), so the 4x16min@104% and the 4h endurance ride were replaced with a total of 500TSS of mostly Z1 riding.
  • Z1 rides in general: I extended most of the shorter Z1 rides to at least 2 hours. I like riding outdoors at a Z1 pace, what can I say.
  • Because of all of the above, my execution skewed towards Z1 more than what the plan called for.

Thoughts about the different workouts:

  • Endurance rides were great and I don’t care about variety. When I did them indoors, I wasn’t paying attention to the workout anways (netflix, audiobooks, web, etc took my attention). When outdoors, I just rode at somewhere around Z1 for a time that seemed to fit the plan.
  • 16 minute intervals: 3x16min@100% (rode on Zwift up Ventoux), 4x16min@100% (rode outdoors), 4x16min@102% (Trainerroad indoors) were all tough and intimidating, but doable. The others I skipped as mentioned above. RPE outdoors was less, especially with the last interval of the session, probably because of better cooling outdoors. the 8 week MV plan has 6-7 minute recoveries between sessions, I think that is needed. Any less recovery and it would have been mentally extremely tough and I suspect cooling indoors would be even more critical (and any deficiencies in cooling would cause failed workouts easily).
  • 2 minute intervals: These were really tough. I swear there were times when the only thing keeping me from throwing my bike into a ditch and walking home was that it would have required physical effort for which I had no energy left. I had all kinds of issues with these, mental, physical, even equipment related, but in hindsight I think that they were productive. Very tough and very intimidating with steep progression. Probably too hard. Maybe could use notes to indicate it’s ok to tone the intensity down as long as you still get into that vo2max zone of pain at the end of the interval? Or maybe the all-mighty AT will save the day?

in any case, those are my thoughts


Great feedback. Very helpfull for someone contemplating doing the POL plan

good job, it is really good plan for time crunched cyclist during the week, haven’t tested but went approximately from 270 to 290+ on 6week pol HV plan,race then straight into 2nd month of 8week hv pol plan, 1h14min at @290W+ outdoor Withington adapted plan,next race in 1 month.I really lacked those endurance rides in z2,and yes cooling is a problem even with fans , failed those 104% ftp from 3rd interval indoor.

How did the ramp test go? Did you get any gains with the plans?

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I did the first 4 weeks of the 8 week mid volume build. I was added to the AT beta so then swapped to a different plan (nothing to do with the fact that the 2nd 4-weeks scared the hell out of me :wink:). I got an 8W or ~2% bump in my FTP.

BTW - I did notice that using AT if you let Plan Builder drop in a Build Phase you can subsequently change it to Polarised and the workouts do seem to be adapted. This isn’t officially supported so it may be that the progressions aren’t as intended. For the other plans standard progressions seem to be around 0.5 but for polarised around 1.0 so it may be that the adapatations are assuming that there is more than 2 intensity days a week and choosing lower progressions accordingly.


unfortunately i got sidelined with a bad saddle sore that kept me off the bike for structured training. i tried to come back too early and it flared up again. i ended up losing approx a month of structured training and i took the ramp test today to find myself down ~5% from when i last tested at the beginning of the polarized base block mid volume. pretty disappointing, but no one to blame but myself for not caring for the saddle sore early and proactively.

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Yeah, I was informed of this on the forum by Chad. I’m trying to figure out how to add a polarized plan in there and shift the date. I got accepted to the beta yesterday, can’t quite work this UI.

Not sure it is a functional work around, but someone mentioned hacking a POL plan but using Plan Builder to add a full plan. Then editing the individual phase from the calendar annotation, which allows you to change the precise plan applied. They were able to swap to a POL one in that case.

However, we don’t know if it will actually work with AT for Progression Levels & Adaptations at this time. Could be worth a test for anyone willing to play around.