Polarized Training vs. Sweet Spot (Dylan Johnson video)

Ahhh OK, we’ll please don’t tell Seiler that I’m not complying with his guidelines. It’ll be our little secret. :wink:

Exactly what I thought. Dylan said he uses YouTube as advertisement for his personal coaching business. TrainerRoad is a direct competitor to his business model. It serves him well to dismiss/discredit the most popular online training program (TR) on the market.

TR isn’t a direct competitor to Dylan. Dylan charges 400? a month, TR is now 20 a month? Also, Dylan doesn’t dismiss TR. He dismisses the overuse of tempo/sweet spot in a unstructured way, this is also not TR. It feels like you’re creating an issue between TR and Dylan. To me, it feels like you think polarization talk/research is some sort of attack on TR… when in reality TR really isn’t “all sweet spot”.


Ha, yes, it’s all encompassing now :smile:

You’re right, it seems the prescription has ‘developed’ a little more wiggle room.

In terms of the hard days, I personally do not religiously stick to two days hard per week. On my training volume it’s too much for me. I usually tackle it more off perception of total fatigue. Which I realize is un measurable and somewhat arbitrary. Call it, one day hard per week, three days hard per two weeks.

That’s generally what, ‘seems’ to be working for me. Having neither the time or the willingness to back to back test each training protocol on myself, I’m sticking with this ‘adapted polarized’ (is that better than Hybrid? Maybe it’s just Bandit Polarized, strictly personal)

It’s certainly easier and more fun for how I enjoy riding. That has to be a factor to consider. The reason I’m sharing it is, someone shared the prescription with me and it made a big difference. Hopefully, others have similar improvements. Hopefully, not people I race. They should try the ‘pure couch protocol’, I’ve heard it’s very effective…

Oh, and what’s the data on the Olympic spending?

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I’m in Auckland, New Zealand. I won’t say how long we’ve been back to normal, it’ll just sound like bragging. I sure didn’t do it, I just happened to live in the right place for this pandemic.

I am very grateful, and hope we all collectively can get back to the sport we love.

We’ll be through this soon. It’ll be a wild story we tell our kids etc

I’m not creating anything, I’m just some random dude on a cycling forum. I don’t have a cycling product to sell or make YouTube videos discrediting the “#1 app for Getting Faster”. I’m simply making observations. When people comment “so TR plans are trash now” after watching Dylan’s video, I think it’s clear who is creating an issue. Dylan seems like a decent guy and I’ve met people that know him and say the same. I’ve even “raced” against him in a local MTB 100, well, he was in front and I was somewhere in the distant back. I’m just not willing to concede that the video was made without any idea that it would be a dig on TR.

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Historically, the USOC has funded almost no research. Richer NGBs occasionally will cough up a few thousand dollars per year.

As for the IOC, you’d need a 1000 researchers each getting one of their grants (which aren’t just in sports science) every year for next 50 years to get to that first billion.

I’m no specialist, just enjoy reading these threads to soak up information.

My gut feeling says that POL is easier to pair with strength training in the base period. I just finished two blocks of SS/tempo and the next two blocks will be POL (all these discussions lead me to try out POL because I’ve only followed SS in the past years). Looking at my schedule and the intensity distribution, it seems that the lower intensity will leave me fresher for my gym sessions (4x week, three lower/one upper split).

I’m not saying that SS doesn’t pair well with strength training because I’ve been doing this type of concurrent training for a few years and has worked very well.

Any thoughts on the Polarized approach being more compatible with strength training? I will know for myself at the end of these two blocks but was just curious if anyone ever thought about this factor.

I‘d say MV is perfectly fine, if you do Z2 rides on day 2 and 5 with increasing duration.

You could count the strength training as the intensity and do all your riding at low intensity. Of course, it depends on goals and at some point you’ll need to scale back lifting and work in intensity on the bike.

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Conformation that you’ve not thought this through and dont know what you are talking about.

Take your personal bias out of it.

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The problem with that approach is that now you are at the mercy of how others interpret (or misinterpret or overinterpret) the data.

I’m currently testing this hypothesis, personally. I’m not a competitive strength or endurance athlete, but I like being reasonably strong and endurant, so I’ve always done some kind of concurrent training. I’ve done what research I could on concurrent training and polarized training, but neither of those two niches are particular big by themselves, and the overlap is almost nonexistent. Here are some of the most specific studies I found:

Basically a whole lot of “it depends” and “maybe”. In addition to polarized training not being well-defined enough to keep people from arguing about whether a particular endurance training plan is polarized or not, resistance training also has a huge number of variables — lifts, techniques, intensity, set count, rep count, proximity to muscle failure, tempo, etc. The metabolic stressors of e.g. a hypertrophy program are very, very different than those of a strength peaking program, so it’d be surprising if they both had the same interference patterns with a specific endurance approach.

Personally, I’ve been focusing on hypertrophy for the past few months and have noticed strong interference between that and sweet spot training. I can hack it for a month or so, but my trainer workouts really start to suffer, and anything over an hour ends up accumulating too much lactate to be able to hold power. For the past few weeks I’ve just been doing longer Z2 rides, which has been nice — being able to check out and watch TV is kind of relaxing, vs. having six days a week of AMRAPs and intervals. Yesterday I tried pushing my long weekend ride with Koip, which was a pretty good bump in TSS, but I just didn’t have enough in the tank to get it past 1:45. I’ve got another two weeks of LSD rides and then I’ll re-test to see where my FTP is at.

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Same here. That’s exactly why I want to try out the POL approach. Heavy SS and gym work focused on strength and power is fine (low rep), but hypertrophy and SS feels like too much fatigue accumulation. Thanks for the links, much appreciated.

I got thru 3 months of weight training with a lot of endurance riding and sprint intervals to keep top-end warm.


Such a shame. Former rower here and would love to see a comparison of Eric and Hamish’s training before and after switching coaches from Dick Tonks (big volume, rel. high intensity from what I remember) to Noel Donaldson right around the start of their unbeaten streak from 2013-16. Also would be fun to look at how the training differed b/w Eric and Hamish. From what I remember, Eric tended to train at higher intensities in general.

Of course you can always just double-dip. A former 35-39 age group multiple national champ (who was stripped of his jerseys by USADA) used to follow up 20-24min worth of zone 5 intervals with a 30min+ of 90-94% (he would post the workout files on his blog).

Ok, he was a dirty doper but that’s a pretty effective workout – when I would do something like that for a few weeks in a row leading up to an A race, I definitely had the best form of the year.

Here is the full article (probably, didn’t read it yet)
PlewsandLaursen2017_TIDOlympicrowers_IJSPP.pdf (539.4 KB)

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Phew, just read (nearly) all of this thread over the past few days. Fell behind over the holidays and was a little daunted by the number of posts in here. Came expecting trolling (got it), people posting their opinions as if they were facts (nailed it), and some well informed opinions and n=1 experiences that might help inform my own training moving forward (crushed it!).

Without diving into all the various posts I wanted to reply to while reading the ~500 prior posts, a few random thoughts.

First - when people were posting their intervals.icu yearly summaries - my thoughts were - geez everyone rides way harder than I do. This is my 2019 season, which included tons of actual racing and still qualifies as base (FWIW my 2020 season with zero racing was even easier)

Second - this was sort of peripherally touched on a half dozen times in the thread, but it seemed like everyone ended up on the other end of this from a conclusion standpoint. I think of polarized, and the mindset behind it, not so much about the % allocation (lets not start on sessions vs. time) but on the pure limitation of how many intervals the human body can handle in a given period of time. Once you’ve hit that cap, you need to figure out what you want to do with any extra time you have available. It isn’t about making sure you ride 80% in Seiler Z1, or whatever other % you want to assign if you’re doing PYR or whatever else. It’s that you’ve hit your cap of hard efforts (no matter if they are Seiler Z2 or Z3) and what would benefit you the most at that point.

So you can fill up your hard efforts in a relatively short period of time doing Z3 or over a slightly longer period of time doing Z2. Therefore, if you’ve got a hugely time constrained athlete (2-3 hours/week)- do only hard efforts and that will fill up your ‘hard’ bucket and your entire training time allocation at the same rate. If you’ve got a partially time constrained athlete (5-8 hours/week) - maybe doing all Z2 will fill up your ‘hard’ bucket at the same time as the time allocation for training. And if you’ve got a less time constrained athlete then balancing Z3 and Z2 and piling on as much Z1 as you have time for might make the most sense.

If you look at it from this angle, then what TR, and a lot of coaches, seem to be catering to is this middle group - and honestly if you’re falling into that range of available hours then a heavy Z2 dose might make the most sense. And frankly, when I was more time constrained, I saw huge gains from a heavy Z2 diet

To be clear - what I’m saying here is not set in stone and will be different for everyone, but I find it helpful to look at things from a different angle than figuring out how to hit an ideal % allocation in each zone over a set time period.

Recently, I’ve been doing two hard days a week with four pure Seiler Z1 days. I also add in extra Z1 time after the hard sessions if I have time, but that isn’t a guarantee. As a result my recent weeks look like this from an allocation %

For those playing along at home I’m roughly 95% Seiler Z1 and 5% Z3 (40 minutes). Technically would this be polarized or base? Does it even matter?

As I experiment further I will likely be switching to one Z3 session and one Z2 session per week, which will shift my %'s quite a bit, but give me a lot of threshold time (over/unders being my planned poison of choice) which helps with the race specific efforts I plan (hope) to need in 2021 (ok, doubtful we’ll be racing much in the US this year :frowning: )

Anyway, great thread (trolls aside), felt like I owed it a post with my $0.02 after reading all of this from top to bottom


Looks like the one! Thanks!