Polarized Training vs. Sweet Spot (Dylan Johnson video)

I appreciate you posting your data. It is quite interesting when I compare what I have been doing.

I cant yet ride as frequently as you do. I find I need 2 days off the bike each week. Age 60 and riding for last 5 years.

In my recovery weeks I often drop a day or two of riding as I find I just feel fresher. I had 203 days of riding which translates into 250 fewer hours of riding then you did. My time in zones Z3 to Z7 totaled 110 to your 130 hours so most of your extra time compared to me is in the Z1 and Z2 riding. I dont race so this is just me out pushing myself most of the time. I dont ride with others very often. Total rides with others would of be likely 15% of my rides. Most of those would be in the Z2/Z3 areas.

Interesting to look at and see how others ride. I will increase time on the bike again this year. Likely better to push more Z2…

They’re masters, do you expect them to improve year after year??

Some people want to be strong enough to hang with the fast group and once there just want to ride with the fast group. Seems fine. Everyone doesn’t have to ‘progress’ constantly. Doing off seasons and rest weeks when everyone else is still getting to hammer is boring.

Well, it depends! There’s a lot of new Masters who start cycling a few years ago. I am talking about my age group 35-45… so still some potential to improve if you start cycling 3yr ago…

Yes, this is very true. Actually the only thing that really matter is to enjoy what you do🤘🏻

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I’m very curious on when they will re-introduce intensity into your training - even assuming no real racing, or at least limited racing, in 2021 I’m starting to feel like a heavier loading block will be appropriate for me sometime in late Q1, early Q2 of this year, and then back to some combination of base/polarized (depending on your definition of polarized)

I’m fairly convinced this is the new version of the always fatigued, never faster, group rider. As others have said - this is fine, not everyone is focused on improving performance. It is all they know.

Honestly having legitimate ride discipline and riding truly easy on easy days is incredibly hard for most people - took me years to learn it

Volume is incredibly personal and will change as you age and as you increase your years of cycling experience. I did 750 hours last year, but was pretty disciplined about 2:1 ratio on hard:easy weeks (zero intensity on easy weeks for me) and, while I was riding 6 days most weeks, I also was two hard days/week, and nearly everything else was Seiler Z1

I also find I benefit from a week entirely off the bike in the middle of the season as well as at least two weeks entirely off at the end.

Will be different for everyone, but it was a real game changer for me to switch from 3 to 2 intense days/week. My performance improved with the decrease

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It’s all about the timing :wink: and I think some solid intervals are in my near future.

Yes, but I don’t think the never fast thing holds true. Its more faster most for half / three quarters of the year when it doesn’t matter but nowhere to be seen in the middle of summer when normally everyone’s out group riding and IMO when it does matter, longer rides or comps etc. i.e fosters Winter / Early Spring Group Heros… Summer Zeros.

I think they meant never faster compared to the athlete theirself (i.e. never improving)

How I interpreted it as well.

Fair enough, I was just pointing out a various times of year they might be fast compared with others that aren’t yet at their peak.

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Most of the “summer zeros” I’ve encountered are people who got fat and lazy in the off-season.

ABT. Always be training.


i agree… had commented on the video but i’ll comment again,
I think that pyramidal is the long term sustainable approach… Polarized has a place for use during vO2 max blocks when you need to really push hard a few times a week and balance it out with plenty of easy volume for maximal recovery…

for example:
4x8’ seiler seems like a vO2 workout to me… shrugs

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Probably. Does not seem to be as popular a topic as polarized or sweet spot though - 10 posts in this thread vs. 100s in this one :man_shrugging:

That’s because most people are just looking for a shortcut, and haven’t really thought things through on their own.


Yaaasss! All ditto for me. Pre-2019 I never did any real aerobic development rides; full send only. :crazy_face: Started doing long Z2s in 2019…ugly. And now, esp after my last big slow-n-low block…brings a tear to eye.

How it started (15% Pw:Hr) :

How it’s going (0.5% Pw:Hr) :

I finally did it! :partying_face: :rofl:


Very agree. Maybe part of it might be that a lot of TR users are new to cycling/structured training so the first couple of years of THRS+VO2 heavy plans will be well received. After that…? As well, perhaps not all users do a full 3-part plan. Many reasons for lack of burn-out, but just as many reasons for burn-out.


Totes. Once I stopped following the TR “SS” Smashfest and doing more easy volume and less “entertaining” intervals, I could do much higher quality intensity sessions when they came around (vs slogging through 4x week). I too also saw better performance on less intensity/more recovery. I’m probably kinda sorta a Couzen Quick Responder.

Wondering for how many TR users that 4th “hard day” is more detrimental than beneficial?


It should be obvious by now you can get positive results with SSB, SST, POL, or PYR or some combination.
Which plan works best for you might not work best for someone else. Even if you had years to test each variant, this year’s plan may not produce the same results next year. That is especially true if you’re new to training (any age) or a younger rider with evolving fitness or an older rider whose numbers and ability to recover are in decline. The controlling factors are how many hours can you train and how much strain can you handle within those hours. Most important is that you pick a plan, any plan, with goals in mind and execute the plan to the best of your abilities. Then judge the results.
Oh, and that plan could be very flexible as @TheBandit explains in his approach:
Polarized Training vs. Sweet Spot (Dylan Johnson video) - Training - TrainerRoad
So you can take the red pill or you can take the blue pill. Or swallow both if you have the time and inclination.
If you find you like one approach more than another that is the plan you should follow. That is until you change your mind by reading too many forum posts, n=1 opinions, or another study comes along that contradicts what you think you thought you knew.

Extra credit reading: Spurious Correlations (tylervigen.com)

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Maybe so, but they are never fast, and that was not what we were talking about. The subject was Zwift racing 3 times a week year around (no true peak.)

Remember Seiler says that you can totally do sweetspot and threshold work in a polarized training model. Just you have to go deep. So 3x20 with 2 minute rests @ftp would count for an intensity day.

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Others have said this, but just to be clear, I meant never faster as in never progressing, not as in never faster than anyone else.

Or, maybe, always have a purpose.

This is, I think, where the dogmatic interpretation of Polarized does it more harm than good. There are lessons to be learned from Polarized that can apply to Pyramidal or any other ‘model’. You could, for instance, build yourself a very robust plan that maintains some benefits of a Polarized model while getting very close to the Pyramidal distribution - essentially, a sustainable, robust Polarized plan. 1x Threshold, 1x VO2, as much base as you can schedule. Your zone distribution will be more base heavy than pyramidal strictly wants, more Seiler Z2 heavy than polarized wants, but maintaining some of the benefits of both. Not to say an approach like this is perfect, or would work for anyone (myself included) - I lay it out only to highlight that you don’t need to take the exact prescription of any of these models to have success

Crushing it! I’m around 1.9 power/HR right now - not sure I follow the % you have laid out, but going from 0.15 to 0.5 is massive