Polarized training - what are the 3 zones

Agreed. There was a paper posted on the forum (some time in the last year?) which examined volume vs intensity. The conclusion was most people over-value intensity and under-value volume. Even “non-responders” eventually got good gains given enough volume.

But with this being the time-crunched era, volume is disregarded most of the time. The amateurs are paying for intensity-based services; the pro’s are being paid to pursue volume-based training.

1 Like

Aaah, Oh, and Ow.

1 Like

Does the paper about Radcliff say anything about her training? Did she only increase volume, or did she also use specific training sessions to increase speed?

I’m planning a cross country bike trip this year. I’m going to try to keep it in zone 1. Should be interesting

They’re paid to race ~50-70days per year. Plenty of intensity there, no need to kill yourself in training. That’s why many adopt the “ride lots with some stuff” in training

First of all, one has to consider that fat utilisation is highly individual:

Therefore, the edges of a zone with elevated fat ox is highly individual. This is the big caveat here, we trying to apply population based metrices to individuals.

However, conceptionally, I would consider a relevant fat ox range wider:


And this in line what Mark Allen is saying for example: you want to hit that spot where you have high fat ox AND carb ox.

And it simply makes more fun when you’re allowed to ride faster


Do you do any sweet spot, threshold or VO2 stuff in training?

Do you have any recommendations on good reading about the “Mark Allen template”?

1 Like
  1. my tempo sessions are more SST sessions. No threshold as of now. VO2max very sparingly, just last Saturday. I felt I had to do it. Because being old and so …

  2. oldie, but goldie:


I don’t buy entirely into this Maffetone-style of training but I like this fairly clear guidance on base training.


I’m old (55) and follow Joe Friels recommendation of a weekly vo2max session as per his “Fast after 50” book.

Some boat. My body responds really well to 2x per week, plus a long saturday group ride that includes some v02 when things heat up (but not structured). Even if I could do it physically, I don’t think I could mentally do 3 days of structured v02max sessions per week. I find them to be quite miserable, but very productive.

So at the moment, what percentages of FTP / threshold (however you measure it) are your LT1 and MAF HR power?

Fatmax and LT1 should be really close to each other. Asker clear states when he posted that picture in twitter that Fatmax is highly individual and that the chart did not mean fatmax was supposed to occur at 65% of HRmax.

… as your later posts are documenting… carry on

Also, I’m noticing that intervals.icu is getting the zones wrong, as they are only including zone 5 as the high intensity bucket for the TID, when seiler was saying that for the most part his studies have shown that the rowers and skiers were doing their intensity in zone 4 of a traditional 5 zone model. They actually want to stay out of zone 5 as that is too hard.

This is based on recent interviews, so I can’t remember now if @mcneese.chad’s spreadsheet includes threshold as zone 3 of a 3 zone model.

1 Like

LT1 about 80-85%, MAF ~ 85-90%

1 Like

What I’ve come to believe is that not fatmax is the ultimate endpoint but the breadth of the fat ox curve:



And to develop this breadth, which is characteric for a massive diesel:

pro vs moderate active

one has to work on the edge. Which is still the base. For a beginner or someone with poor engine fatmax may be equal to the outer edge, but once you’ve developed an engine this edge moves to the right. And this agrees so well with all my pro strava hacks where they do their “base” and why they do so much lower tempo. It’s this outer edge.

These days people are scared of carbs. Base training to them means only fat. However, once you go the edge you burn plenty of fat but you also need carbs. Therefore, chronically riding base without carbs may stall your development to move this edge out.

1 Like

Here is what I have via Coggan and Seiler info I have compiled. It may well have errors, but is hopefully close.

1 Like

100%. Doing 2x45min tempo tonight and believe me, I’ll be throwing a lot of sugar down my neck during it.


I think your association to power at VO2 Max is off. 120% of FTP is too low (it’s a training prescription, think how SS is used to raise FTP) not the set point. It should be around 128% to 139% of FTP. Note FTP:MAP is around 72%-78%, with 75% used typically which is also the general association cited for FTP:VO2 Max (the ceiling thing). This is why most power veterans (coaches and scientist) at first, second, and third glance don’t see a distinction between this and periodized (e.g. building the pyramid).

1 Like

Your calculations aren’t correct.

Depending on the test protocol and who you are, 100% MAP = 110-125% of VO2max. (I know, confusing, ain’t it?)

Since 100% of FTP normally equates to 80-85% of VO2max, it follows that 118-125% of FTP normally equates to 100% of VO2max.

Obviously, 120% is in between those limits.

Of course, there is also repeatability and VO2 drift to consider, but those push you towards a lower, not a higher, intensity.

1 Like

That may well be true. From memory (since I made the initial sheet around 1.5 years ago), I set the Z3 model with power as a proxy from Seiler’s comments about HR values, and the 6-minute maximal effort. I have not spent significant time on this since getting the bulk of it settled. I make no claim that it’s perfect and offered it as one point of reference (per my limited research).

1 Like