Seiler TEDx talk

How “normal people” can train like the worlds best endurance athletes

Seems like every discussion I see on this guys work or interviews, no one can quite agree on some arcane detail or other of what he’s prescribing. Somehow I doubt this will add any clarity. Go!


Massively grateful for TR this year through base build and speciality with a FTP increase of ~100 (basically started the year as a noob) for a 170km climbing road race. I did feel though the missing element was preparing for 7/8 hours in the saddle, and looking to add in some long base stuff this offseason for that. I did also feel the long year of intervals burnt me out massively and my hunch is building fitness on a lack of any aerobic base, being a rookie, and over-intervalling as I love to train caused this. In saying that i owe my pretty successful year to TR but have been reading about Seiler to address the above. Anyone felt similar?


I think a lot of people jump into structure too early, ride your bike as often as possible outside, enjoy the experience and progress in whatever direction it takes you naturally. It’ll likely become clear what you feel you need to do to get better. Then add the structure.


Yeah - agree in hindsight. Weather is terrible where I live so seemed like the best option at the time.

Fully accept weather can play a big role in decision making :+1::+1:

Heh, I jumped into structure early because I wasn’t enjoying the experience outside, riding in a beautiful but very hilly area and unable to climb the hills without stopping. It was infuriating and humiliating, every ride was a constant reminder of failure and lack of fitness.

There are lots of ways to have fun on a bike, inside and outside. I don’t think there’s a universal best practice for getting started. Ride the way you like to ride. :metal:


It’s clear…A measurable and noticeable change in ventilation, HR, O2 consumption and blood lactate occur at two relative intensity points to which further define three intensity zones. Most if not all elite endurance athletes spend the majority of time in zone 1 of 3. Roughly 8 of 10 workouts in zone 1 and the rest in zone 3. Very little time in zone 2.

The question he and every other person is debating is knowing if the amateur and week end warrior hobbyist should use the same distribution on a scaled down version of the elite professional athlete?

He says yes. It does scale down. Training is stress that can cause adaptation and if too much burn out. So he’s huge into being persistent and mostly easy/enjoyable. Go longer not harder.


He clearly leaves one very important detail out of the equation and that is " Normal People have a normal life which includes a day job, family and chores" unlike professional athletes who can clock in 20 hours a week and still have time to relax and recover after long rides.


True, but that might also be an argument in favour of following a scaled down version of what the pros do, rather than doing more intensity to compensate for lower volume. Chores, jobs, etc are all forms of stress. They aren’t making you fitter like an extra 10 hours of training would, but they can have just as much if not more impact on recovery and on how often you can go hard.

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I like to relabel his Green and Red zones as Health and Fitness zones.

The Green zone has immense benefits. Spend as much time in it as you can for your general overall heath.

The Red zone is all about fitness and performance. If you are in a competition of any kind, train in the Red zone. Otherwise, you could probably skip the pain and still be very well off just doing Green zone intensity.


Last spring I dialed all the intensity down. I did 12 solid week of base miles. That was about 10-12 hours a week of all long slow distance miles plus one 3 hour group ride with intensity.

This totally transformed my fitness. It gave me increased endurance and stamina. My FTP went up about 25 watts and I broke all my key Strava PRs by 10-15%. After this I was recovering much better from the 3 hour group rides.

I’m 100% convinced that you need the base miles so you can do the hard work without it burying you.


what did you base your long slow stuff off? Feel? HR? Power? Having done some easy rides on the trainer lately I can see my hr/power drift is pretty big so curious to know what others are doing

What did you do before?

What % of ftp are we talking here? Nice work!

Oh that brings back memories!


I set my power level at about 70-72% of FTP then keep my HR in the 65-75%of max HR range. As the interval progresses I adjust the intensity down ( I’m in Erg mode) to keep my HR in that range. When it gets to 95% I’ve started to stop the interval and have a bit of a rest then repeat. This over a 1 hour interval.

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To answer the questions - “what I was doing before?”. I was trying to increase my volume to around 10 hours a week. I was trying to do intervals once or twice a week. I’d end up chasing some Strava KOMs and I’d do my big Saturday group ride. A 10 hour week of that was just burying me and my 3 hour group ride would leave me on the couch for the rest of the day and still tired on Sunday.

I’d have to do an easy 5-6 hour week the next week just to recover. So it was going like that week after week and I wasn’t really getting much fitter. I’ve been riding for 30+ years and had never done a real solid block of base miles. After reading and listening to Seiler I decided to give polarized a try.

I did my low intensity based on Seiler’s recommended 60-70% of HR max. One thing I like about Seiler’s 3 zone model is how easy it is to follow. You don’t even need a power meter on the road to do it.

After the base mile block 20 minute power went from 240 to 265. I just ended the year with a 290 20 minute power (275 ftp).

Honestly, more than the FTP gains the increase in endurance and stamina felt substantial. The 3 hour Saturday ride no longer buried me. I could ride 10-12 hours a week, week in and week out without fatigue.

After the 12 week base block I started mixing in tempo intervals (like 2x15, 3x10, 3x20). Once I got accustomed to those I was able to increase the intensity of those intervals to sweet spot range. Occasionally I’d bust out some threshold intervals.

I’m designing my training plan for next year. I’m going to start weight lifting. I’m going to do a lot of base again but I’m going to try to mix in a once a week VO2max set since I now have the fitness to handle it.


Rides in the green zone can drive real adaptations and improve vo2max from below. Or the green zone rides are simply maintaining aerobic fitness and providing enough recovery to do hard workouts in the yellow and red zones. Either way, I can’t mentally label green rides with some generic “health” tag :smiley:

More simply, Green=number of matches. Red=how hot the match burns.


love it!

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