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.