Think doing HIT all week long and racing in the winter is going to help your race season? Think again

:grinning: Thought that might catch some attention…

But seriously. with all the online training and racing platforms out there, there seems to be a trend of cyclists doing hard efforts all year long, even in the winter, and trying to pack in shit loads of HIT sessions week after week – online races, several HIT training sessions a week, etc, etc. Does the science actually support this as an effective training approach? You think hammering all year long will make you fitter and faster in the race season, or just in general if you don’t race? According to coach Jeff Beers, think again. You may not be doing your performance a service and not letting your body go through the proven physiological adaptations required to increase fitness, vs, just maintaining a mediocre, lawn mower (flat and monotonous) like performance all year long, constantly in a half assed and in limbo state between fatigue and peak fitness.

Check out the research.

First, listen to this podcast of Beers describing the new research and findings: (this is an awesome podcast series, btw)

Then you can read his white paper:’s-WHITE-PAPER-2016-Smarter-Training.pdf

Once you get through this, discuss the concepts amongst yourselves and what implications it might have on our training plans and approaches. :slight_smile:


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Polarized training has been extensively discussed here:

Aero here: Aero Deep Dive in The Specialized Win Tunnel – Ask a Cycling a Coach 188

If you’d like to discuss further, I’d recommend posting in the threads linked


File this under obvious?
Who around here is advocating for the hard all the time approach as stated in the OP?

The most likely audience for this concept are the people over in Zwift that are racing all the way through the week and winter season.

Most people here are following the TR plans that do a fine job of balancing work and rest.




Or, just let people do what they’re going to do. Then let your legs do your talking on race day.

When all said and done, whatever plan we do or don’t follow, it counts for nothing if you can’t employ it on the day.

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There is another way of looking at it though…

There’s a core of people (myself included) that are using Zwift racing over the winter as training. I’ve ben chosing races that have a certain profile so I can get in particular efforts, then rest in the blob until the next one. For example, I needed to do two 20 minute sweet spot efforts with five min recovery in between. Found a race on the Insbruck course that went up the climb twice, and rode it to the defined power. The fact that I was racing others was a bonus. Many people do the same, and only really go deep in races they want to win. My average 95% 20 min efforts in Zwift is around 4.1W/kg, which is sweetspot range.

I’m of the school of thought that the traditional base model works only if you have the hours to put in that stress the systems through duration rather than intesity. If you don’t have the hours neccessary, you’ll not get anywhere through 1hr zone 2 rides.

No Go Zones

The No Go Zones artice is an interesting read.

Totally agree that Zwift racing can be used successfully in a plan.

And this isn’t really about Traditional Base vs other approaches either.

The OP is on about too much intensity all the time. We all know it’s bad. Following a plan is one way to avoid that mistake. And considering that most here are probably following a TR plan for most of their training, it seems an odd discussion here.

Sure many of the TR plan users substitute outside rides, races and similar Zwift events, but they are generally doing it in context of a plan with appropriate intensity (high and low) at the desired levels.

My point about Zwift and racing stems from the fact that many really enjoy doing them in direct replacement of training. They do races and almost only races. Most get a nice bump initially, but that continued path leads to stagnation or other issues.

Edit to add: This just seems like preaching to the choir to me. Wrong audience, IMHO.

(That’s a slide deck, not a white paper.)

The link to the published article with citations is here:

There seems to be a surge of new investigation that is questioning past training truths and conventions. This is great for everyone.

If anyone has direct insight into how Trainer Road (and Zwift) compare to conventional and emerging thinking it would be great to hear more.

I also think there is a big opportunity to shift some discussion from racing and competition towards serious recreational riders.

I’d love to hear more about how average people can adopt structured training.


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Can you expand a bit on what you mean by serious recreational riders? I’m thinking you mean those that will enter a Sportif rather than a race? Or riding to simply improve fitness or loose weight?

I just mean people that take their riding seriously.

I don’t race. But I do continually push myself to ride harder MTB trails, ride faster, and improve my skills.
I travel to ride 5-10 times a year so those are my “critical dates” I work around. I keep striving to ride red and double black trails.

This past season I started an MTB instruction company with 2 friends, which has given me some new motivation to advance to PMBIA Level 2 and instruct other serious riders. I had one groups of 20 year olds this season that were just flat-out faster and fitter then me. We still had a great session, but the level of fitness and teaching has to be so much higher. Hence, I train…

I think indoor training is still a mysterious and intimidating thing for many riders, partly because it’s serviced from serious competitive theory and practice.

So I keep learning and abstracting from different sources.


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I read through the slides, to summarise the main points, and please correct me if I’m wrong

  • The bulk of your training should be in the zone 55-80% of max HR

  • Follow a structured plan rather than a random high intensity workout

  • Don’t overdo it, recovery and sleep are important

  • Fuel properly, eat well

  • HIIT gives best results in a structured plan, you should go from a base phase to a build phase as you move towards actual racing.

Sounds a lot like the trainer road plan to me? What am I missing?

ETA: can’t believe that @mcneese.chad added bullet points to my post #punctuationpolice :wink:


LOL, I really liked your post and thought some emphasis could help, @Jonnyboy .

Sorry for my OCD :stuck_out_tongue:

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