An hour at zone 3, is it useful?

A light bike doesn't replace good fitness.

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gurk700
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by gurk700

TobinHatesYou wrote:
Fri Apr 19, 2019 5:42 am
For some, fun is chasing PRs for the umpteenth time up a mountain. For others it's long slow rides with a couple friends, cafe rides, Zwift, gravel fondos, carving up descents, or all of the above. Some others just like to own high-end bikes and don't really ride much. That's fine too.

I like the metrics. I want that 18 minute OLH. If I get it, then I will start the painful progression toward 17 minutes. That's fun for me. The power meter remains one of my best purchases ever.
I’m not even in the 20 min club yet! Need another month :lol:

by Weenie


spartacus
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by spartacus

I’m about 2 weeks into polarized training and yesterday I was climbing much better than I ever have at my current weight, even on a steep 10 mile long MTB climb which would normally kill me. I found I was able to actually recover on the less steep sections instead of eventually blowing up. Not sure if I can attribute any of that to a short amount of training but I’m certainly not doing worse than before. I’m going to stick with it for the next 8 weeks and see how things go then re-evaluate.

dim
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by dim

I have an appointment on Thursday for a bike fit, and next week I will start this training plan (a double century (200 km) after 16 weeks):

https://www.verywellfit.com/bicycling-a ... le-3119434

I will stick with the distances (wednesdays, saturdays and sundays), and will ride these distances in Zone 2. (HR aswell as Power)

I will have mondays and tuesdays as rest days but will use thursdays and fridays for possible interval training... Over and above that, I commute 40+km/day, but will ride slower than normal

The goal will be to ride a 200km Audax ride at the end of the 16 weeks

If that goes well, I will continue with this training, but will increase the distances gradually (I have the time to do it, as I'm self employed)
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iheartbianchi
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by iheartbianchi

spartacus wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 12:15 am
I’m about 2 weeks into polarized training and yesterday I was climbing much better than I ever have at my current weight, even on a steep 10 mile long MTB climb which would normally kill me. I found I was able to actually recover on the less steep sections instead of eventually blowing up. Not sure if I can attribute any of that to a short amount of training but I’m certainly not doing worse than before. I’m going to stick with it for the next 8 weeks and see how things go then re-evaluate.
It could be something as simple as you have actually recovered and are not fatigued on your rides! It typically takes about 10 days for your body to make adapations to any aerobic conditioning, so I would be patient. As mentioned earlier in this thread, the best thing about doing a lot of Zone 2 rides is that it delays the moment when any given effort puts you into Zone 3/4/5.
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AJS914
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by AJS914

I wanted to report what's going on after 8 weeks of polarized training.

First, I'm riding 9-10 hours a week, 4-6 days per week, 1 intensity session (Saturday group ride), and no dedicated interval session. I try to do a 2.5 to 3+ hour ride early in the week. The Saturday group ride is usually 2-2.5 hours and then I tack on an extra 1-1.5 hours of slow so I get two extra long rides per week. The other rides are 1-2 hours of slow with at least one extra slow recovery ride in there. Typical week looks like:

Mon - 2.5+ hours
Tues - 1.5 hours
Wed - rest
Thursday - 1.5 hours
Friday - 1 hour recovery
Saturday - 3+ hours group ride
Sunday - rest

After 8 weeks:

Morning resting HR has a achieved a new low of 40bpm (previous low seen was 46bpm).

My LSD heart rate has been 120bpm (67% of HR max). I chose 120 because trying to ride at 110bpm was excruciatingly slow riding (like 12mph). After 8 weeks I'm seeing myself going faster at even lower HRs. The other day I was feeling good and crusing along at 17-18mph at 110bpm. For the same efforts I'm seeing lower HR across the board.

On my Saturday group ride we do a short climb and a long climb defined by two Strava segments. Week after week I'm setting new PRs on those segments. I'm about 12% faster now on those climbs.

My endurance has improved substantially. A few months ago I was trying to ride 6-10 hours a week and every time I had a high volume week I was exhausted to the point of developing flu like symptoms. I would need to take at least 2 days off the bike after these weeks. For the last several weeks I've consistantly hit 9 hours a week without feeling exhausted or feeling like I needed to make multiple rest days off.

I used to feel absolutely wrecked for the rest of the day after our 3 hour group ride. Now I'm tired but much less fatigued.

dim
Posts: 533
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by dim

AJS914 wrote:
Sun May 05, 2019 4:24 pm
I wanted to report what's going on after 8 weeks of polarized training.

First, I'm riding 9-10 hours a week, 4-6 days per week, 1 intensity session (Saturday group ride), and no dedicated interval session. I try to do a 2.5 to 3+ hour ride early in the week. The Saturday group ride is usually 2-2.5 hours and then I tack on an extra 1-1.5 hours of slow so I get two extra long rides per week. The other rides are 1-2 hours of slow with at least one extra slow recovery ride in there. Typical week looks like:

Mon - 2.5+ hours
Tues - 1.5 hours
Wed - rest
Thursday - 1.5 hours
Friday - 1 hour recovery
Saturday - 3+ hours group ride
Sunday - rest

After 8 weeks:

Morning resting HR has a achieved a new low of 40bpm (previous low seen was 46bpm).

My LSD heart rate has been 120bpm (67% of HR max). I chose 120 because trying to ride at 110bpm was excruciatingly slow riding (like 12mph). After 8 weeks I'm seeing myself going faster at even lower HRs. The other day I was feeling good and crusing along at 17-18mph at 110bpm. For the same efforts I'm seeing lower HR across the board.

On my Saturday group ride we do a short climb and a long climb defined by two Strava segments. Week after week I'm setting new PRs on those segments. I'm about 12% faster now on those climbs.

My endurance has improved substantially. A few months ago I was trying to ride 6-10 hours a week and every time I had a high volume week I was exhausted to the point of developing flu like symptoms. I would need to take at least 2 days off the bike after these weeks. For the last several weeks I've consistantly hit 9 hours a week without feeling exhausted or feeling like I needed to make multiple rest days off.

I used to feel absolutely wrecked for the rest of the day after our 3 hour group ride. Now I'm tired but much less fatigued.
a question .... as I understand it, the polarised training is calculated on a 3 zone system vs the standard 7 zone system .... how to you calculate what the correct power (or heart rate) to use based on the 3 zone system?
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calleking
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by calleking

Z1 limit is close to Lactate Threshold or ventilatory threshold 1 (LT1/VT1). Z2 limit is also close to LT2/V2.

Stephen Seiler mentions in the Trainingpeaks podcast episode that a better way to find LT1 would be to take your max hr and subtract your resting heart rate. For for me the span is 205-40 = 165. According to another study of well trained cyclists their LT1 measured in a lab was resting heart rate + 60% of that span calculated above (0,6*165): 40 + 99 = 139 BMP.

As far as Z3 goes you can test it in a lab or estimate it. It should basically be your LTHR. Z3 training in a polarized model is all about accumulating time close to 90% of HRMax. There's more than one way to skin a cat but avoid going too hard (+95%) as that seems to create stress hormones that are counterproductive and prolongs recovery. Professionals tend to to save those efforts for key races/events.

Training should also be paced and harder is not always better. If it's easier to accumulate lots of time at 87-88% of HRMax by doing lots of threshold work then go for it. Some world class athletes had 6x10 at threshold as their bread and butter workout.
Last edited by calleking on Sun May 05, 2019 6:43 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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AJS914
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by AJS914

Slippage

The break points are the LT1 and LT2:

https://iqo2.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/artic ... sis-means-

http://baronbiosys.com/sweet-spot-thres ... e-numbers/

It doesn't have to be super complicated. LT1 is around 60% of max HR and LT2 is the equivalent of your FTP HR. The thing is that you can easily do polarized training with just a HR monitor. It's really easy to figure out 60% of max HR and you don't need a power meter to do a maximum effort intervals of 2, 4, 8 or whatever minutes.

I highly recommend listening to the Velonews podcasts linked earlier in the thread.

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TheKaptone
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by TheKaptone

Had a listen to some if the velonews podcast. Some very interesting ideas and we'll explained

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iheartbianchi
Posts: 306
Joined: Sun Mar 24, 2019 9:17 am

by iheartbianchi

AJS914 wrote:
Sun May 05, 2019 4:24 pm
My LSD heart rate has been 120bpm (67% of HR max). I chose 120 because trying to ride at 110bpm was excruciatingly slow riding (like 12mph). After 8 weeks I'm seeing myself going faster at even lower HRs. The other day I was feeling good and crusing along at 17-18mph at 110bpm. For the same efforts I'm seeing lower HR across the board.

On my Saturday group ride we do a short climb and a long climb defined by two Strava segments. Week after week I'm setting new PRs on those segments. I'm about 12% faster now on those climbs.

My endurance has improved substantially. A few months ago I was trying to ride 6-10 hours a week and every time I had a high volume week I was exhausted to the point of developing flu like symptoms. I would need to take at least 2 days off the bike after these weeks. For the last several weeks I've consistantly hit 9 hours a week without feeling exhausted or feeling like I needed to make multiple rest days off.

I used to feel absolutely wrecked for the rest of the day after our 3 hour group ride. Now I'm tired but much less fatigued.
This is fantastic news, and is really the point of going slow. You are not fatigued, so you can ride more often and longer. What that means is, your speed at a given aerobic heart rate zone (for you, 120bpm) naturally increases, i.e., you go faster for the same effort. This is because your body is riding more often and is recovering sufficiently to make aerobic adaptations (more capillaries, more mitochondria, oxygen efficiency, heart/lung strength, muscular endurance). Of course there is a peak/plateau to this process, but that only occurs after something like 5 years of very high level (elite level) aerobic training.

Some elite coaches (not the ones that market themselves as elite, but really elite ones coaching only world class endurance athletes) interestingly use a very unique measure for aerobic fitness. This is not VO2Max/lactate or power (they do look at these things). They instead look first at their athlete's resting heart rate as a measure of their aerobic fitness. Because the lower it is, that means it will take much more stress to raise it, which means they can go faster for longer. Or in layman's terms, they have more aerboic bang in the bank (it is easy to go from a resting HR of 70 to 120, but a lot harder to go from a resting HR of 40 to 120!).

One thing to keep in mind though is, long slow miles are terrific for your aerobic conditioning and as you can see, you are getting serious aerobic benefits which is probably the most important thing you can do for your overall health and ability to ride faster. BUT, there is a key piece of the puzzle that is missing: long slow miles will invariably build aerobic conditioning + muscular endurance. What it will NOT do, is build muscular strength or bone density. These are also essential for high power efforts. So what you are seeing now is a gradual increase in your ability to spin your pedals due to muscular endurance, but not necessarily an increase in your ability to spin your pedals harder due to muscular strength. So you need to develop additional muscle fibers, as opposed to merely strengthening the ones you already have. The best way to achieve this is, short sprints (or maybe intervals), and weight training (squats! and more squats!). This is something you should definitely build into your routine at some point, if you have not done so already. I recommend 2-3 squat sessions a week (focus on high reps), and maybe a day where you throw in 3-5 short 30 second sprints with full recovery during your slow easy rides.

Going into interval training is a mixed bag for amateurs, since it's not a really good substitute for building muscular strength given how much it takes away from you in terms of fatigue, and it's real purpose is raising your Vo2max which studies have shown for amateurs can be just as effectively improved doing slow miles and short sprints (see studies cited in earlier posts).
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dim
Posts: 533
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by dim

iheartbianchi wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 8:39 am
AJS914 wrote:
Sun May 05, 2019 4:24 pm
My LSD heart rate has been 120bpm (67% of HR max). I chose 120 because trying to ride at 110bpm was excruciatingly slow riding (like 12mph). After 8 weeks I'm seeing myself going faster at even lower HRs. The other day I was feeling good and crusing along at 17-18mph at 110bpm. For the same efforts I'm seeing lower HR across the board.

On my Saturday group ride we do a short climb and a long climb defined by two Strava segments. Week after week I'm setting new PRs on those segments. I'm about 12% faster now on those climbs.

My endurance has improved substantially. A few months ago I was trying to ride 6-10 hours a week and every time I had a high volume week I was exhausted to the point of developing flu like symptoms. I would need to take at least 2 days off the bike after these weeks. For the last several weeks I've consistantly hit 9 hours a week without feeling exhausted or feeling like I needed to make multiple rest days off.

I used to feel absolutely wrecked for the rest of the day after our 3 hour group ride. Now I'm tired but much less fatigued.
This is fantastic news, and is really the point of going slow. You are not fatigued, so you can ride more often and longer. What that means is, your speed at a given aerobic heart rate zone (for you, 120bpm) naturally increases, i.e., you go faster for the same effort. This is because your body is riding more often and is recovering sufficiently to make aerobic adaptations (more capillaries, more mitochondria, oxygen efficiency, heart/lung strength, muscular endurance). Of course there is a peak/plateau to this process, but that only occurs after something like 5 years of very high level (elite level) aerobic training.

Some elite coaches (not the ones that market themselves as elite, but really elite ones coaching only world class endurance athletes) interestingly use a very unique measure for aerobic fitness. This is not VO2Max/lactate or power (they do look at these things). They instead look first at their athlete's resting heart rate as a measure of their aerobic fitness. Because the lower it is, that means it will take much more stress to raise it, which means they can go faster for longer. Or in layman's terms, they have more aerboic bang in the bank (it is easy to go from a resting HR of 70 to 120, but a lot harder to go from a resting HR of 40 to 120!).

One thing to keep in mind though is, long slow miles are terrific for your aerobic conditioning and as you can see, you are getting serious aerobic benefits which is probably the most important thing you can do for your overall health and ability to ride faster. BUT, there is a key piece of the puzzle that is missing: long slow miles will invariably build aerobic conditioning + muscular endurance. What it will NOT do, is build muscular strength or bone density. These are also essential for high power efforts. So what you are seeing now is a gradual increase in your ability to spin your pedals due to muscular endurance, but not necessarily an increase in your ability to spin your pedals harder due to muscular strength. So you need to develop additional muscle fibers, as opposed to merely strengthening the ones you already have. The best way to achieve this is, short sprints (or maybe intervals), and weight training (squats! and more squats!). This is something you should definitely build into your routine at some point, if you have not done so already. I recommend 2-3 squat sessions a week (focus on high reps), and maybe a day where you throw in 3-5 short 30 second sprints with full recovery during your slow easy rides.

Going into interval training is a mixed bag for amateurs, since it's not a really good substitute for building muscular strength given how much it takes away from you in terms of fatigue, and it's real purpose is raising your Vo2max which studies have shown for amateurs can be just as effectively improved doing slow miles and short sprints (see studies cited in earlier posts).
good post .... from what I have learned so far about polarized training, is that there is 2 sides to it

i.e you should not do every ride in zone 2 .... every 4 days, you need to do fast intervals
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AJS914
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by AJS914

I think the key is to first build the base. We have all read and heard about that forever but I don't think most people know how to implement it. I'd bet that many people think that since they have been riding for some years that they can just skip the base building period. I can tell you have I was in that position with a few thousand miles in my legs every year for the last several years yet I'm seeing substantial gains after 8 weeks of intential long, slow distance polarized training. Prior to this I was riding with much more intensity and constantly fatigued and in a plateau. Throughout these 8 weeks I'm still doing one group ride per week. You can easily call that my one ride with intenstity every week. On that ride I get a lot time at tempo, threshold, and VO2 max.

For the kind of riding I do, that one session a week of intenstity might be just enough. It certainly works with the 80/20 rule. I was going to do this base period for a full 12 weeks and then try and introduce some dedicated intervals to see what happens.

iheartbianchi
Posts: 306
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by iheartbianchi

AJS914 wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 9:42 pm
I think the key is to first build the base.
I saw an interesting post in a much older thread, where a poster said any kind of riding (including intervals or Z3/4/5 riding) contributes to base. While technically this is true, at harder efforts your body is making entirely different adapations (again cited in an earlier post in this thread), such as maximum oxygen capacity (i.e., Vo2Max as opposed to oxygen efficiency) and lactate threshold. Several posters in this thread went on to dismiss Z2 efforts as "junk miles" and a waste of time, or that base building is an outdated mode of training. The funny thing is, the hype around interval training really began in the 1970s, starting in the USA. Shortly following this trend, the USA has suffered several decades of poor performance at elite endurance sports, falling far behind Africa and Europe, despite very high participation rates and funding rates relatively speaking. So in fact, the focus on a lot of intervals and fast training is actually decades old, and has had spotty success. The proponents of hard training refer to "base" in nebulous terms, without ever going into detail about what is achieved in Zone 2 (in the 5 zone system).

Very recent studies (past 3-10 years) have shown that Zone 2 is nearly as effective at increasing your Vo2Max as interval training over the same time period, and that short sprints (SIIT) is just as, if not more effective, at increasing neuromuscular responses and muscular strength than interval training (HIIT). In terms of capillarization and production of mitochondria, Zone 2 is the most effective.

So when we talk about "building base," I think people really need to understand what that means. It means building capillaries and mitochondria so your cardiovascular system can more efficiently utilize oxygen (use less) to produce power through your existing muscles. And when we talk about "adding speed," we are really talking about (1) building more muscle fibers, (2) learning to develop further efficiencies (more biomechanical and neruomuscular) at higher power outputs and (3) improving your body's ability to remove and process lactate.

Vo2Max is something that is achieved equally in Zone 2 or higher thresholds. The reason why people recommend Vo2Max specific training (i.e., shorter interval reps) is because it is believed to be more time efficient. Yes, it is, but that's only half the story. By doing Vo2Max specific training, for most amateurs you really need to take it easy the day before and a day or two after for recovery, so you lose out on 3, maybe even 4 days of quality aerobic training because you end up doing recovery training to compensate for that one Vo2Max session. But yes, time spent in Vo2Max training in shorter when doing intervals, but is it really worth it? For a highly trained elite athlete, they can recover faster, and don't need to take it so slow the day before or the days after, so as a fine-tune before an event, yes it is worth it. But for the average amateur? I'd say 3-4 quality Zone 2 rides for 120 minutes with a few short sprints thrown in throughout is much more effective than 1 really hard (and shortish) Vo2Max session for 45 minutes (not counting the literal junk warmup and cooldown minutes, although the rest between sets is beneficial from an aerobic perspective since your HR remains elevated) preceded by a Zone 2 ride the day before and easy recovery rides the day (or two) afterwards.

"Sweet spot" attempts to merge these types of training and honestly, for an amateur it seems promising. But it's very new, and there's not a lot of science behind it (yet), so I'm very reluctant to recommend this over the proven holistic system used by elite endurance athletes, which is a lot of slow miles with speed and weight training sprinkled in. The British and GCN seem to love "sweet spot" though!
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onemanpeloton
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by onemanpeloton

iheartbianchi wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 5:51 am
"Sweet spot" attempts to merge these types of training and honestly, for an amateur it seems promising. But it's very new, and there's not a lot of science behind it (yet), so I'm very reluctant to recommend this over the proven holistic system used by elite endurance athletes, which is a lot of slow miles with speed and weight training sprinkled in. The British and GCN seem to love "sweet spot" though!
It's popular as a base in the Trainer Road training software too and people have reported some good improvements
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by Weenie


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TonyM
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by TonyM

Funny that we seem to come back to the old days when I was training in the early 80s...LOL...
Base miles (at that time it was said at least 2500km to 3000km low gear high cadence low effort), then base miles and sprints (usually up to the sign of the town), and then power session in the first races...
Ok now it is scientic based training.

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