The greatest challenge in training is being able to see the big picture, as well as the details. And knowing when to focus on which.
We should recognise that there are many pieces to the puzzle, all the while understanding that some pieces probably take priority over others.
Quick summary of the key points from this course
If you are able to walk away from this course knowing the following, and applying it in your training, you should be off to a good start in the chase for a better power to weight ratio.
Polarized training involves spending the majority of training hours on low or high intensity, with little or no time on moderate intensity (“threshold training”).
This model has been shown to achieve good results for amateur and highly trained athletes alike. As of today, polarized training probably remains the best documented training model as far as scientific evidence is concerned.
You should not mistaken the above as proof that polarized training is the only, nor always the best way of becoming a faster cyclist.
However, there can be little doubt that polarized training is a well tolerated and easy to implement strategy to improve performance levels for moderate and well trained cyclists alike.
Training load is made up by the volume and intensity of training (duration x intensity).
It is well established that there is a strong correlation between training load and athletic ability. The bigger training load you exert on your body over time, the higher performance level your body will adapt to.
It therefor follows that a key step to becoming a stronger cyclist is ensuring a gradual increase in training load over time.
Training load can be increased by:
- training harder (higher intensity)
- training longer (more hours)
In real life, this usually means either:
- extending the duration of intervals
- increasing the number of repetitions per interval session
- increasing the frequency of interval sessions
- increasing the duration of easy rides
- increasing the frequency of easy rides
Any increase in training load should be carefully matched to your background. You should be training and recovering comfortably at your current load before considering moving on to a more challenging plan.
The polarized 3 week cycle
The polarized 3 week cycle uses a similar 2:1 ratio of high and low training load weeks to that seen in the 2015 study by Stöggl and Sperlich (1).
The initial two weeks are intended to drive development of physical capacity. The third week of each cycle is to ensure sufficient time for recovery and adaptation, while maintaining sufficient stimuli to avoid detraining.
This cycle, with progressions can be used as a continuous 9 week program, as demonstrated in the 250, 400 and 600 training plan included in this course.
Alternatively, you can choose to use the 3 week cycle as a regular “block” of polarized training, interspersed with other training models. The total training load of your 3 week cycle should normally be expected to increase according to your fitness level throughout the year.
This completes the theory module on polarized training.
I wish you best of luck with your training for the time to come. I am excited to hear what you will be able to achieve with this.