So I’m currently in the pre-base phase of my training program doing only endurance rides below LTP - actually they are almost always around LT1/VT1 as I usually try to keep it safe and be recovered for intervals.
My question is regarding these intervals in a polarized model. From what I have read polarization does not start until build/peak phase in Xert. Why is this?
If you listen to the vast numbers of podcasts where Stephen Seiler is part of he mentions over and over that the physiological adaptations are contributed by accumulating time at around 90% of VO2Max twice a week but also by doing easy and longer rides stimulating an increase in capillary density and mitochondrial efficiency.
As far as I know there is no mention about only doing endurance rides during a base phase which is what is prescribed when using program phase that Xert is using. I have not heard Seiler mention that a polarized approach is what you do the last 6 weeks leading into an event.
I wish I could only follow what Xert prescribes but I’m afraid of missing out on important adaptations during the months leading up to the build/peak phase.
Has anyone got more insight into this?
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I do not think anyone has advocated solely zone 1 (Seiler zones) during base.
Certainly as you move nearer to competition your Zone 3 work will increase in volume and intensity but there is certainly benefit in working at zone 3 during base - perhaps with lower intensity. With VO2max - use it or lose it.
According to how the time constants work in modeling your fitness signature changes, you’re available training time should be used to build lower training load first before high and peak since it takes longer for it to increase. Hence, doing endurance during base will ensure you have the highest lower training load before working on your high and peak.
As you notice with pretty much everything Xert, we don’t try and model physiology since this isn’t so easy and is often controversial. Just look at the polarized vs. threshold training debate. Instead, we follow what the data says. You may disagree with that and that’s ok. You can choose to follow other training methods but at least you’ll see how these may translate into breakthroughs and fitness gains in Xert. There could be ways that accelerate (or slow down) improvements that aren’t represented in our low/high/peak training load models. But ultimately these should show in the data, i.e. you’ll see higher / lower fitness signature values relative to their training loads.
I remember Seiler acknowledging in one of the podcasts he was a guest on (I’ve listened to so many I can’t remember which one) that cycling was different to other sports in that the range of intensities in an event (TT’s and such like excepted) was greater than in other endurance sports.
He therefore said that even in his model there was a place for more time within his Z2 than would be suggested with a polarized model.
Thank you for the answers which I find pretty interesting. Xert is no doubt very different to other training platforms and methods - in a good way. I was actually prescribed to do some high intensity intervals during my pre-base period the other day, which means that Xert mostly prescribes workouts under LTP.
Will be interesting to see how much LTP vs High/Peak focus Xert will suggest doing the coming weeks/months.
Thank you Karl.
What I find interesting too is that a couple of other athletes have commented recently that they are getting higher intensity during the base phase. Seems like the ranking method will introduce more intensity during the base phase, based on your current training status. This makes sense since if you come into a training program with a lot of fitness, pure low intensity base phase may see you lose fitness since you run out of time to train whereas if you come into it with lower overall fitness, pure low intensity will be more effective. We didn’t design it this way but it appears that the ranking method does this automatically.