Polarized TID and weekly time in Z5/Z6/Z7

Hi Guys.

Simple question: What’s the max Z5 time recommended for a week at the most peak of the training plan (let’s say the week before Peak phase starts)?

I’ve seeing a lot of 5x5m to be very hard but…

It happens that I’m in a week of about 600 TSS (10 hr) and the TID asks for 18,9% at Z3(Z5+Z6+Z7).
Man, we are talking about 113m in a WEEK! almost 4 workouts with 5x5m at Z5 or above.

I’d appreciate some guidance on this.



@Gato_Felix, the descriptions of Polarised that I’ve seen recommend upper limits for Z3 as either
20 per cent of sessions, or
10 per cent of TiZ.

Even though, for a 600TSS (~10 hours) we would have 1 hour at Z3!
And I know a lot of people who does more than 10 hours in a week.

At 10 h / w, that’s two sessions of 5 x 5.

Next week, my plan is ~ 600 TSS. I’m starting a threshold block. I plan two threshold sessions with about 100 min long intervals [ie, 10 - 15 mins], building up over the block to 145 min. Also, one over-under session of 30-45 min of intervals. Rest is endurance riding, outside if the weather is good. At the end of the block, I’ll be doing ~ 3 h / w Z3.

I’ve done this kind of block before, so it should be do-able. But note that I am not trying to be polarised.

Polarized is not about time, but rather the number of workouts, i.e. 1 in 5, or 2 in 10, sessions is in LT3 for a 3-zone model.

The lower end of LT3 is your 60-minute power (FTP), not the 20-min power *95% that people call their FTP. The upper limit is your best 6-min effort, and not your absolute max power. The upper limit of LT1 is about 80% of your 60m power (FTP), when you don’t have access to lab testing.

So if you schedule a workout in Z3, it could still include time in LT1 and LT2, eg. your warmup, rest between intervals and cool down. The workout though is marked as LT2/3. Adding extra time to a LT3 workout doesn’t dilute it to a LT1/2 workout.

Dr Seiler says it’s the workout quantity that counts as 20%, just like @Michael_Webber has mentioned in his post.

Listen to this podcast - best one I’ve heard.


Till threshold I see no problem.
Above threshold they say max 2 sessions/week. So 2 sessions of 5x5m VO2max would be top but you still have Z6&Z7 to perform not to mention there are people with 1.000TSS per week.
Also I’m 60 years old.

Thank you,

@Gato_Felix, I think that you should not be trying to work out your planning by reference to what others are doing or can do. In particular, people doing 1000 TSS / week are in a different league to most of us. In particular, being older [and I’m older than you], you need to work out what your limits are in terms of intensity, duration and recovery. These are all individual to you.

Now, that said, if you are trying to construct a polarised plan, then I would suggest doing as @Gerald_M says. First, set your zones as he recommends. Then identify your Z3 sessions [threshold, VO2max or sprint] with a frequency of no more than 20% of sessions or 10% of TiZ. If you do 5 workouts / week, then that’s 1 Z3 session / week [or equivalent TiZ]; if 6 workouts / week, it’s 6 Z3 sessions every 5 weeks. And so on. You simply cannot do two VO2max sessions and some Z6/Z7 sessions every week – you’ll have no recovery.

Furthermore, if you set yourself 5 workouts / week,with 20% in Z3, ie 1 Z3/week, then that is the limit, no matter how much TSS you do. In other words: if 1000 TSS / week, then 1 Z3 / week; if 100 TSS / week, then 1 Z3 / week. Polarised is heavy on Z1! [Things are slightly different with the 10% of TiZ as the polarised prescription, of course, but even with 1000 TSS / week, that’s only 100 TSS in Z3, which is less than one hour.]

All of this depends on you and your responses to training, @Gato_Felix. And your time available, etc.

Oh, and there is a group of over-60 members in intervals.icu, @Gato_Felix. They can share their experiences of being an older rider.

I’m already in a polarized plan. 8th month but last week I failed a 180 TSS workout with 53m at Z5 and started to wonder it couldn’t be right.

3 week before I did managed to do a 149 TSS workout with 43m at Z5 so I think I have reached my limit … :slight_smile:

Wow those are nasty … 43m Z5 :frowning:

@Gato_Felix, I am not a coach. But there are people who are far wiser and experienced than me who are discussing the issues of doing VO2 max training. Place that I’d go to for some great discussion is the TrainerRoad Forum, thread = “Sweet spot progression”, which is really devote to exploring not only sweet spot training, but also threshold and VO2 max following and adapting the ideas of Tim Cusick. I’d also pay some attention to another coach whose name comes up frequently on that thread: Kolie Moore.
{I think that you can access the Forum even if you are not a subscriber to TR. It’s long, and it’ll take some days to get through it. But I find it a wonderful discussion – a real world series of self-experiments.]

Worth of listen/reading.

Yes, this guy’s podcasts are generally worth listening to.