Polarized training

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5 Aug
8:52am, 5 Aug 2022
5067 posts
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Oscar the Grouch
15s isn't long enough for Garmin to detect the move to the faster speed and back, hence the time appearing slow.
5 Aug
8:54am, 5 Aug 2022
5068 posts
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Oscar the Grouch
Also, your heart won't have opportunity/need in 15 seconds (much like the Garmin) to react and with 2.30 rest, it is getting way back to normal. I'm *not* saying the session hasn't done you good, just that the stats associated with it, compared to how you felt, are off for good reason
5 Aug
9:48am, 5 Aug 2022
37860 posts
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My usual setup is 10 sec sprints with a 5 sec lead in to get a rolling start. I mainly use peak speed to measure things with an eye for average but appreciating it can lag.

HR monitors can't react fast enough is my experience. HR isn't the point of the session though
5 Aug
12:53pm, 5 Aug 2022
4415 posts
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Thanks. Peak speed showed 1:43/KM which is bit more believable but I'll just rely on visual landmarks to gauge how I am doing.

I had track today and the legs were fresh enough to hit my reps so I'll keep the hill reps in.

Strides felt a bit better today but that's probably in my head.
5 Aug
5:52pm, 5 Aug 2022
1166 posts
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I use the same hill start at the same point and just keep a eye on where I am finishing the reps. I do them on a hill with trees at the side so I can also count the trees on my jog back down.

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About This Thread

Maintained by Canute
Polarised training is a form of training that places emphasis on the two extremes of intensity. There is a large amount of low intensity training (comfortably below lactate threshold) and an appreciable minority of high intensity training (above LT).

Polarised training does also include some training near lactate threshold, but the amount of threshold training is modest, in contrast to the relatively high proportion of threshold running that is popular among some recreational runners.

Polarised training is not new. It has been used for many years by many elites and some recreational runners. However, it has attracted great interest in recent years for two reasons.

First, detailed reviews of the training of many elite endurance athletes confirms that they employ a polarised approach (typically 80% low intensity, 10% threshold and 10% high intensity. )

Secondly, several scientific studies have demonstrated that for well trained athletes who have reached a plateau of performance, polarised training produces greater gains in fitness and performance, than other forms of training such as threshold training on the one hand, or high volume, low intensity training on the other.

Much of the this evidence was reviewed by Stephen Seiler in a lecture delivered in Paris in 2013 .

In case you cannot access that lecture by Seiler in 2013, here is a link to his more recent TED talk.

This has less technical detail than his 2013 talk, but is nonetheless a very good introduction to the topic. It should be noted that from the historical perspective, Seiler shows a US bias.

Here is another useful video by Stephen Seiler in which he discusses the question of the optimum intensity and duration of low intensity sessions. Although the answer ‘depends on circumstances’ he proposes that a low intensity session should be long enough to reach the point where there are detectable indications of rising stress (either the beginning of upwards drift of HR or increased in perceived effort). If longer than this, there is increasing risk of damaging effects. A session shorter than this might not be enough to produce enough stress to achieve a useful training effect.


The coach who probably deserves the greatest credit for emphasis on the value of low intensity training was Arthur Lydiard, who coached some of the great New Zealanders in the 1960's and Scandinavians in the 1970’s. One of his catch-phrases was 'train, don't strain'. However Lydiard never made it really clear what he meant by ‘quarter effort’. I have discussed Lydiard’s ideas on several occasions on my Wordpress blog. For example: canute1.wordpress.com

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