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Polarized training

74 watchers
28 Mar
7:11pm, 28 Mar 2021
4156 posts
  • 0
Im not sure what Garmin does with HRV data. I can see my stress goes up when I have a glass of red but otherwise, I'm generally less than 20.

Some measure HRV first thing in the morning, for a consistent baseline using apps like HRV4Training / Kubious or HRV Expert by cardiomood etc. (The last one Android) gives quite a lot of information and can export to text file).

Some apps will give you a number to represent stress / training load. Others will give you more detail on RMSSD, PNN50 etc

I dabbled in it a bit years ago but just found the readings not reflective of how I felt. I might be an exception though because no matter the measure, my stress rate is always very low.
29 Mar
3:33pm, 29 Mar 2021
2413 posts
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A few years ago I measured HR and HRV (based on exporting the R-R output from my Polar RS800CX, recorded during 3 minutes of rest shortly after getting up each morning). I computed log(RMSSD), which is a measure of beat-to-beat variability and reflects the state of the parasympathetic nervous system (the rest and digest system). I found these measurements useful provided I interpreted them in light of my subjective sense of energy/fatigue. At times, especially during heavy training, it was useful to have an objective measure to confirm my subjective sensations.

It would be a waste of my time nowadays.

Nonetheless I have been intrigued by the stress reading provided by my Garmin VA3. That was Christmas present from my wife 15 months ago, and was never intended to be a serious aid to training. The biggest problem is that it often gives a very unreliable HR reading on my slender wrist when I am moving. However, the stress reading, which I presume is based mainly on HRV, behaves consistently during rest. During my recent programme of heavy lifting aimed at recovering my former strength, I found that the stress reading taken at rest between sets of squats or deadlifts was a useful guide to how much stress I was accumulating in the session. Immediately after a very heavy set, the VA3 usually gave a very low stress reading (and corresponding low HR, often even lower than my usual resting HR). This was probably because of a compensatory burst of parasympathetic activity triggered by release of intra-thoracic pressure. (I have to control the release of intra-thoracic pressure to avoid risk of an out-right faint.) Then in the following minute or two the stress reading rose into the highly stressed range. It always settled back into low stress range within less than 5 minutes. If the stress reading had remained high for more than 5 minutes, I would have considered reducing intensity or even stopping the session. For overall monitoring of the training load over each week, I mainly relied on subjective sensation.
14 Apr
11:22pm, 14 Apr 2021
4166 posts
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A (potetnially) interesting podcast on polarized training from The Science of Ultra:

I hope to listen to it tomorrow on my run.
15 Apr
10:34am, 15 Apr 2021
17446 posts
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Looks interesting, a slightly more detailed polarised approach.
15 Apr
12:23pm, 15 Apr 2021
1159 posts
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Thanks for the link. Very interesting.
15 Apr
12:48pm, 15 Apr 2021
3558 posts
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I'd love to see Stephen Seiler's response to that! It really is quite a different take on the subject. It's from an ultra-runner's perspective, though, so I wonder what difference that makes. The 80-20 (or whatever) distribution by session has been a difficult concept for me to get across to people when explaining PT to them, as people are much more inclined to think in terms of percentages of total training time or distance at certain paces. In terms of weekly mileage, the actual percentage of my mileage I run at an easy pace may often be something like 88-90%. That is, one hard session in a 45 mile week, where I run intervals totalling maybe 5 miles at 10K pace, with standing recoveries.

I have to say, though, that I've long been convinced that the primary benefit of Polarized Training for most people isn't really about how you distribute your 20% at the top end, so much as persuading people to do the majority of their training at easy effort levels rather than hard all the time.
15 Apr
1:02pm, 15 Apr 2021
73874 posts
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As a former ultra distance runner

Peak in golden period was about 130 miles in a week I did 98 miles a week average for 19 weeks preparing for the World 100km in 2008.

Some weeks I would do barely 5% hard even coaching/taking part in 2 track sessions(I coached sprinters) but if you got a weekend with a marathon in it then suddenly it was 40%

What I learned was be flexible with everything but I always stuck to some basic principles around stacking hard efforts.

The challenge comes when your head plays about , I got to the point I could run 3hr marathon pace in Z2 so 90 min 13 milers were a nice run which from a numbers point of view supported the method but my head said this is too hard to be easy but it was always too easy to be hard....

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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 .

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