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  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    polarized versus Sweetspot/LT for older rider

    I am 60 years old, started riding a few hours a week a few months ago. My numbers have not increased this summer, either overdoing it or not training well. So I have been reading up on polarized/SP/LT/high-volume advantages and disadvantages to see where to throw my cookies.

    I also read Friel's Fast after 50 book, where he says that older riders lose aerobic and LT capacity the most. That high intensity (90% of FTP) intervals help older riders the most as far as LT, preserving VO2 as much as possible, muscle mass, etc.

    So it sounds that polarized training is up my alley, except that I am a sportive rider that likes doing metric centuries and centuries, and not racing. So Sweetspot seems more adapted for this type of cycling.

    Any insights/suggestions?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    May 2014
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    Yes, absolutely sweet spot efforts will help. Its fun too, as it is a good pace where you feel like you are making good progress. Long slow distance riding bores me senseless.

    Throwing in shorter intervals will also help get that threshold higher.

    The basic principle of training is one where you push, and recover. Recovery is very important, as this is where the gains are made.

    There is some great stuff in these articles, from the menu on the left... here is the sweetspot one. Bear in mind the Friel zones and the coggan zones are different, so its about finding a system that works for you.
    https://roadcyclinguk.com/how-to/six...P44VSlzEuo0.97
    "If you act like you know what you are doing, you can do anything you want- except neurosurgery"- Sharon Stone

  3. #3
    Senior Member Mr Q's Avatar
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    I've heard the Fast after 50 book is great. Think I'll order it now for my October holiday read.

    My understanding is that sweet spot sessions are great for improving efficiency. The principle is your VO2 max is a genetic limit (you can improve it but not beyond your genetic max). If you do enough sweet spot training you will become much more efficient at riding in that zone and your threshold power will increase.

    The over 50 issue is your body is naturally losing muscle therefore muscular strength will decrease as you get older. To counter this you need to do some high big gear strength work or squats and lunges to maintain leg strength. VO2 max stuff will help as your max will naturally decrease as you get older.

    So basically you need to do strength work & VO2 max work to keep the decline at bay. Sweet spot stuff will help you stay efficient and increase your threshold so do a bit of that.

    You will also need to do long rides of four or five hours to get your body efficient at endurance stuff.

    i will read the book and no doubt be enlightened. My ramblings above may be complete bollox.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Mr Q's Avatar
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    Half way through the fast after 50 book. A lot of interesting points. I am now enlightened on VO2max. It may be a reinforcing mindset of mine but I recall having my best TT season a few years ago after lots of VO2 max sessions on the turbo all winter. Last winter I mostly did 2 x 20 intervals on the old turbo. My TT season this year was dissapointing.

    Still to read the training sections in the book but it already looks like I will be going for 2 turbo VO2 max interval sessions a week over winter. Just need to figure what the rest of my weekly training will look like.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    Does Joe Friel not set out a plan in the book?

    Lots to be said for Vo2max sessions- I've found my speed increases noticeably when I regularly do them.
    "If you act like you know what you are doing, you can do anything you want- except neurosurgery"- Sharon Stone

  6. #6
    Senior Member Mr Q's Avatar
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    There are suggested components to form your own training plan in the book. Basically tells you range of length of intervals and overall time in the zone then suggests building up the duration over weeks. So all the information is there to form your own training plan. He also goes into detail on training blocks, periodisation and regular testing to gauge improvements.

    I particularly like the efficiency factor calculation which would allow me to trend my improved fitness.

    Looks like the main components for me are strength workouts in the gym, short VO2 max intervals on the turbo and aerobic threshold rides. Duration and number of sessions a week vary according to training block. VO2 max sessions would be progressive.

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