A Common Question I get is whether someone should do polarized or threshold/sweet-spot training
I have done several articles on the different types of training individually (threshold, HIIT, Polarized) but to find your own way can be tough. We all want to be part of a ‘camp’ or club (e.g. CrossFit). For training intensity and the organization of training the concept of polarization and threshold are not so opposed in my opinion ( The podcast guests we have had agree with this in general). The important thing is you have a goal, assess where you are now and then progress logically towards that goal by following a plan that you adjust frequently as you respond (or don’t). Many times the mistake is doing moderate training daily (no-off days) versus doing 2 threshold workouts weekly.
Polarized vs. sweet spot
I think this is ultimately a matter of planning phases of training and making sure easy days are easy, that there are off days and that the interval days are progressing (whether that is ‘threshold/sweet spot’ Or tempo or HIIT/VO2. Using only sweet spot, or HIIT, every workout (all year) was never really the intended method of utilization but sometimes it is taken as this absolute.
There are several ways to plan/periodize training depending on the athlete and their experience/limiters/goals:
a) you may do Vo2/sprints to get going and increase the QUALITY of your training and then your endurance racing approaches then we would become more specific with more tempo/sweet spot work to increase the QUANTITY of work you can do. (this might be called reverse periodization)
b) to Accumulate ‘fitness’ with a base phase if you have time. Perhaps by using increasing amounts of sweet spot and tempo and some endurance to build your fitness (CTL). Then you can ‘polish off’ that fitness as you specialize/taper to your event, generally with a Vo2/anaerobic/HIIT block ahead of races
c) You can do a mix of interval types over 7-14 day blocks to keep all aspects maintained and shift the focus slightly as required by limiters/races
I personally like the 3rd option, but I use all three with clients. How we plan this depends ultimately on who you are, where you are coming from and where you want to go ( POINT A -> POINT B )
*Listen to this episode on the sweet spot with one of ‘creators’ Frank Overton on Consummate Athlete Podcast
– Episodes on our podcast so far with polarized https://consummateathlete.wordpress.com/?s=polarized
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