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80/20 training method
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Anyone familiar with, or tried, the 80/20 method of training? I heard about it recently from a friend and picked up a book about it by Matt Fitzgerald. In short, this method advocates that 80% of your training be easy in zone 1-2, and 20% of it be hard in zone 4-5. I know I always hear that most of our easy work outs are too hard, and our hard workouts are too easy. So this method seems to be consistent with that line of thinking.

I’m interested in trying this out, but am having a bit of a hard time buying into doing 80% of my workouts at that easy of an intensity. Most of the evidence/science Fitzgerald sites in his book are from pretty small studies, so are in themselves not super convincing to me.

Just curious what your experience, if any, has been with this training method.

Thanks in advance.
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Re: 80/20 training method [Thestevebrandon] [ In reply to ]
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Interesting topic for me as well.
See also this thread here for an analysis of Michael Weiss who seems to follow quite a similar approach it seems: https://forum.slowtwitch.com/...Season_2018_P6862664

Currently using trainerroad. Base plan started out great, I felt strong, fresh and my ftp increased (came from a break though so whatever training was thrown on me would lead to improvements).
The trainerroad build though has quite a lot of intensity which leaves me quite fatigued and tbh I don't know if it's working for me. So I might go back to something like 80/20. Less intensity but harder and more long easy sessions.
Would be interested in other opinions on how trainerroad has worked for them by not following 80/20
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Re: 80/20 training method [Thestevebrandon] [ In reply to ]
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this is worth watching

https://vimeo.com/98353863
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Re: 80/20 training method [marcag] [ In reply to ]
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marcag wrote:
this is worth watching

https://vimeo.com/98353863

Seiler with his polarization approach is definitely interesting. That being said, 80/20 doesn't mean polarized training. I guess it's a kind of implementation of 80/20. In polarized though it's more 90/10, which makes sense because for 10 training hours 20% at really high intensity would be 120 minutes. Which would cook people
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Re: 80/20 training method [cmart] [ In reply to ]
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cmart wrote:
marcag wrote:
this is worth watching

https://vimeo.com/98353863


Seiler with his polarization approach is definitely interesting. That being said, 80/20 doesn't mean polarized training. I guess it's a kind of implementation of 80/20. In polarized though it's more 90/10, which makes sense because for 10 training hours 20% at really high intensity would be 120 minutes. Which would cook people

I believe he says 20% of training sessions not time.
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Re: 80/20 training method [marcag] [ In reply to ]
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marcag wrote:
cmart wrote:
marcag wrote:
this is worth watching

https://vimeo.com/98353863


Seiler with his polarization approach is definitely interesting. That being said, 80/20 doesn't mean polarized training. I guess it's a kind of implementation of 80/20. In polarized though it's more 90/10, which makes sense because for 10 training hours 20% at really high intensity would be 120 minutes. Which would cook people


I believe he says 20% of training sessions not time.


That's true, think he does

What I found interesting is that the current Norwegian national team coach Arild Tveiten seems to train a little bit different than I would have expected according to this podcast: https://scientifictriathlon.com/tts154/
Basically they train a lot of volume, lots of low intensity but the high intensity is not that high because he says that it's a long distance sport so high intensities are not needed as much
Last edited by: cmart: Feb 18, 19 1:52
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Re: 80/20 training method [cmart] [ In reply to ]
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cmart wrote:

That's true, think he does

What I found interesting is that the current Norwegian national team coach Arild Tveiten seems to train a little bit different than I would have expected according to this podcast: https://scientifictriathlon.com/tts154/
Basically they train a lot of volume, lots of low intensity but the high intensity is not that high because he says that it's a long distance sport so high intensities are not needed as much

My understanding of 80/20 was (from some readings) 80% low, 20% mid and high
But question are :
what is limit low/mid ?
what is limit mid/high ?

Apparently the Arild Tveiten method is
lot of low volume (below 60% max VO2 power) : 70% or 80%?
quite a lot sweetspot (around 68% max VO2 power) : around 25 % ?
very little high intensity (FTP, PMA, and above) : less than 2% ?

The Michael Weiss split for 2018 season, linked above and in another thread is similar :
70 % low
28 % middle (below and slightly above sweetspot)
2% FTP and slightly above

So, it is around 70/28/2 or 80/18/2 methods for low/mid/high ?

With :
Low : base endurance, maxfat zone
Mid : 60% to 70% max VO2 power
High : FTP, and very little PMA
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Re: 80/20 training method [cmart] [ In reply to ]
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cmart wrote:
marcag wrote:
cmart wrote:
marcag wrote:
this is worth watching

https://vimeo.com/98353863


Seiler with his polarization approach is definitely interesting. That being said, 80/20 doesn't mean polarized training. I guess it's a kind of implementation of 80/20. In polarized though it's more 90/10, which makes sense because for 10 training hours 20% at really high intensity would be 120 minutes. Which would cook people


I believe he says 20% of training sessions not time.


That's true, think he does

What I found interesting is that the current Norwegian national team coach Arild Tveiten seems to train a little bit different than I would have expected according to this podcast: https://scientifictriathlon.com/tts154/
Basically they train a lot of volume, lots of low intensity but the high intensity is not that high because he says that it's a long distance sport so high intensities are not needed as much

We were doing LSD years ago with a great deal of benefit - especially for the runners.

We had post collegiate runners move over to cycling in our local cycling club. They were killing it right off the bat and swore by LSD training. Their take was that even while doing LSD, there are efforts like hills or friendly fartlek that move you out of low intensity.

Where this comes apart though is if you are in a sport where high intensity efforts are needed to keep with you with "the pack" or "for the win". If you can't put out a big effort to stay with road cyclists or swimmers to avoid getting dropped, then you may not get back to them or it could require even greater energy later to do so. If you can't sprint, then you are probably not going to win a race between you and someone else unless you are both non-sprinters.

Back to what 80% of us are like. We are not the 20% that are going to win a triathlon or place in our age group. The triathlon is more like a time trial to us rather than a race against people. For us LSD could be the best way to train to avoid an injury which would derail our plans.

Indoor Triathlete - I thought I was right, until I realized I was wrong.
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Re: 80/20 training method [Pyrenean Wolf] [ In reply to ]
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Michi Weiss had more low intensity or how did you calculate it?

According to this image of the article 92% is easy training: http://www.srm.de/...53_AM_7a73cba1fc.png

At 82% hr I don't feel easy going anymore though :)
Last edited by: cmart: Feb 18, 19 8:18
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Re: 80/20 training method [Thestevebrandon] [ In reply to ]
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My take is that it depends hugely on what your total training volume is. If you're a pro training 30+ hours a week, then by necessity a large proportion of your training needs to be easy as otherwise you're going to burn out. At the other extreme, if you're a time-crunched amateur who struggles to consistently hit 7 hours a week, then you can go hard pretty much every session without risking over training, and if you spend 80% of your limited training time in zones 1 and 2 then you're going to plateau pretty quickly.
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Re: 80/20 training method [cartsman] [ In reply to ]
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cartsman wrote:
. At the other extreme, if you're a time-crunched amateur who struggles to consistently hit 7 hours a week, then you can go hard pretty much every session without risking over training

That would definitely not work for me. (but it may for others)

My personal take is that "polarized" scales well for me, and I purely suspect that that elite "polarized" training may not just be a method for pros to get an extra 15 hours per week of low-intensity training time because it's available.
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Re: 80/20 training method [trail] [ In reply to ]
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trail wrote:
cartsman wrote:
. At the other extreme, if you're a time-crunched amateur who struggles to consistently hit 7 hours a week, then you can go hard pretty much every session without risking over training

That would definitely not work for me. (but it may for others)

My personal take is that "polarized" scales well for me, and I purely suspect that that elite "polarized" training may not just be a method for pros to get an extra 15 hours per week of low-intensity training time because it's available.

For me this wouldn't work as well. I'd be burned out within a few weeks.

Also according to Seiler polarized training is not only for pros with huge volume. Though there's not a lot of research about it and the studies that are available might be a little flawed according to scientific triathlon podcast.
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Re: 80/20 training method [cmart] [ In reply to ]
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For me (as for Cameron Wurf from published data, IMO, and other book references...), 72% HR is not far from the "crossing" of fat and carbo use (in kcal).

So for me it is more a limit between LOW and MED intensities.

So on Weiss 2018 data :

First "stack" is LOW (70%)
Second and third are MED (22% + 6% = 28%)
Fourth and fifth are HIGH (2% + 0% = 2%)

So for me Weiss is not far from the Arild Tveiten model.

Except that Arild do :
LOW only on "base endurance (1mmol/L lactate)" (more narrow window than the "below 72% MaxHR of Weiss)
MED only around 2,5mmol/L lactate, so IMO the lower part of sweetspot, for Weiss top of the second stack.

But globally a very similar 70/28/2 % model
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Re: 80/20 training method [Pyrenean Wolf] [ In reply to ]
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Hmm.. Good point.

I was just looking at Weiss' Strava. His heart rate is incredibly low. 35.5km run with 3:58/km pace with an average hr of 118. I mean.. It's just.. Wtf.. How is that even possible?

Edit: saw that his max hr is only about 161. So it makes sense after all I guess.
Last edited by: cmart: Feb 18, 19 14:05
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Re: 80/20 training method [Thestevebrandon] [ In reply to ]
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Thestevebrandon wrote:
Anyone familiar with, or tried, the 80/20 method of training? I heard about it recently from a friend and picked up a book about it by Matt Fitzgerald. In short, this method advocates that 80% of your training be easy in zone 1-2, and 20% of it be hard in zone 4-5.
Just curious what your experience, if any, has been with this training method.

I bought the book, and I'm following the plan for Ironman Level 0. I have been doing tris for five years but only one half and no fulls. I'm pretty slow and I've never really followed a consistent training plan. My goal is somewhere around 12-13 hours.

I am, however, modifying the plan to ignore the bike workouts and instead use Trainerroad's Sweet spot, sweet spot II, full iron build and full iron specialty. I do a little juggling when the SS workouts have more intensity and swap out an easy run etc...

I'll let you know how it goes after IMMD in September.
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Re: 80/20 training method [reefblastbody] [ In reply to ]
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has anyone seen data on or have experience with polarized triathlon training ?


I'm trying figure out how to implement 80/20 or polarized training for triathlon b/c Seiler's work is convincing. He's studied single sport endurance athletes. cyclists, skiers, runners etc. (here is a nice, recent discussion of it from velonews https://www.velonews.com/...you-should-do_483683). The summary of the workouts is 2 hard sessions per week with longer intervals at or near VT2/FTP (4-12 minutes) or shorter intervals above VT2 and the rest below VT1 or Aerobic Threshold. and hard days are supposed to be killer hard. They advocate for 10 workouts/week, with 8 easy, 2 hard. so time based you'd be more like 90-10 factoring in warm up and cool downs. 80-20 is straight forward for one sport. But what about 3 sports? Is it 2 hard workouts and 8 easy, so 1 hard run , 1 hard bike, 8 easy somethings. That sounds too easy. But 2 hards sessions per sport (2 runs, 2 bikes and 2 swims) means that too much training would be with intensity.

For now I'm using time, so 20% of run training with intensity, 20% of bike etc.

Brian
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Re: 80/20 training method [cmart] [ In reply to ]
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I thought the typical 80/20 typically refers to time. but rest between intervals is also considered "high intensity"
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Re: 80/20 training method [Thestevebrandon] [ In reply to ]
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How doable is this if you're training 10-11h a week which is pretty much on the higher end of what AGs do anyway? I'm thinking this makes sense if you do 20+h/week in which case it's pretty natural... no one can do that much intensity so you're forced to go slow most of the time, it's not rocket science. But.. if you're doing a bunch of 1h easy spins and 20min of hard intervals a week you ain't getting faster.



Thestevebrandon wrote:
Anyone familiar with, or tried, the 80/20 method of training? I heard about it recently from a friend and picked up a book about it by Matt Fitzgerald. In short, this method advocates that 80% of your training be easy in zone 1-2, and 20% of it be hard in zone 4-5. I know I always hear that most of our easy work outs are too hard, and our hard workouts are too easy. So this method seems to be consistent with that line of thinking.
I’m interested in trying this out, but am having a bit of a hard time buying into doing 80% of my workouts at that easy of an intensity. Most of the evidence/science Fitzgerald sites in his book are from pretty small studies, so are in themselves not super convincing to me.

Just curious what your experience, if any, has been with this training method.

Thanks in advance.

What's your CdA?
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Re: 80/20 training method [trailerhouse] [ In reply to ]
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That has been my reservation, the fact that I am usually in the 10 hours/week range for training time.

Obviously not all ten hours should be high intensity. But I wonder if there should be some moderate intensity mixed in those other 8 hours.
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Re: 80/20 training method [Thestevebrandon] [ In reply to ]
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Exactly.. to benefit from the slow stuff you have to go long... Like 5-6h rides on the weekend long. If you do the minimum of 3 x 1h of quality (1swim, 1bike, 1run) you need to add 15h of easy stuff to get to the 80/20 magic ratio. Which is why I think this 80/20 is bullshit... and not because I believe that slow aerobic training is not beneficial, I actually think it is but to say that everyone needs to do this or this is some kind of revolutionary new approach, give me a break...


Thestevebrandon wrote:
That has been my reservation, the fact that I am usually in the 10 hours/week range for training time.
Obviously not all ten hours should be high intensity. But I wonder if there should be some moderate intensity mixed in those other 8 hours.

What's your CdA?
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Re: 80/20 training method [trailerhouse] [ In reply to ]
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trailerhouse wrote:
How doable is this if you're training 10-11h a week which is pretty much on the higher end of what AGs do anyway? I'm thinking this makes sense if you do 20+h/week in which case it's pretty natural... no one can do that much intensity so you're forced to go slow most of the time, it's not rocket science. But.. if you're doing a bunch of 1h easy spins and 20min of hard intervals a week you ain't getting faster.


A couple of things here:
  1. If you're doing 10-11 hours a week and you're only doing 20 minutes of intervals, then your math is very off. You should be doing a little over an hour worth of intervals, which is basically 2 V02Max sessions (5x5's) plus a little extra
  2. Seiler has said, maybe even published as well, that they had success with this method with runners down to only a couple of hours a week. I think he said it was down to ~4 hours a week, but don't quote me on that. Whether this translates to other sports is unknown, but Seiler certainly thinks it does and he's an extremely vocal advocate for this style of training no matter your total volume.

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Re: 80/20 training method [Thestevebrandon] [ In reply to ]
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Funny you should ask, I converted to this type of plan last year - also after reading Fitzgerald's book. I mostly struggled with getting good results out of the intensity of TR workouts, and my run just plain sucked. I started in late March/early April and in the subsequent races saw:

1. Fastest 5k split in 15 years, smashing recent results by over 1 min/mile
2. Best swim placement ever
3. Fastest bike pace, another best 5k split and first podium ever (in same race)
4. Another best 5k split
5. Last race of the year was a half distance, beat my previous time (different course) by well over an hour and beat my open half marathon time, all while feeling completely comfortable the whole time.

Also saw ever increasing bike power and very solid swim splits throughout the year. And was never trashed after the bike workouts, unlike TR. Basically, at 45, was in the best shape of my life. After the half-distance in October, it was the first time I ever felt like I could finish a full distance. I actually used one of his plans via Final Surge. Used the sprint distance plan, although I ran a mix of sprint, Oly and half distance throughout the year.

All I can say is that it worked great for me.
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Re: 80/20 training method [cartsman] [ In reply to ]
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cartsman wrote:
At the other extreme, if you're a time-crunched amateur who struggles to consistently hit 7 hours a week, then you can go hard pretty much every session without risking over training, and if you spend 80% of your limited training time in zones 1 and 2 then you're going to plateau pretty quickly.


are you sure you're not backwards on this? Not the over training part the plateau part.

Brian Stover
Accelerate3 Coaching
Twitter
IG
Last edited by: desert dude: Feb 27, 19 16:28
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Re: 80/20 training method [jaelinfunk] [ In reply to ]
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jaelinfunk wrote:
I thought the typical 80/20 typically refers to time. but rest between intervals is also considered "high intensity"


80% of the sessions should be aerobic, 20% of the sessions should have intensity. If you think about this it really means your actual time near/above LT is going to be around or <10% of your total training minutes.

Brian Stover
Accelerate3 Coaching
Twitter
IG
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Re: 80/20 training method [desert dude] [ In reply to ]
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desert dude wrote:
cartsman wrote:
At the other extreme, if you're a time-crunched amateur who struggles to consistently hit 7 hours a week, then you can go hard pretty much every session without risking over training, and if you spend 80% of your limited training time in zones 1 and 2 then you're going to plateau pretty quickly.


are you sure you're not backwards on this? Not the over training part the plateau part.

You know, after I wrote that I realised I hadn't put it very well! Guess I don't mean "hard" as in above threshold every session, I just mean "more than zone 1 and 2". Certainly with cycling I think spending 80% in zone 1 and 2 (using power-based zones) is a waste of time if you only have 7 hours a week and therefore only 3-4 hours of cycling time (unless you're starting from a very low base). Swimming likewise. Running I agree that time in zone 1 and 2 is more beneficial. So replace "hard" in my OP with "zone 3 or above" and it's more what I meant.
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