The most important question when deciding on a training plan is "What is my ‘A’ Race?". You may have various races scheduled before your full-distance “A Race”, but you still want to time your training ideally so you finish your Specialty Phase leading into your A-Race. The standard training plan sequence you’d follow for that scenario would be:
Base: Full Distance Base
Build: Full Distance Build
This sequence of plans will take about 28 Weeks from start to finish, but if you're short on time, or if you have extra time on your hands, check out the following articles to learn how to adjust appropriately:
Integrating your Lower Priority Races
Now that you've decided what race is your first priority for the year, we can start to fit the lower priority races into your calendar.
For many amateur athletes, competing in more than one full-distance triathlon in a calendar year will prove extremely difficult due to the physical toll such an event takes on your body.
That being said, if you are an experienced full-distance athlete and are interested in taking on the challenge of two full-distance triathlons in a year, it is best to have at least 17 weeks between your events. This will allow you to complete the full Base/Build/Specialty before your first event, then take a week or two of recovery before jumping back into the Build and Specialty Phases. To learn more about the "Re-Build" process, check out our article titled "Peaking for Multiple A Races".
By default, the Full Distance plans schedule a half-distance race on the fourth weekend of the Specialty Plan, or four weeks prior to your full-distance event. You can read about this in the Weekly Notes within your training plan.
If your chosen race falls prior to the fourth weekend of the Specialty Plan, then move Week 4 of the Specialty Plan into the week leading up to your half-distance event to allow yourself adequate preparation. After the race, listen to your body and be sure to give yourself sufficient time to recover before jumping back into the plan where you left off.
If your chosen race falls after the fourth week of the Specialty Plan, again move Week 4 to the week before your half-distance event, but take additional care to recover since you will have sub-optimal time to recover before your next race.
Olympic Distance Races
Olympic Distance Races are scheduled within the Training Plans for Weeks 4 and 8 of the Build Plan. If your chosen race does not perfectly align with this timing, the adjustments you make will be the same as above.
Sprint Distance Races
A Sprint distance races are normally be considered a "C" priority race for most full-distance athletes, therefore, there is no need to tweak your plan to prepare for them. Just replace your weekend workout with the race, and dedicate the day afterward to a smooth recovery ride if necessary.
Personal Run/Swim Plan
If you are planning on only using TrainerRoad for the bike portion of your training, you will still want to follow the same training plan progression outlined above, and just replace the prescribed running and swimming exercises with your own.
One common question we see is: "Should I do a cycling plan such as Sustained Power Build instead of the Triathlon plans?”. If you are mid-season and regularly running and swimming, then the Triathlon specific plans are a much better choice since they factor in the extra training stress you are accumulating through your other two sports.
In addition, they are specifically tuned to the demands of triathlon, which allows for optimal training and adaptation.
A great way to use your off-season is to focus on cycling-specific training to improve your bike-leg. This time spent with a singular focus will allow you to progress much faster than when your efforts are split three ways. When taking the time to focus on cycling in the off-season, we recommend choosing one of our cycling Build Phases.
Sustained Power Build is the plan that will offer the most direct improvements for your triathlon performance. It focuses solely on raising your threshold and your ability to maintain steady, consistent power.
General Build If you are looking to increase your general cycling fitness and keep up on spirited group rides or try your hand at local cycling races, this plan is a great choice. Also, if your events have climbs or undulating terrain, this plan will help broaden your range of capabilities, which may increase your comfort level on race day. But remember, even if the course profile is varied, a steadily paced effort is a faster and more sustainable approach.
Short-Power Build is not a great choice for improving your triathlon performance, however, if you like to participate in criteriums, or just want to improve your burst power for other reasons, then Short Power Build could be a good way to mix things up in the off-season.
More Triathlon Info