The most important question when deciding on a training plan is "What is my ‘A’ Race?". You may have various races scheduled before your sprint-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: Sprint Base
Build: Sprint Build
Specialty: Sprint Specialty
This progression will take about 16 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 #1 priority for the year, we can start to fit the lower priority races into your calendar.
Ironman Distance Races
If you are training for a Sprint Distance "A" Race, we do not recommend racing an Ironman unless you have the 28 weeks available for the full distance Base, Build, Specialty progression. The Olympic training plans will not properly prepare you for the demands of the full-distance event.
Half-Ironman Distance Races
If you are training for a Sprint Distance "A" Race, we do not recommend racing a Half-Ironman unless you have the 24 weeks available for the full-distance Base, Build, Specialty progression. The Olympic training plans will not properly prepare you for the demands of the half-distance event.
Olympic Distance Races
If you have an Olympic "B" race that you intend to complete this year, then completing Olympic Distance Base in place of Sprint Base could be a good option to help increase your endurance and allow you to finish strong in your Olympic Distance Event. You will still complete the Sprint-specific Build and Specialty, so this will take very little away from your Sprint Distance performance while helping your performance in your B priority Olympic event.
For optimal scheduling, we recommend planning to compete in your Olympic "B" race after your Sprint "A" race. This will allow you to fully dedicate yourself to the Sprint event before switching gears. Trying to fit an Olympic event in before your Sprint event will cause a disruption to your Sprint preparation, potentially jeopardizing your performance in your "A" race.
Upon completion of your Sprint Distance event, you will then switch to the Olympic Plans to prepare for your Olympic event. First, you will want to take the necessary time to recover, but then you can jump into either Olympic Build or Specialty depending on how much time you have.
Sprint Distance Races
We recommend doing at least one other Sprint Race in preparation for your main "A" sprint. Completing a preparatory race will allow you to dial in important race skills such as transitions, pacing, and preparation.
A Sprint Distance "B" Race is scheduled within the Training Plans for the fourth weekend of the Specialty Plan. If your selected race does not line up perfectly on this week, don't worry! Sprint distance races are fairly low stress, so you can simply:
- replace your planned Thursday workout with an endurance ride
- complete Truuli on the day before your race
and then you should be ready to go on race day.
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