The Ironman in 2019 thread



Just checking in as well (good thinking @JoeX)… I’ve got a few thoughts on swimming, so maybe still relevant :grimacing:

So I’ve just finished the Full MV Base plan, spread over 13 weeks with the extra week spent in Tenerife, where I did two ascents of Mt Teide (and two very cold descents), I would highly recommend this given the UK’s weather!

On Tuesday, I did the Ramp Test for the beginning of the MV Build phase and I increased my FTP from 251 to 279! I’m pretty stoked about this, I felt like I was improving, but didn’t think I would have quite that bump.

Quick note on the swimming part of the base plan. 4 weeks into the plan, I decided to fully commit to the run and swim parts of the TR plan. Before that, I was blending in parts of the Swim Smooth Ironman plan, as well as running a bit more than the TR plan prescribed. One thing I struggle with is putting the 3 disciplines together, so decided to go all in on TR’s plan. I’m still a big fan of Swim Smooth (I religiously use their drills), but I have to say, I really enjoyed swimming by RPE. If I’m honest, I was getting a bit bogged down with all the target numbers and tempo beeps.

Having said that, I still did a CSS test this week to see where I am at and I knocked 5 seconds off my CSS pace! Down to 1:47/100m. This is the single best improvement I’ve made since I started to swimming!

Bouyed by all this, I definitely haven’t speculatively entered the Patagonman lottery :face_with_raised_eyebrow:.

Right I’m about to do Gilbrator at my new FTP, things just got serious…


@JoeX Awesome, just wanted to see if I could be of help!

@JulianM you are a fast swimmer! That’s an impressive CSS

Off the swim and onto the run, curious how you all pace your runs with TR plan…HR, RPE or a combination? I was previously using the Maffetone method with my 935, the wrist numbers for me are rather accurate, but after looking more at the plan, the volume may not be there for that method. I also noticed that TR lists the Wed run as RPE9, Thurs Brick RPE4, Friday base run as RPE 5 and Sunday long run RPE 4. Another concern I have with HR is, as previously mentioned, it becoming a crutch and relying on it too much. However, I also know that it is great to pace out long runs and knowing if my HR stays under a certain # I won’t crash and can go forever. I come from a football/track sprinter (100m/200m) so not the best at judging RPE yet for distance runs


Here’s a conversation about run RPE

HR can be a useful element, as can pace, and elevation change, but ultimately it’s about how hard it feels which is basically combining all elements including how well and how well rested you are.

If you’ve got a long relatively flat run in cool weather and feeling fit, then there’s no problem checking your watch occasionally to see pace and HR not rising to high.


As @pgyates1983 wrote, check your pacing. And that you did 2 x 1900m sets in January may or may not be relevant depending on distances and intervals, including whether the intervals were time-based or rest-based.

Other factors are at play too, like an FTP test. But unlike the FTP test, this isn’t rocket science. For fun, after seeing your post, I decided to check my CSS. I put the average 400m time from two recent workouts, the first with 400s (mainset: 10x400m on 15s rest – shared lane doing my own thing so fixed intervals can be a challenge when there’s traffic in the lane) and other focused on 200s (mainset: 13x200m w 10s rest). And surprise, the CSS calculator said my CSS pace was the average pace of all those 400s and 200s.

You need to see your splits within the distances, and not just for your CSS testing. I don’t know if the post-workout analysis provides that data (with Garmin, it’s available from the iPhone app but not, as far as I could find, on the website). I suggest you consider using SpeedoOn ( to analyze your swimming. You’ll see time, stroke rate, and SWOLF (a measure of efficiency… time to do the length + stokes for the length) for each length. You can see how consistent, or not, you are.


I know my approximate zones based on pace. There’s a few calculators out there to do it, I used VO2dot and TrainingPeaks in the past based on (pure run) race results. Works pretty well for me. I have yet to test again for this year intensity runs are coming up in build period.

I run on RPE and cross-check with the pace (auto-lap every 1k). during the course of a run I often get carried away and go too fast for an easy run. The pace helps me to reconsider my RPE and adjust.

I didn’t like using HR strap in the past but by using it a lot on the bike last year I have gotten accustomed to it. I now get HR data on every run but only look at it afterwards.
The purpose is to have another parameter that informs how the workout went (easy enough, which HR during intervals, …).

My biggest problem in the past was going too fast in easy runs. Now I manage well.


Update on my training for my first triathlon Staffordshire 70.3: three weeks left to go on my HIM base block. Have seen my cycling power improve significant and manually adjusted my FTP as I’ve gone along. Looking forward to another ramp test in 3 weeks to see where I’ve got to from the 170watts I started at. Have however just fallen ill so am likely going to take the weekend off.

Good luck everyone!


Thanks :+1: @JoeX’s post is a good starting point for the RPE side of things. As @schmidt said there are plenty of run pace calculators out there. I’ve got the McRun app from Macmillan running on my phone which I tend to use.

As for me I generally run by RPE or pace depending on the session goal. I don’t use the TR run plans - not for any reason other than I’ve had decent results over the last few years using either Pfitzinger plans from Faster Road Racing or Advanced Marathoning and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

At the moment I’m hopefully at the beginning build to a half marathon alongside Sweet Spot Base Mid Volume 1 and am running along the lines of:

Mon - Easy 45m or so run off the bike with some strides.

Tue - Long Run. RPE based nice and steady. I use a Garmin 735 and put the screen on a map so I can’t see the pace and just run easy.

Thurs - Interval run. It’s been on the treadmill recently and run to pace. This Thursday was just over an hour with the main part being 20min and 16 min tempo with a 4min RI. I tend to replace the easy ride from the bike plan with Volunteer for a 30m easy bike warm up for this run.

Sat - Medium long run. Again RPE based, nice and steady not looking at pace but have been making this a hilly run for a bit of variety and leg strength.

Pace wise I’m being fairly conservative on the paces for the intervals. I’ve had the tendency to have Achilles issues so my run paces are based somewhere between my ‘proper’ run pace and my IM run pace so the tempo intervals are maybe 10secs or so slower than if I calculated the zones from my run PB paces.

This week is going to be slightly different as I’m running half marathon tomorrow although not actually racing it. It’s a local, slow race which includes some sections of muddy beach and some lumpy grass sections through a park that a friend and I run each year at a decent but comfortable pace for a good catch up!

It’s generally a good start to the year to remind yourself how important pacing is. Because we run a fairly even comfortable pace for the whole race it’s always good to be passing runners at the end who set off too quickly and is a reminder for the rest of the year!


A friend of mine was a Pro footballer (or soccer depending where you are!) for a while and was very similar to that. He found pacing difficult initially - despite having a very good level of fitness from the sport his fitness was based on short, fast shuttle running. He’s found his niche as a top level Xterra athlete as its more stochastic nature fit’s well with his natural abilities and background.


interesting observation, I have read similar things elsewhere. I am wondering why that is - electrolytes provide a change in osmolarity, pH and conductivity, but what of it makes it leak?

@Simo429 I have just fixed my rear hydration for two bottles and i’m now in the market for a between-the-arms solution. I also need the possibility to add electrolyte/sports drink. I’ll share what I have researched so far

the shortlist

  • simple bottle mount as the profile design HC mount that @JulianM mentioned. benefit is simplicity, I can just exchange a bottle from the rear. but I read of people where the bottle bounced off
  • xlab Torpedo as per @Scheherazade. so far only read good things
  • torhans aero z

others that I have considered but lower on the list at the moment

  • aero HC bottle with camelback bite valve from amazon
  • profile design FC35, where I don’t want the storage compartment and read of leaks
  • nathan ap pro
  • profile design aerodrink, read of leakage
  • torhans 30, doesn’t fit my cockpit

another good option is the profile design aeria (see below example from slowtwitch) but it requires installation of another stem.



cheers on the progress! I see you are doing Frankfurt? It’s my old home town race (I don’t live there anymore) and I am considering it for 2020. so be in touch and tell us how it went down for you.

I also started watching the punisher (on the bike) after @chad’s recommendation on the podcast. it rocks.

:thinking: :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


yeah I have added it to my toolbox since this year with very positive experiences. it helped me to identify that my stroke rate was really low and I could gain a lot from improving it. now I add ± 5% per 3 weeks in stroke rate (roughly) and really make sure to keep the stroke rate consistent even when fatigued. I also kept the stroke rate purposefully low and focus on excellent form. I then add an extra set without tempo or higher tempo with the aim to maintain form.

I find that timing the beep with the exit works better for me instead of timing it with the catch.

the finis tempo trainer reset either. you just push off and start the stroke with a beat. it comes pretty natural after a few lengths.


Hi All,

My wife and I are doing the 70.3 in Busselton Western Australia in May and then CX nationals in Aug and then the Full IM in december.

So far I’m really enjoying the tri plan - I really enjoy the diversity and always thinking about the next sport to practice.

Good luck to all other compatriots!

Johno Montgomery


Welcome and how’s the high temperature training going? I heard it’s been monstrous heat day and night recently…


Thank you!

Oh yeah we are talking mid 30s to 40’s… hot!

We’ve been training indoors without a fan and sweating our assess of and running outside around 5pm so still 30 degrees.

It’s a hot place - Busselton is beautiful though! Would highly recommend it. I’m just not looking forward to December in WA… that’s hot May it technically our autumn leading into winder so it’ll be nice.

Where are all you guys doing your 70.3 and IM this year?


Punisher is really great for the long hours on the trainer (although I‘d recommend a different approach for dealing with conflicts and sad emotions in real life :joy:).

2020 IM Frankfurt will hopefully have the normal Bike Leg again (not the 185+km version with a lot of HM).
I‘ll share my experiences as soon as I will try my first Test on the course.


That’s my rationale, keep this as simple as possible and the bike as clean as possible. This pic is from IM South Africa a couple of years ago but is essentially the same set up I’ve used for every IM.

  • The HC mount between the arms with water just swap bottles when needed at aid stations. Should be at least aero neutral and potentially faster than without one as it fills the gap between the forearms.
  • Aero bottle with liquid nutrition on the down tube. Just needs to be finished before the end of the ride.
  • Top tube bento with a cliff bar or similar cut into chunks and a few jelly babies. I’m not exact about it but usually try to get through most of the solid food in the first half of the bike and have the liquid nutrition in the second.
    -Flat kit tucked right up under the saddle rails and held in place with duck tape

My rule of thumb - if you’ve got more than one option, the simpler one is usually the best.


Just in case you didn‘t find the „register“ button yet:




solid setup and slick bike :+1: thanks for sharing

at this point I will probably try a BTA bottle holder - if I’m not satisfied after I will look for alternatives.


He’s not the Irish lad who was interviewed on IM talk before is he?


If they ever did it in the school holidays I would be on it like a shot.