The Ironman in 2019 thread



For the winners it can be a very different race. Even at the front of the AG it’s pretty much an individual TT but for the Pros it can be much more of a variable effort. The drafting benefit even at 10-12m is well worth having so staying in a pace line can be worth burning a few matches to stay in it.

If you look a races like Hawaii where there are a lot of relatively evenly matched athletes the pace line can be 20 long and with the rules on drafting meaning that if you’re at the back you can’t just overtake one rider and slot in, you have to overtake the whole line in one shot. That might take a 5-10 minute hard effort in some race situations.

Add into that the effect where you can’t enter the draft zone without overtaking - everybody slows as the front rider hits the bottom of a climb, each rider has to decelerate to prevent a penalty and all of a sudden the guy at the back of the group has to slow dramatically and then accelerate hard to maintain contact with the group. The pro races can be very different to the AG race in many ways so a comparison isn’t necessarily useful.

For the Pros at the very front of the race, off the front of the main Pro pack, the race may be more like the AG race… they’re just faster! The power duration curve is time based so the faster you ride, the higher percentage of CP you can manage. The Pro’s may be riding at 80%+ of threshold, but that’s what they can hold for just over 4 hours and still run. If they were riding for 6 hours the percentage would obviously be lower. Essentially there is little difference between the Pros and the rest of us aside from the fact that they are just better. They have a higher threshold and can hold a higher percentage of it for longer.

The other side of Pro racing is just that - it is how they make their living. Unlike us for whom achieving our race goals may be to race at an even pace, the Pros may well need to be where the race is at, and sometimes that may mean gambling early on to stay with the lead group, which may or may not work on the day. Sometimes, especially in the bigger races, it may be a case of going as hard as you can until you go bang and the last man or woman standing wins. For some it’s a gamble worth taking to be in with a shot of a good placing.


Hi all,

I’m new to TR and following a training plan. I’m targeting St. George HIM early May. I’ve done a few HIMs over the past decade for fun, and have always just done my own thing for training – typically 2-3 rides (4-6 hr/wk), 4-5 runs (4-5 hr), 0-2 swims (1 hr) per week for a few months pre-race. This time I’d like to strike a little more balance between s-b-r in training. The race is currently 18 weeks out and I’ve got a semi-reasonable steady base of about 8 hours/wk bike+run over the past couple months. I pretty much do some bike-run year round, with some swimming thrown in during the spring and summer. This past year I got a little undisciplined w/ my eating and now sit about 15 lbs. above previous race weight. I hope to burn that off mostly in the next few months. Not an unusual situation for me, in all honesty, although I’m usually only 10 lbs. over at this stage.

Here’s where I’m seeking your wisdom. I’m leaning towards skipping the base plan (despite coach Chad’s advice in his “how to pick a training plan” video) and doing a high-volume, 8-week build and 8-week specialty block kicking off pretty much now, with an unstructured week in-between build/specific and a week of taper after. I figure I might eliminate a swim workout each week, and will probably modify the run plan a bit with less intensity and volume than prescribed depending on how the body is feeling to avert injury. Alternatively, I could go with 8wk base + 8wk build as coach Chad recommends, or maybe something like the final 4wks of base + 8wk build + first 4wks of specialty. What do you think?

Race goal is nothing crazy, not really targeting any big performance gains. I’d like to have a better bike, not necessarily faster, but in terms of having more in the tank for the run, which is usually my weakest leg. If I can shave some time from past efforts, of course that’s great, but I’m not overly focused on that.


I’d stick with the Base/Build progression, specially if you are new to TR and jumping straight into high volume plans.


You have an aerobic base, but if that’s out door riding it’ll be a hard transition to structured indoor.

There’s a few truisms in training, so many people want the icing without making the cake first, but it’s the cake that’s the important bit - not the icing. In other words, I think Base is more beneficial than the other phases. Build is only useful after Base. And Speciality only effective after Build and Base.

I would go Base, Build, race as suggested in a similar thread.

Agree with the intensity/volume sensitivity on the run. I’ve cut out all interval training, though volume will be approximately the same.

I would never recommend High Volume.


Two votes for base/build, and one against high volume. I think that you are both right, and I should reconsider. Maybe I’d be better off going base/build at a mid volume plan and then just adding some outdoor bike time on if I feel like bumping the volume some as I go along. My recent cycling has been about 2/3 outdoors, 1/3 indoors on a stationary. Though I’ve done a fair amount interval work on the stationary over the years, this will be my first time w/ power and the structured workouts. I’m sure it’s going to be a different experience. Okay, I’m sold. If I’m going to trust the coach’s plan, I should trust the coach’s advice on how to approach the training, right?


Good advice from @JoeX

Yes, picking mid volume and adding workouts (if you’re feeling you have the capacity) is the way forward. Keep us updated on how you get on!


And good luck at St George , I loved watching the race (online) in 2017. Hammerfest! :slight_smile:


Looking for advice

Coming into this season I had originally planned on just running some olympics. I ran CDA 70.3 last year and beat my goal by >30 minutes (thanks TR!). We just had our first baby a month ago so I did not feel as though I could commit to the demands of a full IM. To my surprise, my wife is now the one pushing me to do the Boulder 140.6 on June 9.

I’m currently a 4th year medical student and the last semester is much more relaxed than the previous 3 years which is the big selling point to cross this off the bucket list before residency begins in July.

My concern currently is that if I start the full distance base plan next week, I finish my build phase 2 weeks prior to race. How much of an impact will missing the vast majority of the specialty phase have? Will completing Full distance mid vol base and build set me up well for this race? Any advice is GREATLY appreciated!


The Base and Build plans are pretty solid blocks of training in themselves and the long rides and runs in those should set you up for the IM. It is often said that the Speciality plans are the icing on the cake and so baking the cake with the Base and Build Plans in the time you have available would seem to be the most sensible plan.

Assuming you have no slippage in your training you might need go give a little thought to the final few taper weeks but other than that it’s almost certainly the best approach.


It depends a bit from where you’d start now.
If you are already doing i.e. 10h/week, you maybe could skip some of the lighter Base-weeks in the beginning.
If you start from scratch, you should begin with Base 1.
Specialty is certainly the icing on the cake. But all the really long runs (3h) are in Specialty. If you need some of those, you’d want to ramp up your long runs maybe a bit different.


+1 to @JulianM post

As it’s the full distance though, I’d look to finish with the last two weeks of Speciality so you taper well.

If by some miracle you don’t slip any weeks, just add them on the end, or if you do slip a couple of weeks swap weeks 7&8 in build for weeks 7&8 in Speciality (significantly less TSS).

Sounds like an exciting time in your life, enjoy it! :+1:


@JulianM @Amnesty @JoeX

You all rock! Appreciate the replies. After more [careful] deliberation, looks like I will be opting to run another 70.3 with a few friends and make it a more social trip than the 140.6 would have been. My main concern was the marathon and ramping my run volume back up too quickly and getting hurt. Last year while training for CDA 70.3 I had a few setbacks from run related ailments. Going to focus on flexibility and maintaining a small strength/PT-esque routine throughout the season and see if that helps.

One question for everyone, I’m considering the high volume vs mid volume half-triathlon plan. The only concern with the high volume plan is the long aerobic 65-75% rides. It would really take away from time with my wife and daughter. I’m sure the TR guys have addressed this, but I’m struggling to find it. Would substituting some sweet spot work instead? From my understanding, sweet spot achieves the aerobic benefit in much less time.

For example: the high vol build plan:
Tuesday: ,VO2 max, Thursday: Over/Under, Friday: endurance, Saturday Tempo (75min-105min) Sunday run (70-80min)
Alternating wtih
Tuesday: VO2 max, Thursday: Tempo (75-105min), Friday recovery ride, Saturday 3-4 hour aerobic ride. Sunday Long run ~ 2 hours.

Looking at these, would substituting the long rides for a workout such as Antelope +3 (90 min 104TSS, 0.83 IF) yield a similar result? The aerobic rides range from 210-255min, 162-190TSS at 0.68IF. Lose a little TSS, but gain more time. I know the coaches always say the best plan is one you can be consistent with, just want to be sure that change wouldn’t compromise any of the plan.

Writing this post earlier was what made me notice the error in the training plan previously.


In a word, no.

There is a whole ‘nother thread on the schools of thought on this, so you’ve struck on a fundamental question. So there are two reasons for the ‘no’ depending on which school of thought you belong to(!)


  1. The vast majority of your training should be done at aerobic intensities

2. The benefits of varying the types of workout and working towards race-specificity means you need the long rides

That said , you probably don’t need high volume anyway. Low volume for most athletes, Mid vol for experienced athletes with the time available and high volume for elite/pros who really want to push the boundaries. There are race winners using mid volume plans.


Hello all!

I’m registered for IM Chattanooga this coming fall, and i’m coming off of a VERY lazy summer / fall. To get back into form, I’m planning on Full dist Base Low Vol, followed by another Base Phase, this time mid vol., then Build and Specialty Mid Vol.

I’m new to TR (just a few weeks), and I’m in toy heaven with the trainer, new power meter pedals, etc. I’ve got a fairly long background in all three disciplines, but I’m not terribly fast in any of them. Looking to move up from mid pack with the structured training…

Looking forward to racing with you all!


I’ll offer an slightly alternative opinion to @JoeX which you can make of what you will :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

“It depends”

It depends on lots of things, mainly your training history, goals and priorities. If you have a really good aerobic base and a reasonably long history of endurance training you may do OK using shorter, harder rides though as Joe says there are significant physiological benefits to the longer aerobic rides.

It also depends on how long you’d anticipate the ride taking. If you can stretch the sweet spot rides to 2 hours say, and you are a solid rider on a quick course that might not take much more than 2 hours to ride then that strategy may work better than if you anticipate being out on course for significantly longer.

The other issue is that of your family relationships with your wife and daughter and these may well be more significant to you than the race outcome, especially if it’s more of a social trip. It all depends on the priorities you have and what you can negotiate with you family.

Maybe you could adapt the plans to suit you and mix and match a longer aerobic ride with a shorter sweet spot ride on alternate weekends? That might satisfy both sides of the issue, especially If you could stretch those shorter rides to 2 hours say. However it all depends on what you want to prioritise - the best decisions will be the ones that allow to achieve as much as possible in the race while maintaining positivity in the other areas of your life and only you can make that judgement.

I’d also generally agree that the High Volume Plans aren’t necessary or ideal for most but as I tend towards the higher volume plans I’m probably not the best one for advice on that!


I used the 70.3 mid volume base, some of the build, and the last two weeks of specialty to do my first ever 70.3 in November last year, finishing in a time of 5:06. I felt so awful for the next two weeks that I swore I’d never do a triathlon again.

Anywho, I’ve just started training for my first 140.6, on 1 December 2019 at Busselton. Something something glutton for punishment?


Ha ha, I have no idea what you’re talking about :wink:

Good for you. Clearly you secretly enjoy suffering, but don’t worry it won’t be that bad…it’ll be worse than that :smile:


I just signed up for my first Ironman event, 70.3 North Carolina.

I have a question and I hope this is the right place to ask. For this year I currently have two A races, an olympic in June and 70.3 North Carolina in October. There are 17 weeks between the two events. I am currently doing SSB1 until the first week of February when I will start the Olympic plan mid volume. Reading the TrainerRoad article on adjusting plans it would seem that after the Olympic I should jump into the the Half Distance Build and then Specialty phase. However my question is will the Olympic Plan give me enough of a base for the Half that I can skip the Base phase or should I instead do the Half Distance Base and Build phases? Or some other combination?

Some background info if it helps give advice, I am a former coligiate swimmer (but that was 8 years ago) who picked-up running in the last year and did a half marathon in October. I have communted by bike on and off for the last 4 years but never did any serious training. Bike is definately my weakest sport which is why I am here :grinning:


I’d say yes :slight_smile:

If you’re doing base/build/speciality mid volume Olympic, depending how hard you race give yourself some recovery time/mental break then go into build/spec mid vol half distance up to race day.

Oly and half training is similar, but have a look at the difference in weekly TSS to make sure you’re okay with it.

Also, be aware that’s a long period of structured training. Think now about fitting in holidays and slip weeks, so it’s less stressful when they happen!


I’m signed up for Ironman Lake Placid on July 28th. I did IM Mont Tremblant in 2017 as my first full and haven’t done much since then. I’ll be following the TrainerRoad low volume base, build, and speciality, with possibility of upping to mid volume on one of these if all is going well. Hoping the plan get get my FTP back up! Good luck to all in training!