16 months until event. What's the best line to take?

Hi,
I was training on TR for a diy ironman from Oct-March2020 so that I can use that data for April 2021 ironman texas. (Low volume full distance) I needed to know if I could even “get there” before actually registering. I now have faith in myself, TR, and it’s full distance tri plan. That was my first experience with TR. Because of covid, I stopped near the end of the specialty phase, and I remember that I felt complete and ready.

2021 ironman texas is now a scratch for me since either it will be canceled or its not enough time for me to prepare. I’m not in a rush. With that in mind I’m targeting Ironman Texas 2022. That’s about 16 months out. This would be my first ironman and it is also a major life goal that needs fulfillment. I’ve ran a marathon, quarter distance tri, several 75-80 mile rides, a couple 100k rides in the past couple years. I’m slow with a lot of room for improvement. Ftp 205 at 69 kg.

Looking up TR’s custom plans on the website, it suggested to do 3cycles of BaseBuildSpecialty1, BaseBuildSpecialty 2, then BaseSpecialty3. No rest weeks, etc. Basically a 70+ week training plan from here until April 2022.

That sounds like way too much, or exactly what I need.

I won’t be swimming right now until I feel that my local gym pool is safe. Swimming is my weakest, cycling is my strength. One goal would be to “smash” the bike leg.

I’ve been focusing on nutrition and strength (core/ leg) and riding (messing around) on Zwift (kickr v5).

The problem is I need a routine. Or that I need to take the optimal line here. I want to use my time wisely, start putting in some real work, and improve.

Should I start a base plan now? Which one?

Suggestions?

Your best course of action is whatever is able to keep you consistent from now until race day.

What I’ve done for past Ironman and Half-Ironman races is wait until 28 weeks out and then start the Ironman Base (12w), Build (8w) and Specialty (8w). In the time I have before this I’ve done some sort of mix of Sweet Spot Base, Sustained Power Build and 40k TT plans. The reason I’ve done this instead of just doing the Ironman Base, Build, Specialty on repeat is it kind of keeps me more engaged and lets my try new things and train “different systems.”

I’d put some sort of goal in 2021 even if it isn’t a race that you can work towards. This will keep you consistent and engaged without getting burned out or bored with a goal that is so for out. For example for, I am aiming to do IM CDA 2021 (if it happens). For 2020 my plan was to do a bike focus for the year. I did base -> build -> base -> build -> specialty. I had a couple carrots I was chasing through the year. One was a sub-53 40k TT (due to covid had to make my own race) and the other was chasing a top-10 time on a ~25 minute long competitive hill-climb where I live. It was fun to have goals this year that help me towards my long term (18 month) goal while simultaneously taking my mind off it while working towards those ones. During this 10-12 month period I was able to get my FTP up to 360 which was about 30-40 watts higher than it had ever been before.

So for you maybe consider starting things off with Sweet Spot Base I and II low volume and then depending on your current fitness level add in an extra endurance ride a week as well as running 3-4 times a week.

Thanks I appreciate the advice. It makes a lot of sense to choose some goals for 2021 before the final 28 weeks out.

Trying out different systems could be key also.

Good luck on the sub-53 40k.

For something that far away and almost purely endurance dependent then, in general, the best plan is the one that maximizes your volume while keeping your motivation up. So don’t worry about whether a certain plan is “the best” but rather what will keep you excited to train. So maybe that includes something punchier in the mean time. Even though that isn’t directly related to an IM, if it keeps you engaged and riding/running/swimming then go for it.

But it would definitely be key to have some shorter term goals that will lead you to success in your big, far away goal. Not only will it probably help with the motivation but it would also serve as a check on your process. You don’t want to get to Texas in 22 and find out that you weren’t doing the right thing. Give yourself some opportunities to test your training/race strategies and to practice racing.