16 weeks of training to event: build or specialty?

Hi all,

Question to the triathletes, but cyclists may answer this as well:
I have planned a Half-IM end of April - you could call it my A-race given it’s my only scheduled so far.
I am currently out with a mild slipped disc but plan on taking on the training beginning of the year. Everything will be better in 2019 :slight_smile:

Fortunately, this leaves exactly 16 weeks between the start of the training and the event. So my question is, would you rather do:
a) 8 weeks base, 8 weeks build
b) 8 weeks base, 8 weeks specialty

Am sure this or similar has been asked somewhere before… Thanks in advance!




I’m going to take a different approach and say answer c: 8 weeks base, 4 week build, 4 weeks specialty.

Here is my logic:
Since you are coming off an injury, then the base will be a good way to get you back into the groove and start building fitness. I’m not sure what you have planned for the swim and run but I would focus on building volume rather than intensity in those two disciplines too. It all depends on your schedule and your fitness before the injury but I could see 3-4 swims a week with a form, speed, and 2 endurance focus split. Running would be 2 easy short runs, 2 medium runs (hills and tempo) , one long run (extended long, build pace, negative split)

8 weeks should be enough to stop seeing a stimulus response so switching to 4 weeks build would help change things up and raise your proverbial threshold ceiling. In the swim, it depends on how your form is and where your limitations are but if your form is good then I would swap in longer speed sets for the form focus day and keep the endurance day. On the run, alternate hills with traditional speed work and longer hills sets and extend the tempo.

Then finally it’s improtant to get race specific which is why I did not select “a” as an option. 4 weeks of HIM specific workouts should be plenty while keeping your Vo2 gains since those disappear completely in 6 weeks typically. The swim and run need to become more specific during this time too. Practice visualization, pacing, transitions, and nutrition during this phase too. You know the drill :slight_smile: A one week taper should do you fine but go with what has worked for you in the past keeping in mind that you will not have the accumulated fatigue of past seasons.

I hope that helps but keep in mind that it’s just my two watts :wink: . @julianoliver what was your logic behind selecting A?

This sounds interesting. I was considering this as well, but was afraid that cutting the build short by 4 weeks would somehow “impede” the specialty phase, but realise there’s nothing that really restricts us from mixing and matching. I think I might actually try that!

You don’t say which plans you will follow (I assume the Half Distance Plans?), how much training or TSS you are used too and also how long you anticipate the ride will take.

Other than the options you’ve identified one other might be to use a Sustained Power Build and work your swimming and running around that. Lots of ways to adapt that either by including a longer ride in place of one of the shorter interval sessions, you could do the Thursday, Saturday, Sunday rides from the High Vol plan for some solid longer efforts, maybe 2 of those and the shorter Monday VO2 efforts might be more balanced - there are lots of ways you can slice and dice the plans to meet your needs.

A lot will depend on your anticipated ride time, if you are going to be riding closer to 2 hours then those type of rides will be great, if you going to be riding for longer then a different approach might be better.

Having said all that I like @tribuddha’s idea and the logic behind it. There are plenty of ways to skin the cat using the plans to get to something that will work for you.

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I’m quite a beginner. I’ve got one 70.3 under my belt and totally blew up halfway through the bike (3+ hour) and basically walked the half-marathon after that. It was 37 degree Celsius (not supposed to be an excuse, but it was freaking hot). I expect milder weather conditions for the 70.3 come April.

And to come back to your initial point: Yes, I was planning to follow the Half Distance plans for the cycling. On the running and swimming, I follow the below regime.

I usually work long hours at work and have a family w/ small kids. I try for early morning workouts 6 days a week, although during the week I often need to skip one. I see biking as my weakest discipline simply because I didn’t have a bike until 12 months ago :slight_smile:, so I schedule 3 rides a week, do runs in between. Swimming is like the icing on the cake, as a second workout either on Sat or Sun. I managed to get TSS of 400 that way, on average, 600 at the most.

I like @tribuddha’s suggestion and will probably try that unless I get other ideas.
Any thoughts appreciated! Thanks!

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