7 day workout week not working. 9day schedule?

I’m a triathlete and workout 13-15 hours a week. It has come to my attention that a 7 day workout week is just not enough. Between swimming biking and running, there just isn’t enough time for easy and recovery days.
Monday - 3500 swim. Prob my easiest day
Tuesday - TR usually Vo2, 6-8 mile run
Wed- 5k swim plus 6-8 run
Thu- TR usually long tempo, 4-6 run
Fri- 5k swim plus long run 10-14
Sat- TR usually over unders plus 4-6 run and 4K swim. Sometimes I miss the swim
Sun - long bike plus 4-6 run

It would be great to have a day between Wednesday and Thursday and another easy day between Friday and Saturday. I could move the sat swim and have a rest day.

Has anyone converted to a 8-9 day schedule?

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Joe Friel recommends the 9 day week in his book fast after 50. It makes sense, especially for triathletes.


I’ve tried to extend the training schedule to a 8-9 day schedule for the reasons you highlight. My limiter was always figuring out how to accommodate the long cycling day, and the long run day, when it drifted into the work week. Even now, when I largely “own” my schedule M-F, I’m still challenged by family commitments both in the morning (6:30a-8:00a) and the evening (5:30ish to 7ish) and the psychological hurdle of going out for a 4-6hr ride on a weekday because it virtually eliminates any possibility of getting any work done (writing). I cut out travel – I used to fly at least once a month, typically transatlantic but also around Europe and to Asia, which made my Strava map interesting – to be at home more, but my wife still has at least one trip of a couple of days or a week or more 3 out of 4 weeks each month, so I’m often the solo parent to our two kids, 11 and 13. I don’t think Friel had this situation in mind for the ‘after 50’ crowd (I’m 51).

If you figure out the key @Alen help a brother out!


If you figure it out, let me know! Very tough to get everything in – especially when I can’t do 2x day like you are. Biggest hurdle to me was getting my brain to wrap around a 9 or 10 day schedule. Swim for me is tied to specific days – everything else is fairly flexible.

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I was an Xterra athlete at one time. Now only Ultra Distance Mountain Bike Racing. But I had the same problems with my schedule. I quit doing a long ride every Sunday. I used the first and third Sunday as a complete rest day and the 2nd and 4th I would do my long rides. With that said I would never do a full distance ride. I always kept it shorter and just ramped up the pace. I found this to be beneficial mentally and physically. Had some of my best results after making that change. I did the same for my long run and my long swim days. I cut them short and just worked out above my race pace. I can go back and look at my schedules for exact changes but that was the gist of it. It was a huge help. I questioned it early on but I wasn’t getting paid to race, in the end I did better and felt better mentally and physically. Just my experience and just something to think about.

And to this day I never do a super long ride. I just always workout above my race pace and create more time in my days and weeks.



Triathlete here too…I was struggling to fit everything in, leading to lots of double days which just weren’t working. 9 days don;t work for me as I need certain workouts (e.g. long bike) to always be on the same day.
What I’m trying now…and it seems to be working OK…is to have a 2 week cycle. Most of my workouts remain constant between the two weeks, but on a couple of days I swaps workouts between weeks. e.g. Tues wk1 = bike, Tues Wk2 = Swim

This leads to one week having more of an emphasis on bike and another on swim (the areas I’m targeting most) and I have found this good for physical and mental recovery.

I used to get frustrated if I couldn’t complete a planned weeks workouts, but doing it this way I feel more freedom to swap weeks if weather/work/family/training are not aligned. For example, work meetings meant I couldn’t bike much one week, but an early morning swim was possible ,so I swapped weeks. And last week the weather was great so I ditched the pool and enjoyed cycling instead.

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Is this using the European calendar, with 30, 12-day months?

Do you feel its beneficial to run 6 days a week? You might be able to remove or consolidate a couple of the shorter runs and free up some recovery time.

Sorry to be absent yesterday on my own discussion. Pretty loaded day at work so I couldn’t put too much thought into it.

@mountainrunner, thanks for the input. I spent some time going over my schedule. So look at it if you like. Like you, I have some autonomy over my schedule and I usually workout when the kids are at school. I have 10am - 1 pm blocked off for workouts. Thankfully the really long rides are few and only close to full IM’s. I do prefer to do them on weekdays though because I feel that it takes too much away from my family on weekends.

@dprimm, I came up in the end with a schedule of 3 days doubles, 1 easy, 4 days doubles, 1 day off. I think we fall into the trap to constantly do more. I know I do

@mike091979, I agree with you. I did exactly that for my Ironman last year. Alternating bike focus weeks and run focus weeks. Still ended up overtraining.

@psmith92, yeah, the number 1 thing that correlates most with run performance is volume. Unlike the bike and swim, the run will get you injured if you do too much intensity or if you do only 3-4 big runs. I get my volume through frequency. I target to be about 40 mpw for HIM and 50 for IM. 6 x 6 miles adds up quickly to 36 and you just have to extend a few of them to get to targets. Search for BarryP plan in Slowtwitch. He put this philosophy together and I have to say it works.

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Here is the changes I made to my schedule. This is the before changes and other than Monday’s, it was murderers row. Green is easy, yellow moderate, and red is hard days.

So I made a couple changes and it looks like this now.

So other than the bike portion looking light, I am pretty happy with it.


Umm…how is a “9 day week” better than less sessions in a 7 day week?

Have you looked at the TR tri plans? I compress mine into five days, theoretically leaving a 2 day weekend break. In reality I use it to catch up on missed sessions - preferably the easy ones.


No ones saying it’s “better. But from an ageing athlete or recovery point of view it’s good.


I’m not sure I get it - Is the TSS more spread out or is because there is more time between your long rides?

More time to rest between hard workouts. For me (at 53) I definitely need a couple of rest days back to back quite frequently.

From memory I believe Joe’s Fast after Fifty book initially lays out a 7day week with three bike workouts interspersed with strength or rest days and then goes on to suggest stretching this over 9 days to add in extra rest days - whilst retaining the same 3 bike workouts and the strength workouts. This way there is always 2 days separating each bike workout. Not sure what Joe would suggest if you weren’t interested in the strength days.

I have not tried it as prescribed. Unsure whether only 3 bike days every 7days is sufficient stimulus never mind every 9 days - bearing in mind I am at the young end of that particular target audience. Though of course if Joe says it is who I am to argue?


Yes. It’s the same amount of workouts but slightly more spread out and a rest day added. Doing less workouts in a week leaves me unsatisfied. Essentially, doing less in a week, it becomes a 14 day week grouped as 5 plus 2 easy then 5 plus 2 easy. That’s too light and spread out for me but it would work as well.

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I feel the same way about the bike. I am concerned about not having enough biking. I think one way to overcome this is to do the +1 versions of the workouts? So less frequency but each workout is harder.
I didn’t do that because I didn’t want to make the calendar easier and then add more tss to it. It would be contradictory. But I will monitor this aspect for the next few months

I think there’s a mismatch between your expectations and the reality of your training schedule. If I’m reading you correctly you overtrained on an easier schedule last year and are now looking to rearrange a schedule that has more work and fewer easier days because you are worried about training too little.

Rather than looking at creative ways of arranging the same amount of work in a different way why not look at creating a weekly schedule that’s achievable over the longer term and includes the amount of easier sessions that make the weeks training manageable.

What are your goals and races this year? To be already feeling like you aren’t able to cope with your chosen schedule in early March (I’m assuming you’re in the Northern Hemisphere) would raise lots of red flags for me, especially given you also say

The Barry P running plan is all well and good but very prescriptive and dogmatic. You are quite rightly looking to individualise a training plan to suit you but around a running plan that’s inflexible in it’s prescription.

Again, making assumptions around where you are in the world, I’d be looking to create a schedule that you can achieve into a 7 day period, rather than looking to squeeze a schedule you can’t into a slightly longer timeframe. That will I think offer you the best chance of success in the race season and lead to a significantly lower risk of burnout before you even get to race.


I agree. As a 67-year-old who is still working, I find the 9-day week plan interesting, but still not possible. Maybe I can start working part-time soon to accommodate this type of schedule. Meanwhile, I am simply struggling with the Build plans offered by TrainerRoad. I wish there were some plans that had a reduced rate of adding stress. The current plans for cycling supposedly contain 2 hard days (Tues. & Sat.), but I’m finding them to contain 4 hard days (Tues., Thurs., Sat., Sun.). My build plan had its last hard Sunday yesterday, and I simply cut it short as well as all 4 of the “hard” workouts of the last week.

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Sounds like a good reason to go part-time :wink:

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So now when I do a plan I always cut out 1 workout to whatever volume I am doing. Instead I will take 2 of the workouts and do the +1 version of it. I kick the z2 rides always. Just good for me to get that mental break and adding 10-15 TSS on those two other rides gives me what I am missing. As long as I stay mentally fresh through a plan I always, no matter how much it sucks hit my numbers now. Such a good feeling and with the extra rest day it’s great.