70.3 Triathlon straight into Crits

Hey Folks,

I’ve been on the HV 70.3 triathlon program for the last 23 weeks and about to do my race this Sunday (3rd Nov) - thank F it’s taper week!

After the race I’ve got about a month before I head OS for a holiday (8th Dec) and I’m planning to cram in a few crit races over that time.

What’s the best plan to do during those 4-5 weeks?

How do you structure the plan around the races (typically Saturday and Sunday mornings)?

Not sure if it makes any difference but my FTP is 284W (based on last ramp test 7 weeks ago), I’m currently 74-75kg (3.78-3.83W/kg) and I’ll be entering D Grade (lowest here in Australia).

Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated.


Hey dude, where is your 70.3 at? Have you followed the 70.3 plan closely? I have my first 70.3 in June

It’s not an actual IM 70.3 event, but same distance and figure that’s easiest to explain. It’s Murray Man in Barmera, South Australia. What 70.3 are you doing, is that Cairns?

Yep, followed the plan basically spot on, only a few alterations on the fly based on how the body was feeling (also had a couple of separate weeks out due to injury / sick).

Only real change I made to the plan was remove the Sunday swim and replaced with an easy recovery ride for after the long run. This made my legs feel so much better plus I’m not all that fussed about the swim, it’s the ride and run I’m slow in.

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@benporteous mine is the 70.3 in Coeur D’Alene in Idaho

Is there a “night and day” difference with your fitness level post-23 weeks?

Oh nice! Is this your first 70.3? Have you started a program yet?

Hard to know exactly as you are carrying a far bit of fatigue throughout the high volume plan. I’m really hoping I freshen up a lot this week. My FTP has gone from 267W on 25th June to 284W on 10th September, plus I’d imagine there has been a slight bump over the last 7 weeks.

I can report back next week after my race and let you know if I feel there was a substantial difference. For reference I did the medium volume plan last couple of years, which resulted in a 70.3 PB for this same race in 2017. 2018 I blew up on the bike.

@benporteous yes, will be my first 70.3 (3rd Triathlon) . Swimming is my nemesis. Not following any specific plan right now. I’m just keeping active on the bike, running, swimming, and gym time right now. I just had my big toe nail permanently removed, so I’ve been sedentary all weekend. I’ll be pulling for you. I hope you kick ass! Keep me posted

Ouch, so you’re a trail running I presume. No need for toe nails, they just slow you down.

I’m one of the rare triathletes that can actually swim. Problem with that is you spend the rest of the race having people pass you.

Definitely jump on a plan as soon as you can dude, consistency and structure are everything.

I will definitely be on a structured plan, I need this damn toe to heel so I can get back in the water. I’m hoping I can wear my cycling shoes tomorrow

I don’t really know how crits work. But just as an anecdote I usually follow my 70.3 season with a few local road races (100k, rolling). Even at 4.1 w/kg I can not hold my own, all that accelerating out of corners and closing gaps in cross winds means I can’t stay with the p/1/2 field for more than half the race. I have very little experience riding in the peloton, so technique and position plays a big role in this as well I would think.

If I was serious about these races I’d do a lot of the punchy workouts, like Huxley or Diamond Valley and prepare myself to hang on.

@TG333 Ok, just looked up Huxley and Diamond Valley. They look like torture, but I can definitely see the correlation between the workouts and road riding.

What plan do you switch to after your 70.3 season or do you just add individual workouts to your calendar?

If you’re racing every Saturday and Sunday then I’d keep it pretty simple and do one hard workout on a Tuesday or Wednesday, and keep any other riding at recovery/endurance intensities, maybe a bit of tempo but nothing higher. So a fairly polarised approach. You’re going in having already peaked for your 70.3, so you’re just looking to maintain that fitness for a month and sharpen up the top end a bit, and the racing itself is going to help you with the top end. You shouldn’t need to do any base workouts like sweetspot or threshold as you’ve got a ton of base already and you’re not going to lose it in a month. So for that midweek workout I’d be looking at VO2 Max, Anaerobic or Sprint sessions. Short intervals with short recovery could help you make some gains fast e.g. Spanish Needle, Ansel Adams, Gendarme. Other option, particularly if you’re new to crit racing, would be to find a good midweek group ride which is a race simulation e.g. a Wednesday night worlds type of ride.

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With the overall endurance level I’m sure you’ve built up, you might be well served trying to get into a breakaway. This will help negate any issues you might have from riding in a large bunch and you should be able to take better lines through the corners. That said, in a lower category race everything tends to get chased down so be prepared to work hard!

Training wise, I’d take a look at the Crit specialty plan. Lots of short, sharp bursts and minimal recovery. Get used to your HR being elevated.

@cartsman Awesome, thanks for the advise mate. So something like the following should work?
Monday - Full rest
Tuesday - Intervals (i.e. Spanish Needle)
Wednesday - Endurance ride
Thursday - Solid group ride
Friday - Endurance/recovery ride
Saturday - Crit
Sunday - Crit

Would you suggest 2 a days? So for the Tuesday and Thursday I do an any easy spin as well as the hard sessions?

@PusherMan Yeah, the dream is a breakaway however I’ve never been able to make it stick. As you said, they always chase. Maybe I need to work harder for longer to make it work. Yeah I was looking into the crit plan but wasn’t sure how to integrate this with actual racing as it seems to be designed to make you peak for an A Race, instead of weekly races.

What would you hope to get out of the two-a-days? You have more than enough endurance base to race in the crits you’re likely to be entering. I would just focus on the interval/group ride sessions and be done with it.

You need to focus on repeating surges. It’s worlds different than a 70.3 bike leg, but you’ll have good aerobic fitness going in, so a month is enough time to build that kind of fitness up to a point where you won’t blow up. Since you’re racing D grade, you should be fine fitness wise, but I wouldn’t expect to be able to just ride off the front at 3.8 W/kg. Work those intervals, get comfortable in a pack, go practice cornering skills. That’s what I would have you working on for this month, not adding to total volume.

Now that I think about it, if you want to, you could work a skills session in AFTER your interval session on one of the days and count that as a two-a-day, but I personally don’t see the need to add an hour ride in after your intervals. Recover.


Thanks for all the feedback. I’m probably just used to doing two-a-days as part of triathlon. Will feel weird not doing AM & PM sessions.

Yep, definitely think working on bike handling and pack skills is the low hanging fruit.

Thanks again for your suggestions.

No problem. I would tell you to enjoy the time away from two a days. I’ve very much enjoyed my season away from tri training, focused only on the bike. It’s been refreshing. And I’ve maintained my run fitness well enough as it translates well from the bike. Swim will come along once I get back in the water.

@kurt.braeckel Oh so you’ve found the bike fitness has kept your run fitness? That’s one thing I’m worried about. How often do you run to test yourself? I’ll probably do a couple of parkruns in that month.

If anything I think that might be overdoing it, depends on your definition of “endurance ride” and “solid group ride”! If the former is 60-90 minute lower end zone 2 stuff like Pettit and the latter is a steady ride then you’ll be fine. On the other hand I know what triathletes are like, there’s a tendency to work hard all the time, so if your idea of an endurance ride is 2-3 hours or more with a bunch of high end zone 2 or tempo work, and you’re smashing it in the group ride then I’d say you’re not going to be fresh enough to race well.

For crit racing I find you need fresh legs. It’s different from triathlons and TTs - you can still crank out a decent steady state effort on tired legs, but when you’re having to repeatedly go above threshold and recover you want that extra spring. And this is an end of season hit out, you don’t need to be thinking about building/maintaining your base, you just need to be doing enough to keep your fitness and go into those races fresh. If you did literally nothing apart from weekend racing plus a Tuesday interval session you’d likely be fine for a month. I also realise that coming from triathlon where you’re balancing 3 sports and doing 2 a days then the idea of going 2-3 days without training would likely drive you nuts, but I really would keep those days pretty easy, think of them more as active recovery and keeping the legs and metabolism ticking over rather than training.

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The leg speed requirements of cycling line up very nicely with running. The demand on muscles is similar, and the cardiovascular/aerobic aspects are nearly identical. I’ve found cycling is great cross training to maintain run fitness. The reverse doesn’t really translate for whatever reason.

When running, I test every four to six weeks. I ran zero times this year, then entered a fun run race thing and had no problem running a sub-6 mile during the ~3k run… without a warmup… and I know my aerobic endurance was fine to go much longer if I’d wanted to. I’d guess I would need a month to sharpen up my running to be really race ready.

The thing I lost with all that time not running was impact resistance. My calves were sore for four days! :rofl: That’s easily maintained with an easy run or two periodically.

Speaking from experience, you really need to resist the urge to do too much… give your body a break, enjoy something new. You’ll be able to regain what you lose pretty quickly with all the riding you’re going to do.