70.3 Triathlon Training Plan and Race Day Pacing

Hi There! I’m following the Trainerroad Half Ironman Distance High Volume Plan and have a few questions. One question is there is no mention of recommended Race Day pacing for the Swim/ Bike/ Run. Prior to using Trainerroad plan, for other Triathlon Races In the final Build and Speciality Phase I would practice my Race Day pacing efforts in Training. Typically a WU, then a few timed blocks of Race Pace with rest in between, and Cool Down. But the Trainerroad SBR training workouts, as fas as I can see, don’t call out any specific blocks at Race Pace. The Bike specifically, even in the Specialty Phase, has either above FTP intervals during the week or 65 to 70% of FTP long rides. Meanwhile I always target my 70.3 Race Day pace between 85% and 80% of FTP. But the Trainerroad Plan has not suggested Race Day pace. Am I missing seeing something written into the plan? Thanks!

I’ve never seen anything in the plan (might be wrong). I rode my last race at just shy of 80% of FTP. This was also a flat course so was quick enough without having to really go too hard. There has been discussion on the podcast about pacing and there are plenty of pacing guides online that all land in that range.

85% feels high to me, but that is my personal opinion and based on me knowing I couldn’t run a decent half marathon after that. I would love to be able to race the bike at 85% of FTP and run afterwards!


Hi Dreamchaser, welcome to the forums - join us on the IM thread, you may find your questions already answered

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Why not do race pace efforts throughout training? In the past I’ll do lots of intervals at 70.3 power. Today I even ran 4x1mi repeats at race pace. And the race isn’t until may. Are you wondering what your pacing should be? Or wondering why the plan doesn’t have pacing efforts built in?

I saw a chart at one time which based % FTP on a TSS target. Can’t find the original but what I’ve used is below:
* Goal watts determined by estimated time as % of FTP:
* 2:20 - 2:30 – 87-85%
* 2:30 - 2:40 – 85-84%
* 2:40 - 2:50 – 83-82%
* 2:50 - 3:00 – 81-80%
* 3:00 - 3:15 – 79-80%
* > 3:15 – 78-76%


maybe I’m racing too low?? I ride a 70.3 bike leg in ~2:29 but that is below 80% of FTP. Is this chart specifically for triathlon or TT?

Both 70.3 and full charts are here :slight_smile:

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I think you are! Workouts such as Polar Bear and Gibraltar in the Specialty are at half ironman race pace. The mid volume version of the plan has a lot more of that though. Understandably so - higher volume dictates lower intensity, hence all the long slow stuff in the plan you’re doing.

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If an athlete is light on bike training, or if it’s there first 70.3 or the weather conditions are extreme, then I would agree that 80% Intensity Factor or even less is smart. But according to Hunter Allen and Andrew Coggan (book: Training and Racing with a Power Meter, the optimal Intensity Factor ® (IF®) range to race a Half Ironman is . 83-. 87. TrainingPeaks Joel Friel also recommends 80 to 85% of FTP.

My main contention is in the Trainerroad High Volume 70.3 plan I don’t see any bike blocks @ Race Pace. And the plan also doesn’t suggest a Race Pace. Meanwhile Race Specific Pace is a super important component of training and Race Day!

You are correct! Thank you. I was focusing on the weekend workouts because in prior plans that’s when I did Race Pace pacing blocks. Polar Bear, Gibralatr and even Leavitt and White are on the schedule for mid-week – all four are in the 70.3 HV and revolve right around that 85% IF.

My buddy who qualified for 70.3 worlds raced at .87 IF and had his best Run ever. He admits he pushed the razors edge of intensity on the bike; but he also had his best and most consistent 18 weeks of SBR training going into it. He also said the key to pushing the IF is to make certain your VI (Variability Index) between AP (average power) and NP is below 1.03.

At my last 70.3 race (June 2019) I cycled @ .85 IF (235 AP/ 238 NP) 2:27 bike time, and I held it together on the run, until the last 2 miles. But admittedly my Run training was mediocre at best going into the race.

Don’t forget that the TrainerRoad plan is accommodating to a wide range of individuals. Son who might aim for 0.65 to 0.7 and some who might aim for 0.85. My advice would be use the weekend ride to practice being in the zone you hope to ride for your race. They might mean swapping out a workout. Also, for those rides make sure you are staying in aero pretty much the entire time. You need to teach your body how to work at that percent of FTP while still staying aero.

As for % FTP goals themselves, I do feel like sometimes those charts aim a bit high if you hope to run well off the bike. Fwiw I did a 2:25 on a hilly course where my NP was 0.77. I was able to run a 1:26 which was 6-7 minutes slower than my best open half marathon which was a month prior.

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Thanks for the feedback. I think in general I’m asking too much of a cookie cutter training plan. At some point I hope to afford a coach.

Thanks! I’ll check out the thread.

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It does sound like we are similar in terms of performance and probably strengths as well. For me personally racing any higher than 80% will destroy my run.

Key here, I believe, is I’m not a great runner. I ride conservatively to maintain the ability to run.

In the plans are lots of two hour sweet spot sessions (Polar Bear, etc) with brick runs afterwards. I can hold it together for 10k following a ride like that but not the full half marathon.

Professionals ride a higher % and you buddy who qualified for worlds is probably an example of a well conditioned and well trained athlete with some history in the sport?

I suggest the plans intend those long SS sessions to be your race pace simulations. Hence the runs afterwards. My goal is to work towards holding a higher intensity in the bike but first I want to nail the run with a conservative bike.

Take 5 mins off the bike split could cost you 10 mins on the run if you fall apart at the end.

I think that is a bad strategy…time should be the consequence of a properly paced bike leg, not a goal.

Time is based on a number of factors…power, aerodynamics, course profile, wind, etc.

And those numbers seem very high for the related times…I did Muncie 70.3 (which is a VERY flat course) in 2:19 at ~75% FTP and Racine 70.3 in 2:26 at ~79%.

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That matches with my power numbers and my expectations of times as well…

Proper pacing will depend on the time it takes. If the course, the wind, your FTP, weight, drag coefficient, etc. dictate that riding at 80% of FTP will take 3h30m, then 80% of FTP is way too high a pacing target; Riding at 80% for that long will set you up for disaster on the run. If you’re Lionel Sanders and riding at 60% of FTP will take 2h30m, then you are probably leaving too much on the table; you could shave 25+ minutes off by riding at 80%, without significantly impacting your run time.

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I agree w/you here - in looking at the chart posted above - the nuance of efforts is more clearly articulated. I’d use the chart to determine effort. The %'s I posted were for a well prepared strong runner and would setup some for failure (myself included).

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Okay, I agree with a lot of what you said in this thread, but I’ve learned to never ever ever be guided by “my buddy did this and that” sort of argumentation. One well-known local age grouper here, who has once won Ironman Weymouth (in absence of a pro field) and has even attempted a 2-hour bike on a flat course, was known for training between 10 or 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. (A busy IT programmer, and a father). I thought it was OK for me to be finishing workouts at 11 p.m., I mean it had to be. Turned out, it wasn’t. I couldn’t expect good results from such a schedule, as 99% of athletes couldn’t. Same thing with the “broke 10 hours in an Ironman on 10 hrs/week of training” success stories - utterly meaningless to the general population. OK, RANT OVER :wink:

My example, to illustrate how individual these things are: I’m half-decent on the bike, often finishing in the 10th percentile in short-course races and about the 20th in middle distance here locally. But my best 70.3 I rode at 79% of my “FTP” obtained in the ramp test. (Also it was the hardest I’ve managed to ride in my four 70.3s! Bizarre guy, me). It was a 2:30 bike (17th percentile), followed by a 1:40 run, so an okay run for my standards (21st percentile).