A year to prepare for IM what combination of base/build/specialty would you do?

Hi guys and gals,

I am preparing for next season and am new to trainer road, was considering doing 2xbase, 2 Build and 2 Specialty, is this wise? should I split these out more?


Hey there,

I’ve used TrainerRoad to prepare for two IRONMANS, at the full distance, and 5 x 70.3s plus a slew of Olympic and Sprint. Hopefully this info helps :slight_smile:

I’m assuming the 140.6 would be your “A” race for the year. What I normally have done, is just backdated from race day (shown in the Specialty plan for the Full Distance Triathlon) and that helps build out Specialty, Build, and Base calendar. I found that those phases prepare you specifically for that distance, and that the allotted time to complete those phases is excellent for getting you into shape for race day. That should get you through about 28 weeks of training, which means Day 1 starts 28 weeks before your race.

I will say that I usually skipped the “long-ass Saturday ride” that TrainerRoad had scheduled for me and went outside and rode there for 5+ hours instead. It was typically way too tedious hanging out in my garage for 5 hours… It just wasn’t worth it for me mentally. Plus, there is much more variety outdoors!

As far as the filler for the other weeks in the year, I actually used plans to work on my weaknesses. I’ve done the Olympic Triathlon training plans, Short Power Build, and others to make me a better all-around cyclist. I found that only sticking with the triathlon-specific plans created a lot of mental fatigue (seeing the same workouts over and over) as well as it just became uninteresting. It was much more productive to work on the things that I struggle with, rather than staying “steady-state” the entire time. Those Anaerobic sprints in Bashful are INTENSE!

I find the “Half Triathlon” plans much more productive, only because I have laid the base work to successfully ride the 112 miler for the Full. I do prefer plans that add more intensity rather than focus on the “long-haul.”

Experimentation will serve you the best across various plans, but certainly follow an entire plan from Base > Build > Specialty at least once to see how your body reacts. As far as if you have multiple “A” races in a year, I do a set of Base > Build > Specialty > Base (and possibly add another round of Specialty, but only if there is time). I’m usually pretty cooked after a season that long and haven’t found that a second round helps me that much.

Hope this helps!


Thank you! Yes that will be my A race but I am giving myself a year to prepare, I am hoping that I don’t just survive but actually feel good-ish throughout. I’d like to start as early as possible to give me enough time to prepare, and I’ve chosen to start with a low volume base to build me up, but then I am wondering if a medium base, followed by low build/ medium build and then the same for specialty will be better…

Did you do the low/medium or high ?


I am also planning on my first Full IM next year and have tentatively planned to go this route:

  • Sweet Spot Base Vol 1 & 2 (12 weeks) - Low volume as I hope to focus on strength building and the run
  • Sustained Power Build (8 weeks) - Low volume
  • Full Tri (Base, Build, Speciality 28 weeks) - Med volume (backing off on weights)

I prefer to substitute my Saturday rides outdoors as well.

I used the Half Tri plan (for all swim, bike and run workouts) in preparation for my first HIM this season and couldn’t have be happier with my performance on race day. I had negative splits on the run and in hindsight could have pushed a lot harder on the bike. It was my first so i was being conservative! Looking forward to continue getting stronger on the bike during the off season.

Good Luck!

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That’s awesome thanks man, did you follow the bike and swim to the T?

Pretty much…all except Wednesday Tempo runs. I normally turned Saturday into a longer brick run to make up for the missed distance, but my running speed never increased during the plan as a result (which I wasn’t too concerned about as the run is my “strongest” event). This is why I’m selecting the Low volume Base and Build plans over the fall/winter to ensure that Wednesday track night will happen and I can race even faster next year.

I love Coach Chad’s swim workouts and will continue to do the HIM swim plan(s) until the Full Tri training block begins.

Now all I have to do is to decide on a Full IM next fall!!

Hey Andre,

I did High for Base, High for Build, and Medium for Peak :slight_smile: I find that most, not all, of the High Volume plans just do not go well with everything else I have going on in my life, and that the extra TSS, can easily be made up in other ways.

Best of luck!

What volume plans did you use for your Half Iron?

I used Medium volume for the Half Iron. It worked well for me and I’ll do the same for the Full.

The only reason I’m going Low volume for the fall/winter is to use that extra time to focus on strength building and running.

Ok thanks! I used low volume base/build/speciality for last half iron. I had a 25 min bike PR (which was awesome) but struggled hard during the run (and I come from a running background). I’m upping to mid volume for next year—hoping that will help improve my bike AND set me up for a strong run off the bike. Glad to hear you did well on mid vol half iron plans!

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Wow 25 min PR on the bike is awesome! Good Luck on your next HIM, let us know how the Med Vol plan works out for ya!

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