Adapting TR triathlon training plan to mountain triathlons

Hi everyone
Next year, I intend to participate to several HIM triathlon here in France. Some of them are mountain triathlons. Most of them have the standard HIM distances (1.9k/90k/21k). However, they are significantly more demanding, due the additional elevation gains (between 2000 and up to 4000, BIKE+RUN combined).
How would you adapt TR training plans to take into consideration these specificities ?

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Personally i would just change any of the speed work in the running portion of the plan to hill work. Do some long runs on hilly terrain to get used to a decent amount of elevation but keeping it to a repeatable pace for the climbs.

For the bike, proper pacing and understanding your vi will be higher than typical so it might means you target a lower IF for the ride.

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Thnaks @Bioteknik

Make sense.

You’re point is essentially a race-day adaptation, right ? For training, I guess I should try to have workouts which reflect to variety of power of the race.

More like you may need to adjust your race-day strategy. I’m not so sure you should change too much up with the plan itself. Those longer rides between 80-85% are still probably going to have a benefit, but if you’re going to be on the bike longer than a typical half, you may want to only climb at 85% and target lower than the typical .85 IF for a half if you still want to have a good run. Putting the courses in to best bike split would be able to do a better job of letting you know your power demands based on several different pacing strategies and you can adjust if necessary.

Thanks @Bioteknik. I’ll run my race though BBS. By the way, what is the rule of thumb on how you should adapt the length of your workout to the length of your A-race ?

The old rule of thumb i was told when i started gets harder to do for long distance triathlons. Trying to get in a few bike rides that are close to your total finishing time. I am also doing a half next year with a lot of elevation change but will only be getting in mostly 3hr outdoor rides because of other responsibilities.

Don’t change much at all for the plan, just be smart about your planned outdoor rides, those are mental preps as much as physical.

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Personally I think I would change some of the bike workouts for this type of triathlon as it is a significantly different skill set to a ‘normal’ triathlon.

Obviously I don’t know which races you are doing but if they are anything along the lines of the Alp D’Huez triathlon (definitely on my bucket list for one day!) then you are looking at 30/45/60 mins efforts followed by 15/20 minutes of recovery/coasting - very different to a most triathlons where you are looking for a more even effort.

I’d suggest looking at including rides like the Wright Peak, Hunter or Eddy McKenney variations. Anything along the lines of 20-30 -or even longer- intervals at tempo/sweetspot. If you are looking to race those sorts of triathlons you can afford to push at a harder effort knowing there’s a decent recovery afterwards before the next short flat/climb.


@Bioteknik @JulianM Thanks to both of you.

I would tend to incline with @JulianM’s approach. As a matter of fact, l’Alpe d’Huez is part of the plan. The other two are Altriman and Evergreen. I’ll run their courses through BBS and see the lenght of the sweet spot intervals for the climb I should prepare for.

I’m also interested in that topic.
how would you pace yourself for a one hour climb with 9/10% gradient?
If you dont pay attention to your output you might be close to ftp for the whole climb which could pave the road for an empty tank.
Maybe you need to train very close to FTP, sthg like 90,95% to succeed in races like that?