Adjusting a plan

My main focus of my training is 70.3 triathlons.
I joined TrainerRoad and have “followed” the Sweet Spot Base plan and then the Half Ironman Base, Build and Speciality plans. The inverted commas is because it is the loosest version of following a plan.
My work is such that for 2 weeks (14 consecutive days) every 6 weeks, I am limited to workouts of 60-75 mins in the morning and 30-40 mins at lunchtime/evening…this includes weekends. (These workouts are inside in a gym - I have access to treadmill and weights.) As such, even the low volume version of the 70.3 plans have workouts much longer than the time I have available. I cannot get up earlier (I’m already getting up at 0430) I cannot go to bed later (I’m generally getting into bed between 2200-2300).
During that two week period, I do not have the time to do the prescribed work-outs.
During the four weeks in between, I could comply with the plan, but there is a definite desire to get outside and find some headspace.

So, my question is, how would you adjust the plan for the 2 “time poor” weeks. Options I’ve thought of:

  1. Substitute a (much) shorter version of the long workouts - ie keep the same intensity but reduce duration (if its planned to be 150mins and I do 60mins - I wonder what the benefits are).
  2. Substitute a Sweet Spot / Threshold type workout - ie increase the intensity to compensate for the reduced duration.
  3. Substitute 2 weeks of the Time Crunched (45mins) plan and restart the 70.3 plans when I’m in my time-rich period of my life.

Any thoughts are much appreciated.

#2 makes sense to me. I think some increase in intensity is necessary to keep your stress level tending upward throughout the longer plan duration.

#3 can work too. It may depend on which types of workouts you prefer or think your body will respond to best.

Thanks for the response.
#2 made the most sense to me, on the basis of specificity, ie Sweetspot intensity being not too far from HIM intensity.
#3 The 45min Time Crunched, plan seems to be the plan which matches my limitations in time - though not necessarily having the specificity.

Either way, I’ve learnt that I cannot keep the stress level heading upwards, I don’t have the time/capability to recover during that two week period to keep the CTL heading upwards, the best I can do, is manage its decline.

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The problem with 2 is that you’re already getting enough sweet spot work, and you’re losing the most valuable, endurance sessions for 70.3.
I would consider 1 a bit more.

I’m not sure if you can split the long rides up in two and have them on different days?

There could also be - and this is just a thought - some value in swapping your recovery weeks about. It could be too tough, six weeks “on” followed by the two recovery weeks.

I would substitute in some threshold or sweet spot work, especially because that is very specific to your race demands. That being said, although many triathletes don’t utilize vo2max workouts as often as road cyclists, those can help you bump up your FTP, so a more varied time crunched plan would be a good option.

There are 1 million ways to get from A to B here, so don’t worry if you’re not hitting a plan to a T; they should be pliable and fit with your life. If you’re getting the hours in that you feel you need and quality workouts, you’ll do great when the event rolls around!

Also, definitely get outside to find the headspace; don’t just ride the trainer! It’s spring/summer with amazing weather!

Keep us posted with how things go.


Thanks for the response.

Agree with your comments. Cutting a Z2 ride down from 150mins to 60mins has always been of dubious benefit in my mind. The one consolation in terms of fat utilisation is that the 60mins ride would be done fasted - but it does nothing for getting used to moving for 2.5 hours. I do try to compensate for these two weeks of no long rides/runs by doing more long, slow Z2 sessions in my 4 weeks when I’m not time constrained. I’m guessing the benefits carry forward - and it is the best I can do.

I understand the point about the Sweet Spot sessions, and getting enough already in the plan. My thought is that doing multiple Sweet Spot sessions in the week is kind of like the Sweet Spot Base plan - ie building base through more intense, aerobic work.

In terms of recovery weeks, my life is a set of repeating 6 week blocks - so I tend to do two blocks of two weeks building, one week recovery. In reality it is 2 weeks building, 1 week recovery, 1 week building, 1 week reduced work, 1 week recovery. I have no capability to move weeks around, my life is set by my work rota.

Thanks for the response.
I think that the Sweet Spot sessions make sense as its not too dissimilar to the 70.3 race intensity - in an hour’s available time, I can get a decent session in and I should be able to do multiple sessions in the week.
I try to get outside when I can, it does help with the mood moderation. I’m also lucky that I have very steep hills right on my doorstep, which are definite threshold/VO2 max intensity - and most of them are 4-10mins duration. I also have flat lands, for the most sustained power sessions. I try to do the “philosophy” of a TR workout, wrapped up with some Z2 to start and finish the ride, so that gives the outside ride some structure.

awesome! good luck with it all!