Check My Math / Goals - Sub 6 Bike in 2025 140.6

Hi All - Coming off L5-S1 slip disc and inguinal hernia surgery. Had almost 9 months off the bike. Have my eyes on IM Lake Placid in 2025 (if they renew contract) with a goal of sub 6 on the bike.

I’m 6’, 200lbs, 40 years old, male, current FTP is ~215 (2.37W/kg). My 2021 IMLP bike leg was 6:58 w/ heart rate of 135 bpm, cadence of 80 rpm, avg speed of 15.8, and avg power of 177W (Strava estimate, no power meter). TR had my FTP, via ramp test, at 265 in month of race (2.76 Watts/Kg). Safe to say I left a lot on the table, but it was my first full so played it safe. Bike portion felt easy. Incase you want to know, swim was 63 minutes and run was almost 6 hours.

From reading threads here and slowtwitch I estimate I probably need to get to 300W FTP (3.31W/kg) to successfully hit sub 6-hours and still have legs for the run. Charts some folks posted in other TR threads suggest IF of .68 to .70, which is 270 to 286 TSS. So goal would be to race at avg FTP of 210W (IF of .70).

Does my math checkout? If so, is it reasonable to think I could hit FTP of 300W in ~18 months? I assume I’ll get back to FTP of 265 I had at end of 2022 relatively quickly. During this 12 month period I will also be running ~3 hours and swimming ~1 hour each week.

If my math is good then it’s the “how” I have questions about. I usually roll with 23 weeks for my IM plan so that gives me just about a year to focus on FTP build. I’d guess it should be something like this:

  • Month 1 - Traditional Base (Mid Volume 1) … get legs back using low intensity rides
  • Month 2/3/4 - Sweet Spot Base (Mid Volume 1 & 2)
  • Month 5/6/7/8 - Traditional Base (Mid Volume 1, 2 & 3)
  • Month 9/10/11 - Sweet Spot Base (High Volume 1 & 2)
  • Month 12 - Traditional Base (Mid Volume 1)
  • Month 13-18 - Full Distance Triathlon Base (High Volume)

Thoughts and feedback appreciated!

We need to know your bike setup (preferably with pics) to be able to provide any feedback re: the numbers…are you on a road bike, TT bike, how aero is your position, what wheels, etc.

In general, a sub-6 bike leg, even at IMLP, is not out of reach for most athletes…just need more details.

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Thanks! Right now I’m on a Giant Contend with aero bars :joy:. I have had a professional fit.

I expect to have a Cervelo P2/P3 by 2025.

Agree with others that aerodynamics are probably the biggest unknown to answer your question (equipment, position and holding that position).

Still, I’m generally around 6’3” and 195lbs and do a little better than a 6 hour IM bike holding roughly 200W - so your estimates seem within the realm of reality.

With my size I tend to worry about a high IF on the bike (and proper fluid replacement / nutrition) so aimed for closer to a 330-340W FTP to be more conservative. This is also my FTP goal riding more upright on a road bike (so I estimate my Tri bike FTP is roughly 10% lower - I’m guilty of never testing the difference).

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While it is hard to judge from a picture of the bike itself (what really matters is your actual position), it would appear that our position on that bike is going to be fairly upright. Your pads are almost level with your saddle, stem is upturned, fair number of spacers, etc.

With the Cervelo, you should be ablet to achieve a much more aerodynamic position…but it is going to take a bot of work. My guess is that you will need to roll your hips to achieve a lower / more aerodynamic position.

Deep carbon wheels will also help.

As for training, you are still a ways out from the event obviously…my recommendation is volume, volume, volume for now. I wouldn’t even worry too much about a specific plan, just ride your bike…a lot. Z2 is great, toss in some sweet spot and tempo efforts as you like. When you start getting closer to 2025, you can lay out a specific training plan.

And while you didn’t ask about running, take a look at the BarryP running plan…that will also help build your aerobic base, which will have overall fitness benefits. The focus of that running plan is on frequency vs. longer runs. Helps reduce the chance of injury, while also building the aerobic base. Highly recommended.

A 63’ min swim is really solid…do you have a swim background?

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I’m taller than you (185cm which 6 1? ) and started out TR 2 years ago with an initial ramp test of 215 and still haven’t reached 300W though I could probably hit 4W/kg if I really watched my weight for 4-8 wks, 300W still seems far away though and apparently takes around 11-13h/wk on the bike

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Thanks so much for the feedback and advice! Good to hear I’m in the right ballpark power wise. Really curious to see how much improvement I can see in a year of consistent training.

@Power13 - Hoping the tribike will be more accommodating to rolling my hips. I’m still relatively new to biking having only started in late 2020 and only started purposeful training in 2021.

  1. Does the geometry of the tribike encourage rolling of the hips or is this something that needs to be practiced? Should I anticipate a few weeks where moving to the tribike will be uncomfortable?
  2. How do you define ‘ride your bike a lot’? 6 hours a week? 12 hours? Everyone has a different view of ‘a lot’.
  3. I’m familiar with BarryP’s plan. Really great. Building my run base now so I can start his plan with confidence.
  4. My swimming has just consisted of lesson when I was a kid. I’ve always been a strong swimmer. My 63 minute swim was achieve on one swim a week with little speed work. I can probably improve on this significantly, but not really an area I need to improve. It is humbling when the age groups pass me on the first stages of the bike … feels like I’m standing still haha.

@ArHu74 - 11-13 hours sounds overwhelming, especially when I need to keep up with my running! I’ve dropped 15 pounds and hope to drop 10 more down to 190. Like you, losing weight seems easier than 13 hours a week on the bike haha.

Is there a reason why you’re just doing continuous base training? I would throw in 1-2 VO2 blocks. It will do wonders to increasing your FTP. Even though you probably won’t be doing that kind of power in the race, it’s still super important to developing aerobically. Assuming the race is still in July 2025, I would do something more like:

Month 1/2: Traditional Base 1/2
Month 3/4/5: Sweet Spot Base 1/2
Month 6: VO2 w/ really good recovery
Month 7/8/9/10: Traditional Base 1/2/3
Month 11/12/13: Sweet Spot Base 1/2
Month 14: VO2 w/ really good recovery
Month 15-RACE: Full Distance Tri Specific Plan

Thanks, @mwglow15 . Honestly, I just never thought of it. What plans qualify as ‘VO2’ and what do you consider ‘really good recovery’? Thanks again!

I’d definitely consider it!

The closest thing in the TR portfolio is probably Sustained Power Build. The biggest tweak I would make is to ignore the power targets and just go all out. Depending on your power curve, the TR targets can be too low and you never actually reach VO2max.

In case you don’t know what they are…VO2 intervals are ~2-8min intervals where you spend lots of time gasping for air like a fish out of water. They mainly help to train your heart to pump more blood and to get more oxygen to your muscles.

I just mentioned the recovery part cause in the past my biggest issue was not resting enough after an intense VO2 block and then just being too fatigued for a while and not fully realizing the gains. What that means for each person can be pretty individual but it’s probably between 7-30days of easy-ish riding (yeah I know it’s a big range). That’s why in my schedule I put the low intensity Traditional Base after those blocks. So you’d take a week of super easy recovery and the go into an easy but higher volume block to allow yourself to continue to recover while maintaining a good training volume.

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You can rotate your hips on any bike, equally well. A tri bike won’t necessarily make you roll your hips more, but it can put you in a more aerodynamic position easier due to a lower stack height and steeper seat tube angle. I just posted a link to an IG post on the Bike Fitting thread. Worth a look.

It is different for everyone…but ride as much as you can. Targeting 7-10 hours / week minimum is a good start. And yes, trying to find that much time when you also have ti run and swim is a challenge.

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Getting the right saddle is the key to being able to roll your hips and staying there. With the wrong saddle, it will be a constant battle of rolling your hips, feeling uncomfortable in your nether bits, rolling them back to sit on your sit-bones and reaching for the pads by arching your back.

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Thanks, @matthewgreer . When rolling your hips, don’t most triathletes hang their nether bits off the front of the seat? I don’t know if there’s anything other way to do it ‘comfortably’?

Yes. That’s precisely why nose-less saddles are so popular amongst triathletes. That said, you can have a nose-less saddle that allows your twig and berries to dangle out front, but is still very much uncomfortable and will not allow you to roll your hips based on how it feels on your taint.

If you’re trying to visualize rolling your hips, get on hands and knees and alternate between the cat and cow poses in yoga. Cow is what you’re after.

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