For triathletes gone cyclist. Consolidating training volume

I’ve been haphazardly chasing Ironman dreams for a long time now. Pool logistics are very difficult for me and my running motivation is petering out. I’ve got my FTP fairly high on a consistent 4-6 hours a week for a few years… but for the sake of simplicity, I’m thinking about giving up entirely on swim and run. Unfortunately my career and life situation currently isn’t flexible enough to support triathlon at that level.

I’d love it if doubling my volume doubled my FTP (that’d push me into the mid 600’s :joy:) but if I stop running so much and push my 12 hour training weeks into 10/2 cycling strength, instead of 5/3/2/1 (bike run swim strength), what has simplifying your goals and narrowing your focus done for your fitness? For your mental health and sanity?

I found my muscular endurance and ability to push higher Watts has increased a lot. Bearing in mind it was quite a long time between my IM training and my cycling only.

The best thing for me was the injury management is significantly easier without the running. Though having said that I used to do a tonne of swimming volume which was great for aerobic conditioning without ever causing me injury etc.

I wish I had had a PM back when I was doing triathlon, just for the retrospective. I had one briefly but no idea if it was accurate.

Do you do much structure within your 5hrs of bike training at the moment?

One thing to be aware of is you do need to keep an eye on your calorie intake etc. Super easy these days with PM’s etc, but dropping running will mean a change in your energy expenditure both during exercise and for recovery.

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It made me a fair bit more dynamic as a rider insofar as I got a lot better at covering attacks, surging, and recovering and such than I ever was as a triathlete. The closest I’d come in triathlon to having to that is legal passes of someone going only slightly faster than I was going.

The simplicity is nice. Though lately I started to miss swimming and returned to that a month or so ago. And a tad of running.


95% of my riding is structured and planned. Occasional days I’ll “just ride” or after a few minutes completely change the workout but for the most part pretty strict about it. I have a hard time finding success with running mostly because I don’t know how to get good at it without a coach. I do wonder how far i could go either all-in running or cycling, but bikes are much more fun :grimacing:

Running was super rewarding but I constantly battled niggles that severely limited my ability to train.

I haven’t looked at the TR IM plans, but most of my riding “structure” back in the day was probably “tempo”. It was in the days of “big gear hill repeats” or 6hr ride with 3hrs “race pace”.

I’m definitely way more versatile now. Though I’m still the same athlete in terms of what I’m best at. I just have more headroom in terms of efforts at or over FTP I think.

You may, or may not see much of an increase in FTP if you’re already in the mid 300’s (depending on your size I suppose), but I bet you’ll be able to better express your fitness on the bike.

Did exactly this 5 years ago and with very similar weekly hours and FTP. I had a relatively small bump in FTP (went from ~320 to ~340) from basically doubling my cycling training hours. But a much bigger improvement in real world performance. Particularly above threshold efforts. I.e. When I was a triathlete I was a diesel engine, I was really good at pushing a high percentage of threshold for a sustained period, but not much else. Doubling the volume and getting rid of the running fatigue enabled me to become a much better all round cyclist and have big improvements in my ability to recover from and repeat hard efforts which translates much better to cycling performance whether that’s fast group rides or racing.

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Been a cyclist for 30 years and picked up tri’s from 2012-2017 and then returned to just being a cyclist in 2018.

I took the training volume I did from Tri and just converted it all to the bike. Prior to that, I was riding less than 10 hours / week and probably closer to 7. Tri’s taught me how to better schedule my training for more volume.

Since going back to the bike only, I am significantly stronger….FTP is up, TTE is up, ability to attack, recover and attack again has grown, etc. Adding in TR in 2019 also gave me the structure I needed to focus on some areas of weakness.

I now regularly train ~15 hours / week….about the same as I was doing for my IM races. But more importantly, I no longer ache all the time. All my leg issues have disappeared and it no longer hurts just to go up and down the stairs. I never fully realized the amount of constant ache I was in until I stopped running.

I did long course tri pretty hard for a period of time, 10+ halfs and 3 full IM plus many other races in a 5 year period.

I was my fastest ever and had my highest FTP when I did tri vs now riding almost exclusively, but I was also in my 20s then vs approaching 40 with small kids who significantly limit time to train now.

Overall, I’m nearly as fast while training much less, about 5hr/week now vs ~15/week total then. Mentally, I’ve knocked off most of my cycling specific bucket list items (a few gold buckles at Leadville) and am generally satisfied. Training for 3 sports would just be impossible with current life load due to kids, but I do want to get back into it when circumstances change.

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