FTP Racing percentage for Olympic Distance Tri and Time Trials

Aloha Bike Maniacs,

I am new to TR
and to this Forum.
Hey everybody.:yum:

Can you help?:two_men_holding_hands:

I am 55,
have done olympic distance tris for 31 years
and I am new to watt based training,
watt technology
and to TR Triathlon plans.

Which percentage of my FTP
should I target
or do you recommend for
a. TT 15 k (all out)
b. TT 34 k (all out)
c. OD 40 k (followed by a hopefully - again - fast 10 k triathlon run)?

In April my first TT (15-34 k, flat course, all out)
and OD tris (bike split of 40 k, mostly flat courses, obviously followed by running)
are scheduled till octobre.

I am a relatively weak triathlon biker
(currently 185 FTP, 70 kg, 186 cm, 2,6w/kg: that’s why I turned to TR plans and watt systems)
with an overproportional part of slow twitch fibres
and a relatively strong triathlon runner (39-42 min/10 km in Tris).

Last season
(before I started TR and wattage training in decembre)
my non drafting 40 k tri split duration time

  • depending on wind and the topography of the course -
    varies between 68 min and 80 min,
    speed (of course depending on wind/topography)
    varies between 30 to 33 km/h.

Thx a lot.:pray:

Keep moving and happy training


1 Like

Hi Jo!

Here’s a generally agreed upon table of percent of FTP that you should target for the below distances:

Race distance % of FTP
Sprint 90–105%
Olympic 85–95%
Half-Ironman 75–85%
Ironman 65–80%

A Sprint Distance Tri would have a 20km TT, and the Olympic Tri would fit your 40km TT well. For the 34km TT, you’ll want to target somewhere around 90-95% FTP.

I hope this helps!



Thx a lot!

Hey Larry,

Thanks for posting the table, but what about the difference between a pure TT and a non-drafting bike leg of a triathlon? You don’t have to save your legs for the run in a TT, obviously. I’d advise Jo to go for about 100% of FTP in his 34 km time trial. After all, if he can do 33 km/h in an Olympic tri, he can do 34 km/h in a TT, so we’re talking about an hour-long max effort. For a 15k TT you would be looking at the maximum power over, say, 25 minutes. If he can do 105% of FTP for 20 minutes (he should be able to pull it off), we’re almost there.

As a side note, for an Ironman, elite PROs will shoot for 75%, and age groupers won’t usually exceed 70%. I know this from at least two Ask a Cycling Coach podcast episodes :slight_smile: Nate got mad props for holding 75% of FTP over his 6-hour TT (not a tri, but a relay leg), and he didn’t have a marathon following.


Hey there! That’s a good point about not needing to save your legs for a run afterward, so the demands of a TT-only effort will likely be higher than a bike leg of a triathlon. Thanks for pointing that out!


With 31 years of Olympic distance tri’s under your belt you should be giving me advice. I’m in my second season. I can share with you that in my first six months on TrainerRoad (as a 56 year old man) I have increased my FTP from 188 to 239. I am not at all satisfied with and FTP of 239, but I like the trend. I also feel that TR has been a good use of my time to date.

1 Like


Wow. Promising.
It seems that you have great genes.
What w/kg ratio do you have?

Oh…my watt/kg ratio isn’t very good. I’m 6’0"" and have a lean body mass (at 0% fat) of 181 lbs. Essentially, I’m built like a track racer but also have a few pounds to lose. Even in my 50s I can pull 1500 watts on a watt bike over a 6 second interval. However, you put me on a hill and I’m not going to keep up with seasoned racers. I do have a pretty good power to drag coefficient, so I do well on flat courses. I averaged about 23 mph last season on the bike and am hoping to get up an 25 mph this season on the bike. The running? 8 minute mile on my last sprint. I really want to get that down around 6:30 or 7:00, but I’m gonna have to lose 25 lbs to do it.