Full Ironman June 2020, follow only bike portion of the high volume plan?

I have a full Ironman on June 2020, so I’m about 9.5months out. Been thinking of doing traditional base high volume first then the full distance base-build-specialty. Bike is my strongest leg (currently 3.1W/kg), followed by swim (2:00/100m) then I’m slow at my run, lol. (and most injury prone, my last HIM @ 7:27/km)

I’m thinking of only following the bike portions of the plan, and just maintain my swim fitness (2x/week, I’m okay with my swim). For the run, I’ll follow the BarryP plan (basically Zone 2 everything for the first months, maybe add a 1x /week tempo about 3months out).

Also I’m planning of finishing it at around sub-13 hours, almost double of my fastest 6.5hr HIM two weeks ago (sub-12 would be nice, but highly improbable?). I’m not that fast since I’ve only started triathlon training May 2018. I’m asking for your opinions on my crazy plan (full Ironman 2 years from being a couch potato, but with 3 HIM on my belt already, lol). Would it be realistic? Do I need something else?


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How much time do you have per week?

If you’ve completed a few half’s this year I think a full next year is reasonable - having a loose target is fine, but I would warn against expectations(!). :wink:

I haven’t used BarryP but as a first timer the Low Vol FD plan is fine out of the box. Lots of people do choose their own swim and run plans, I’ve got to say I always prefer a plan that swims at least three times per week, and because you get so much intensity on the bike from TR I would favour a run plan that does not emphasise intensity. This also fits well with relatively new runners - lots of aerobic running will improve you with minimal injury risk.


I have my own business at home, usually I work for around 3-4hrs daily, the rest I can devote to training (excluding family time of course) . Lol.

Thanks for reminding me about setting expectations. :slight_smile: BarryP phase 1 is just doing zone 2 running for months, increasing mileage weekly at most 10% of previous week, with a recovery week every 4 weeks. Good for building aerobic base.

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I don’t know how that’s going for you so far, but I found having as much time as I wanted to train actually harder than fitting it around a work schedule. It always felt like I could do it later, but later never happened. :cry:


Did exactly this returning from an achilles issue. I couldn’t run for about 6mo. Then, I decided not to run for another 6mo. It was hot out and I was enjoying riding my bike. Started back w/BarryP and bike only HV Full Distance. Keep the easy runs easy. Save the pace for when you start adding a tempo day. Later on, you can occasionally add a bit of pace during your long run. Be patient. Stick to the plan. Get lots of sleep. Occasionally, I would skip a run due to life or for some extra rest. Again, be patient, your body will absorb the training.

BarryP and the frequency it entails kept me injury free. Also, running 6d/wk w/somewhat heavy legs didn’t take long to get accustomed to. Keep the easy easy! You’ll have fast iron legs before you know it.

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I also did this when I raced Olympic distances last year. I strictly followed the BarryP plan and did only the bike portions of TR Olympic Mid Volume. It definitely worked for me. With all the run and bike volume that you’ll be doing, I don’t think that you’ll ever need to do the tempo runs. I did all my runs last year at a 6:00:6:30 pace but was still able to run at 4:50-5:00 min/km on my races.

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General approach of BarryP for the run and TR for the bike is solid. I did that for a 70.3 earlier this year and did a decent PR. You don’t need speedwork for an IM run, but you do need volume and consistency. BarryP is great for that, especially if you’ve been injured in the past. Start now and be conservative with the mileage increases.

If time isn’t a limiter then I would swim more. I think swim is hugely underrated in tri. It’s my weakest leg, I always took the view that it didn’t matter too much as it’s the shortest leg so I just had to survive it. The 70.3 this year was my first tri racing with power though (had a smart trainer for a few years but went with RPE/HR outside) and the first time I realised just how much the swim was messing up my bike. My HR was through the roof after the swim, my bike power was way down on what I was aiming for, and I’d say it took an hour of the bike before I’d recovered from the swim. Swim training isn’t just about time in the water, it’s about how much the swim takes out of you for the bike and run. And in my case it was a lot more than I’d ever realised.

In terms of the bike training I would caution that the high volume plans are hard. It’s not just about how much time you have to train now, it’s about how much volume you’ve done in the past and whether you have the base to be able to cope with doing that volume and adapting and recovering from it rather than just digging yourself into a hole. How many hours have you trained this year? How many did you train last year? With high volume bike plans, plus running and swimming, you’re going to have a bunch of 15-20 hour weeks. You can’t just jump into that kind of volume (especially not with a history of injuries) you need to build up to it over a period of a few years.

Overall goal of sub 13 should be achievable. Especially if it’s a fast course and you have a decent bike setup (equipment and position, plus enough time in that position to hold it for 112 miles). You only got off the couch 15 months ago so should carry on improving pretty rapidly for another few years just by training consistently. I think your biggest risk is shooting too high too soon in terms of the training you’re trying to do. Focus on consistency and building the training volume gradually and the results will take care of themselves. Also pay a lot of attention to recovery - eat well, sleep lots, take care of any niggles and pains before they become a bigger problem.

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