I’ve got too many goals

Due to several intermittent events I’m going to have next year, between several weddings (one of them my own!), a few multi week trainings for work, and other events I am taking the year off of triathlon to focus on my weak sport: running. Ya only need a pair of shoes, so logistics is easy while traveling.

The challenge is that I also love crit racing. Just got bit by the bug this year.

Do any of you think the high intensity of crit training might negatively affect the base mile accumulation for marathon training? I understand the occasional interference effect might happen between workouts, but long term would I be limiting my growth in one or both sports by trying to train the vastly different intensities of slow running and higher intensity cycling?

Trying to BQ in the philly marathon 11/2022. Just a few points shy of catting up to 3, and I’d like to try to be competitive there as well.


Triathlete on haitus myself here, did the BQ thing during my offseason in 2016. So a few thoughts, caveated by the fact that I don’t know a thing about you or your athletic background:

  • You’d be better off long term in triathlon by focusing on your cycling in a year off. Cycling fitness will translate well to running; the reverse is far less true. So long term, taking a year (or going on three in my case) to focus on cycling will see long term performance benefits that will mean real time in triathlons in the future. It will also make it easier for you to run well off the bike. It’s very common for people to focus on running to improve their running, only to see those improvements not ever manifest because they’re not strong enough on the bike and are running in an overly fatigued state. In short, training for a marathon is not terribly effective at making you a better runner as a triathlete.

  • You will absolutely be limiting your growth in both sports by trying to train for crit racing and marathon running side-by-side. Your marathon training is going to take a tremendous physical toll on you simply from the impact of running 40-60 miles per week. If you’ve never done that volume, you have no business doing any kind of intensity on the bike beside it (odds are you won’t want to anyway, but if you do, I’d bet money you’ll get injured). You can spin on the bike to recover and get off your legs, but if you’re going to try to BQ… try to BQ. Put the bike on the back-burner for six months, train for the marathon.

  • Your marathon isn’t until November of 2022… why not race some early season races, Cat up, then train for the marathon? You don’t need a year to get marathon-ready if you’re already fit. If you establish a good aerobic base on the bike, you’ll carry that fitness into your marathoning. I went from sprint triathlons to sub-3 marathon in six months (I do have a background in running prior, but hadn’t competed anything longer than a 10K in almost 10 years prior, and was primarily a short-course triathlete).

TL;DR - if you try to BQ and race crits at the same time, you’re likely to have a bad time. You’re better off thinking of the BQ as a stand-alone goal, not one to serve improvement as a triathlete.

Gotta disagree here…he said running is his weak sport. Spending a year focusing on that will pay huge dividends long term in triathlon.


I have no run and my theory at fifty-nine and holding is to lose weight, hit the gym to rebuild tendons and soft tissue, while slowly taking my walk to a jog. But I’m 29 and holding inside my head.

I mean we can agree to disagree. Again, I don’t know their background. Running can be your “weak sport” for a lot of reasons. If his/her run economy and technique aren’t good, sure. Focus on running.

I caveated my statement for a reason. But I do enter this assuming a fairly competent runner already since their goal is a BQ.

Have a listen to the Watts Occurring episode with Cameron Wurf. Will give you some food for thought!

I think this is a good piece of pie here. Especially the 6 months reminder… last one I ran in 2018 was horribly unprepared.

Thanks for the podcast recommendation I’ll give it a listen on the way to work. I was actually worried more so that the energy demands from crit racing would mean it’s harder to ramp up the volume for 14. 17 mile runs. I hadn’t thought about the reverse—the spring conditioning feeding into the marathon “toughness” that’ll get built in the summer.

1 Like

Yeah, I think the guys above have hit on the key point here - how hard a challenge is a BQ for you?

If this is a stretch then I would just use bike for cross training and do the crits for fun, early season.

Another question is, what are your longer term plans?

I am also taking a break from triathlon to focus on running as my weakest discipline…because I plan to come back to triathlon in 2023. Consequently, giving up on bike and swim altogether in 2022 is not ideal for me, and if you plan to return you might want to think about keeping a weekly swim or two.

Lastly, is the level of training you are used to, across the disciplines and running only. As you can only ramp up slowly from your existing running base, cutting out swim and bike will lose several hours from your week that will take a long time to build up in running alone - so, another reason to keep the bike and swim ticking over a bit longer.

The macro picture is world champs in triathlon. IM Qual attempt in 2023. Hoping the move away from Kona is just a one time thing, and also that the slot allocations settle down but that’s a completely different thread haha.

I’ve been close to a a BQ before but it’s been several years since. This season run volume wasn’t enough for a marathon but I did an open half at 1:26 so the speed potential is there.

1 Like

This is what I as an individual would do:

I would run a little here and there, mostly just to keep my “running legs” (something I like to do now anyway). Maybe the occasionally longer run or harder run. I would spend the majority of the time for the bike. As time progressed I would start adding in more run workouts and trading them for bike workouts. Eventually just leaving the bike for recovery rides after hard runs.

But I am not a fast runner. No interest in Boston or Ironman (I have done a 140.6, but not Ironman). But that is what I would do.

I would also personally not cut running out of my life entirely again. A couple easy runs a week is not going to hurt my riding at all.

Depending on what you call an easy run, you might be surprised.