Ironman training benchmarks

I’m currently in my base phase working towards IMMT in August this year.

I am thinking about how can I measure progress with my training and know that I’m on track to reach my race goal. The way I see it (and correct me if I’m wrong here) is that there are 2 measurements I can use:

  1. My FTP increase
  2. The duration I can hold 0.65-0.7 FTP increases

First question, is that correct? Do you agree that those are the 2 measures to focus on (for the bike)?

Second question, the full IM build only have 2 rides for over 4 hours with IF of 0.67. It doesn’t feel like enough to get me ready for a ~6-hour bike ride and not a lot of opportunities to measure progress. Any thoughts or past experience on that ??


While an FTP increase is what we all want, I do not think it is the be all end all metric that some make it out to be. Even if your FTP increases only by a couple watts or does not increase at all after a Base cycle or Build cycle, that does not mean you have not improved your fitness.

While this is great on paper, it might not be so in on the road. Why? Because you are basing it on FTP. Again, in theory this is probably about right. But the reality is the majority of people cannot hold their tested FTP value for a 40km TT. Thus, the tested FTP vs “real” FTP could be significantly different.

I am looking at the HV Full IM Build and see 5 rides over 4hrs with IF >= 0.67. The MV has 3 such rides. First of all, you do not need to do a 6hr training ride to be able to ride 6hr on race day. Also, 4hr on the trainer is significantly more than 4hr outside. On the trainer, it is constant muscle tension and turning of the cranks for 4hrs. There is no coasting, There are not downhills. Etc… If you can do the long rides on the trainer, I am confident you will be able to complete the bike leg IMMT. While doing the long trainer rides, practice your race day nutrition. Pay attention to your HR. Pay attention to how your body is feeling. These long rides will help you determine what .IF or wattage is appropriate for you. Also, the feelings you get (e.g., legs, HR, etc…) will help you on race day. For example, if your HR is sky high on race day at your pre-determined race day wattage, you need to be smart enough to back down the wattage until your HR gets under control.

I have done the HV Full Base, Build, Specialty plans. I did all of the cycling, but did my own running and swimming. IMHO, they are great plans!


I would race an olympic and a half distance to help with benchmarks. I’ve never used the TR tri plans but plenty of people have. I am a 5:40 IM bike (obviously not fast) and I would do 2 x 70, 80, 90 and 100 milers at race effort. Like the poster said above this allowed me to practice nutrition, race effort, etc. Then I would do a small 4-6 mile run off the bike.

I never retested my FTP test before speciality. I always kept my FTP from the build plan. My thought process was, I just finished build with X FTP I shouldn’t mess with a new FTP 6-8 weeks before the race. If I was fit to use that FTP it would prove itself out on the run.