Low volume versus high volume - results from Ironman 70.3

Hey guys, love the podcast, five stars all around. I think I’ve listened to every episode and wanted to share the good news about the often discussed topic of low versus high volume training. So, long story shortened a bit, I had a coach from November 2018 through May 2019 and went on a prescribed low volume 140.6 plan by him, even though I only plan to race in 70.3’s. I ended-up deciding to do the low volume base / build / specialty TR 70.3 plan starting in June 2019 and just raced in Augusta 70.3 to a PB all while feeling great during and after the race. My question is this - looking into the rest of 2019 and into 2020, will I continue to see results if I stay on the low volume 70.3, while increasing my FTP at each ramp test? Will I see in “flattening” in performance on the run or swim? Thank you for all of the great information and keep up the great work! Thanks, Matt

PS - I am happy to share my profile info if that helps.

No one can tell you (accurately) if you will continue to get performance improvements, there are too many individual variables. Even if we could, you didn’t give us any specifics about you as an athlete, so we don’t have anything to go on anyway.

The only way to know if you’re still improving, is to test periodically, and see if you’re still improving. If your rate of improvement slows down too much or stops, I would think that the next step would be to increase volume. That’s assuming you have the other low hanging fruit taken care of, such as sleep/recovery/nutrition/consistency/etc.

I’m not a triathlete, but my .02 on the portion of your question about flatting, is that I wouldn’t worry about it that much. If you’re FTP is improving, your aerobic system as a whole is improving. And that’ll make it easier to make gains in the other two sports. There’s obviously not a 1-1 relationship between fitness improvements in the different sports, but there’s certainly some overlap. If you feel that one of the 3 is a weak area, you can always focus on that a bit more each week.

If you do want to consider adding extra volume, keep in mind its pretty simple to add an extra endurance workout during the week, or to simply add some endurance paced efforts to the end of one of the prescribed workouts. It can be a good way to make a low+ volume plan, for example, without going all the way to mid. The same applies to the mid+, for those who aren’t ready for high.