Multisports Athletes: double threshold juice >= squeeze?

Just reading through some old posts on this topic. What’s the current forum consensus…in an olympic triathlon context does a double threshold approach have a place in an average triathlete’s training regimen?

What do you mean double threshold approach? As in a threshold run and bike workout on the same day?

I mean…if you know you know. For sure I’m not the right person to expound on the details of the practice. :smiley: Probably, google is a better resource.

Generally I think you’ve got it. Split session threshold workouts guided by blood lactate. Maybe at an AM workrate that is more traditional threshold and a PM workrate that is maybe a little higher than that but at a duration that limits blood lactate to below some arbitrary level considered ‘below threshold’. So…for instance…more than 2mmol but less than 4mmol. Definitely OBLA but at a duration that limits fatigue.

Supposedly a technique that world champion triathletes & world record middle distance prefer.

If that sounds absurd then understand I that do bring the news made not the match.

I don’t know if this helps but I’m a young triathlete with rather ambitious goals, and if I do a day with a hard workout, I prefer to put all of my hard workouts on that day and then have days of all easy workouts, but I do find that I can put a hard swim on a day on its own without affecting the rest of my week’s training. I have three hard days a week whether I’m in a threshold or vo2 block. A week might look like:
Monday - hard swim & hard run + weights
Tuesday - easy swim & easy bike
Wednesday - hard swim & hard bike + 20min run off
Thursday - easy swim & easy bike
Friday - hard swim & easy run
Saturday - hard/long ride & hard/long run
Sunday - Day off or super easy swim that would mostly be drills
I know this is a lot, but I have built to this over the course of around two years now and have been as consistent as possible. I would also like to add that I would only do this type of training around half of the year, with the rest of the year either maintaining for races, recovery weeks, off season, and a couple months of just easy volume. I’m fortunate to live within a 10 minute walk of a good-enough pool and have a group of people that do either running, swimming, or biking that I train with. I also eat like a horse and am super strict with my sleep routine. Whenever I am feeling over-trained, it is likely because I’m either under eating or under sleeping. I ended up writing a lot more than I planned, so in summary, I like double threshold days as a triathlete because it allows me to have full days of easy volume instead of having some sort of intensity each day.


I don’t get to do my thursday night group rides like i used to, but it used to be that i would do my hard run Thursday morning, hard ride Thursday pm and it worked quite well.

Now with dad duties, i get far less opportunities for after work bike rides, but i try to do my harder days in bunches. Wed, thurs and Sat, sun. So mon, tues are just recovery days and Friday is just an easier day that will just briefly touch on z2.

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In short: it depends.
A bit longer: It mostly depends if you can handle so much load in one day and recover well from it. You must be able to complete the workouts with sufficient intensity to achieve training goals, with good technique and without getting injured. You also must be able to recover sufficiently so you aren’t dead for 3 days straight and it doesn’t mess up your overall consistency.

I would (and do in reality) avoid run + run and bike + run (in that order) double threshold days, since running is most stressful for the body and has highest risk of injury. Other combinations are a go in my case.

The positive side of doubling down on hard days is that you get a lot more easy days in which you can accumulate easy training volume and also recover psychologically. The negative - well, hard days are double hard.

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masterful. This is the multisport goal, I think.

not multisport but I did this on the bike in late 2016 and early 2017. Great results.

From all of read of running, one of the biggest reasons to do it is because you can better maintain technique by doing two shorter upper threshold sessions in a day. And thereby accumulate more time at threshold.


I’m somewhat on board with grouping hard days together but I haven’t quite reached a conclusion on why I should do something as specific as lactate or something. Lactate is just 1 of many many things Norway is doing with data capture. And its not a metric they live and die by as you might think based on how popularized its gotten and how media waters the process down. Take a listen to a few podcasts Olav Alexandar Bu has been on. There is so much nuance to their training than just pegging training to lactate numbers.

The way I see it is training is about progressive overload Take your test metrics, chop them up into intervals hoping for an end result. Easiest one to talk about is extending time at threshold. Start out with 35min TTE, eventually get to 60min TTE.

Grouping the session days incurs a lot of fatigue in a day. How can you trust you’re achieving enough stimulus and adequate improvement if you aren’t also testing under the same parameters. And how can you progressively overload if you arent getting more Tiz from your threshold test? a simpler way to say it is that a 40min TTE’r doesnt get faster from doing less than 40min Tiz. They might be too tired on the double day to go past it.

For example. Perform a run test on the track fresh. You get some data back and it informs how to go about your next training block. Then your first run workout of the block is on the heals of a bike workout. Your legs are not like they were when you tested fresh. You wont hit the same numbers and RPE won’t be the same.

On the flip side. If you’re first test was performed under similar conditions then I could see an apples to apples comparison on informing you if your training is actually working. For a triathlon, its not how fast your can do a TT on the bike, its how fast can you ride right after swimming 20min at threshold. Those are greatly different numbers.

I will again agree that I think tri training needs more specific testing and more informed decisions on the combination of sports and not each individual one in a vacuum. Actually this year I will be trying to incorporate some of these race like metric testing. Bike off swim says with intervals. Run intervals after long bike sessions.

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@ryanppax as a cyclist with a lot of experience on a smart trainer…what sort of cycling ‘equivalent intensity’ does a series of 5 minute efforts that never induce more than 3mmol lactate feel like (in terms of a comparable cycling effort)?

I mean, I have some very definite opinions but I’ve been trying to not ask a leading question. But, probably, not very many people are futzing around with lactate meters. And not many people are futzing around with ‘double threshold’. So the intersection on that venn diagram is skinny. :smiley:

Your guess is as good as mine

I have no idea (not a lactate tester) but my coach never assigns anything longer than 10 minutes, and we keep pulling ftp up and up. The number of intervals depend on recovery budget, and mine is pretty low so we don’t dip far. For example he was both happy and unhappy when I didn’t follow the plan and turned a 10-minute pacing effort into an all-time best 20-minute (not full gas). His whole approach is about the minimum to elicit adaptations. And he dog foods.

What you’re describing is something I’ve done to myself inadvertently with run/bike.

Focus on bike, run gets mostly fatigued legs… focus on run, bike on fatigued legs.

Last year and this im trying a 14 day cycle which alternates r/bike. Week 1 is 4 run, 3 bike, werk 2 is 4 bike 3 run but keep the training targets the same day of the week. Wed, thurs, sat harder work, sun easy but longer. Mon tues super easy recovery pace, friday easy aerobic.

Also from someone who uses lactate… if what you’re doing is already working you probably wont be changing much and it’ll validate what you’re already doing. It can introduce subtle nuance to your training and verification but at their level, the smallest difference they can gain is beneficial. In amateur racing, most of the pointy end are separated by minutes in an oly. 2 minutes at the olympics can be 20 place or more.

Average? No.

I guess I’m above average (but nowhere near elite) for Olympic and I don’t do them.

I do double days, I do double days of sweet spot and vo2max, or endurance/endurance. I also split up my long run days into two runs. Cant think of a time I’ve done double threshold except in race simulations.

For me, and I suspect most, it’s more about getting the variety of training done with enough recovery than it is about finding a magic combination.

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I’m curious - I’ve just gone into build where 2 of the bike workouts are classed as threshold, and one vo2.

My rating is very low on threshold, 1.2 but my vo2max is high 6.0.

I might start doing short thresholds in the pm after the planned am threshold session.

@Brennus was there any particular protocol “out there”?

I would say, many! :rofl: I don’t think I have the middle distance chops to advise on this matter…but runners I talked to generally are doing 4 or 5 minute repeats in the morning with 60 second rest & then 1 or 2 or 3 minute repeats in the afternoon…again with 60 seconds rest. And then the number of repeats depends on the relative fitness of the athlete.

But the main point is keeping blood lactate at around that 3mmol level. So, most runners don’t know what a similar cycling intensity feels like and most cyclists don’t know what 3mmol feels like…but my experience futzing around with a lactate meter…if I did 4x5 minutes w/60sec and at the end of all that my blood lactate was more than 2mmol but right around 3mmol that’s probably a sweetspot workout. Not really threshold.

So that’s really the point of this thread. The middle distance guys tell me double threshold days let them train a lot more volume at that intensity. Well, yeah, because it’s sweet spot intensity. That’s how sweet spot works. But probably not because you’re doing split workouts.

I was just wondering if anybody here would volunteer that they’d tried the method and their perception matched mine.

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without form deteriorating, and decreasing the likelihood of injury. Thats the point I see from top coaches.

Well I did vo2 am and threshold pm :man_shrugging:t2: 8hrs apart

The reason I do it is because I figure if I am rested and able, then it reignites the signalling to the body to adapt and change.

If I wake up in the morning unable to run, I’ve over cooked it.

I don’t think switching sports makes much sense until you are overdoing it. Because then you’re switching other adaptations on.

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As a multisport athlete you do need to balance hard days, but have three sports. So bunching different sports within a hard window allows you to truly recover between those hard days. You’ve got to balance the cns fatigue or else you can get stuck in the “never hard as it should be” to drive further development.

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