Not super impressed with triathlon training plans

That’s really impressive! What is your background?

I ran XC and Track in HS and did alright, but that was 20 years prior. Since then I put on some weight working a desk job. I got back into tri in 2012 after taking a learn to swim course, my swim is quite average. I ended up losing about 10kg during the 40 weeks of IM training which definitely helped. I completed about 99% of all the workouts and did every single ride on the trainer, even the 5 hour weekend rides.

Coming very late to this, but just in the middle of planning for next season (Sprint World Champs in Bermuda assuming it’s not cancelled!).

I used TR to get me to do my first 70.3 last year and it was perfectly fine. As several others have said, the cycling is great, but the swimming and running workouts leave a lot to be desired.

I actually have just sent a question to the podcast specifically about this - asking @chad to explain his methodology for swim/running, as it doesn’t seem in any way as specific or as through-through as the cycling stuff. The running especially feels like it’s a running plan for cyclists who don’t run much.

I expect this is actually fine for 70.3 or IM, since that is pretty much Z2 stuff anyway. But for Oly and Sprint, I’m not sure it really hits the right energy systems for getting a really good 10k or 5k time.

And my swimming is so pitiful that ANY swim training I do will help me improve :slight_smile:

However, I do think it’s a little naughty of TR to offer the plans if they don’t really have the necessary experience either in Triathlon, Running or Swimming. I’d actually prefer them to say: “These are great if you are a newbie to triathlon, but we’d recommend getting your swim/run workouts from XYZ coach/website/whatever”. Or, as @Tim_P has said, bring in an experienced triathlon coach and get them to put some real thought into it.

I love TR. I have encouraged all my cycling friends to use it. I think the team are thoughtful, insightful and genuinely want the best for their users (compared to many others who only seem to be focused on the bottom line). But it kind of feels like they got into triathlon plans by accident and it’s never been properly thought through.

We will see if my question gets answered in an upcoming podcast!

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Oh - and PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE can they add in ‘Duathlon’ to the race options and even to Plan Builder!

It kind of highlights that TR doesn’t really get multisport unless it’s an IM.


I’ve already complained about that. Totally agree with you and leave TR at the end of the subscription.

Would be keen to hear from all of those who have followed their own run plans but used the bike workouts of the TR plans.

What did you change? I am just about to embark on the trio of base, build and specialty half distance for 70.3 New Zealand in March so if I get better running outcomes I would love too.

Lets exclude base and look at the build and specialty HV half-distance plans. Wednesdays are always longer tempo or tempo repeat runs. Thursdays alternate between vo2max/speed intervals or tempo brick runs after a race pace ride. Saturdays seem to be the same as Thursdays and then Sundays are a long run.

When I was following a pure half marathon plan it looked something like vo2 intervals (1, 2 or 3 minutes) or progression runs on Tuesdays, easy Wednesday, tempo or speed repeats (1k or 10-20 minutes intervals) Thursday, easy Saturday and long run Sunday. These workouts were all far more varied than the few that TR have. Is this what people are complaining about or is there another aspect?

Have a look here:


The 3 easy, 2 medium, 1 long protocol seems to be popular, and Ive dabbled with RLRF


I’m not leaving! I just think they could do better for multisport athletes.


Try being one that does off-road triathlons! There are differences in that training as well. I am not leaving TR, as I can’t afford a coach - and their plans give me something to do without having to think about it. More consistency that way. Something is better than the couch.

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Well, you are just a weirdo :stuck_out_tongue:

The last line of your comment is part of my concern.

Overall I really like the TR triathlon plans, but my goal is to simply finish my first IM 70.3 in December.

The longest swim in my plan is 2,500 yards. Other online resources say that people training in a pool need to double or triple (not sure who has time for 3x) open water distance.

Should I be adding an extra 600 - 1,000 yards every time I get into the pool?

I’ve seen improvements in my 70.3 swim time with the TR plans. If your goal is just to finish, you’ll be just fine. Swimming in open water requires different skills though (sighting is a big one) so if you can get some practice OWS in, you’ll be in a good position.

By way of comparison this beginner triathlete plan doesn’t really have anything over 2500yds either: 70.3 Training Plan: 20 Weeks to Your First Half-Ironman – Triathlete


Thanks for the reply and link. I’ll stick to the TR swim distances and relax. I know Nate and Chad have a great deal of experience when it comes to triathlon training, so their recommends can’t be junk.

I’ve done one open water swim before and will do a couple more between now and December.

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I did my first 70.3 in March of this year having restarted swimming a year out from race day and swam 31:00. I gradually built up to a biggest week in December of 4 swims totaling 10,000m. Most swims I would be doing 2,000-2,500m but what’s more important is the quality and following structure. And try for an OWS every week or fortnight. I reckon most people could get away with 3 swims of 2k. The TR swim plans do have a lot of structure so you should be fine.

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Okay, maybe I’ll try to get in a few more OWS than planned. Thank you!


I also add in to my drills sections of every swim some sighting practice. Obviously you cant look that far ahead in a lane pool but it helps to get your neck used to looking upright and ahead/.


I added sighting in to my laps this morning. Super helpful, so thanks for that recommendation. I felt like a turtle, peeking my head up every other stroke. Ha!

If you want to keep things really simple, then yes, add 600- 1,000yds/meters at the end of the TR prescribed sessions.

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Not really necessary IMO. just do quality yardage. Don’t just swim for 2500 yards straight. Do intervals, recovery, sprints, etc.

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Totally agree regards Duathlons, seems like a super easy fix to add them in and I constanly find myself addig in Triathlons and using the swim as a run.

Super frustrating