Not super impressed with triathlon training plans

By “interval” I only mean a designated time/distance I am running at a prescribed pace. That interval may be 2mi at open marathon pace, 1 mile easy, and repeat 6x. It could be 12x45” pickups faster than 5k pace. As opposed to sticking to one RPE4-6 pace for an hour, or 20 miles.

FWIW, the TR “intervals” I’ve noticed are
“Warmup, then do 30” at RPE10, recover 30”. Repeat this 18x”.

It’s been this same mid week VO2 max workout for the last 3-4 weeks, the number of repetitions just increases. I rarely do this kind of RPE10 efforts in my past. Usually it’s just a few pickups at the end of my warmups to help waken up my legs. Other than that, my intervals are anywhere from 5k/10k/HM/MP paces, of varying lengths and recovery times.

I one hundred percent agree, and even agree on OP’s thread; TR focus on cycling is great, but the Swim and Run training is lacking in overall quality.

I am not sure about @JT_34, but my point is more on the lines of “you should be careful on how you pick and choose your workouts” and general statements such as “why are there no intervals in my run” or “these plans are made like a triathlete that only wants to ride fast” are A) not value added statements and B) are made IMO heavy handed. Utilizing old workouts without understanding the “why” of how it is structured, placed and made are all pieces that any self-coached athlete would do well to understand. By just heavy handedly adding workouts arbitrarily is really a gamble both in effectiveness and reducing overall injury risk.

If you look at most “general” advice for long course, it would be add volume and work up to a higher volume. Add intensity as required. Do the maximum amount of work while being able to recover and minimize your injury risk as best as you can. Adding speed to running increases your injury risk quite a bit, so you have to be very careful on how you should add it.

I would suggest OP check out Jack Daniels 2Q plan based on what he wrote. It goes into great detail on pacing your runs and running on less volume. But the times are fast, and people have either done very well or very poorly on it. OP mentioned he does intervals at 70.3 pace, but that could be grey area zone as well. Again, JD does a really good job of breaking down pace and Vdot paces. I would NOT suggest an inexperienced runner go straight to JD for the reasons I wrote above. But for FOP people, those JD plans look really enticing and you start having to do more “high risk” things to get the top end performance gains.

I am only encouraging OP and anyone else to question their training, ask why you are doing something, what the workout or activity or specific prescription is trying to accomplish, and ultimately if its the most effective and efficient use of your time. If that is already been done, then great. But a lot of time, lots of athletes don’t bother asking “why” and in that case, having a coach just tell you what to do might be best for you. But the issue now is that not all coaches are made equal. Also good athletes are not necessarily good coaches. Working on your sniff test is a great way to weed out or choose quality coaches, or modify your plan or voice your concerns to maximize your performance, or form a quality structured plan on a self-coached basis.


I will not disagree that there is a lot of differing opinions on how best to approach training; its a developing field that is never going to be solved. What is “correct” right now is going to likely change drastically 10, 20 and 30 years from now. However, the issue its not whether high intensity low volume or low intensity high volume is right and wrong (and I think your overall goals and experience and race distances all factor in), but the issue is that OP was making statements without backing it up. And without backing it up, it is not the smart approach to training. Time starved athletes will typically need more intensity to overcome the lack of volume, but the general “safe advice” is to be careful on how you add intensity and if you are to add intensity, do it carefully.

1 Like

I’m sorry, I simply don’t have the time permitted to jog 35+ miles a week. I don’t have the time to run a half marathon every weekend, in addition to 4 other run days during the week. For me, that’s not a practical solution. I don’t expect TR to know my other workouts. That’s on me to pay attention to how i respond to my customized swim/run and if I’m no longer able to complete the TR workouts, I need to look at what I’m doing and adapt.

I’m not offering “advice”. I’m offering an opinion, that being that the TR swim and run workouts are sub-par. I’m sharing my experience of what works for ME. I don’t think I need to spend time learning how or why a plan works. I trust people who have done this for a long time, their advice and guidance, and especially if I have had good results from it. And it’s not just 1 coach. It’s multiple coaches, friends, friends who have tested out multiple coaches, USAT and IM certified coaches, a friend who was a nationally ranked high school runner and coaches high school and collegiate athletes, etc.

I still don’t understand what is so earth shattering about doing:

  • a 60min run with some higher efforts built in
  • a 60 min z2 recovery run
  • a longer weekend run with some z3/4 efforts built in.


Good lord. TR VO2 max efforts call for 18x30” RPE10 efforts. That is more intensity than any efforts I do with my “custom” run plan intervals. Are there no safety concerns about ramping an athlete up to 6 runs a week for 35+ mpw?

All I’m doing in my intervals and repeats, is conditioning the body to run at a pace similar to what I want for a goal pace. But not for the entire workout or duration of the event I’m doing. Recover between intervals sufficiently so each interval can be a quality effort. Gradually build up the length or number of intervals so your body adapts and builds up to the speed and duration. Occasionally do intervals FASTER than your goal race pace so you can feel that effort level, and maybe start conditioning your body to go at that speed. What used to be my 5k pace turned into a pace I could hold for a 10k. And my old 10k pace turned into a speed I could hold for a half marathon, etc. And I accomplished this by doing an hour workout with intervals, an hour recovery run, and a longer weekend run with intervals. I specifically says there are TONS of training plans, templates, philosophies, etc., this is just one that worked for me. I have a friend who was top 5 AG at an IM 70.3 last year and her coach doesn’t even do bricks. And they do “rolling intervals” with NO recovery. And he has SEVERAL successful 70.3 and Kona qualifiers. That doesn’t mean it’s the plan everyone should use. But it doesn’t mean his plan is inherently “dangerous”.

So again my question is why do you compare a personalized solution to a general plan? This is no different than going to Training-peaks and pulling one plan and comparing it to one built specifically for you. Then you are asking why the running looks so different from your old plans when you are comparing two very different solutions or products. You are implementing a highly specific workout to a generalized plan blindly which A) may or may not work out well for you as written, could you modify it to be more specific to the athlete you are today and your goals? B) are two separate and different products/solutions C) you spoke about not wanting to learn about the basis behind training, yet you posted both a post asking about training and making quite generalized comments

Like I am on board with what you are doing, but I am of the opinion that you should try to understand the training so you can be more effective. Barring that, you should get a coach. There is nothing earth shattering about what you are doing. What is earth shattering is being confident enough to blindly implement things without at least some effort by the individual being put into your training. Your workouts sound like a copy and past of some of the JD2Q I have read. But your paces are too low and you are not using Vdot. But eh, what do I/we know?

Again I suggest looking at JD2Q for your needs. I am not making this a personal attack nor am I trying to insult or offend you. If it has come off that way, I apologize. But as part of a training forum, I think it is a good discussion to have because most of us dabble into this as a hobby, and again as a scientific background, I really like to have some scientific rigor before I am gonna jump on-board

1 Like

The whole point to this thread is that I believe the bike workouts to be excellent because they are very specific, dialed in, and there is science behind what they prescribe and why they prescribe it. How many times do you hear on the podcast about “adaptation” or “muscle recruitment”?

As much care as they put into coming up with THESE workouts, I feel that their swim and run workouts aren’t up to the same level. Are there not adaptations and muscle recruitments to be made during a run or swim? Or do you just say “jog easy for an hour, try not to walk”?

Do you think Gerry Rodriguez from Tower26 tells his athletes to warm up, do drills, do 5x200 moderate, do 4x50 a little harder, then cool down and go home? He is ALL about specificity, and squeezing as much “quality” training into a time-crunched multi-sport athlete’s weekly schedule as possible.

I was asking if others have done the swim/run workouts as prescribed and had success with it, going all the way through the plan. To me, it looks like a plan designed to help someone finish the swim, crush the bike, and survive the run. If I’m wrong and people have crushed their race doing it this way, I’d love to hear about it.

1 Like

Oh, well if you are just asking if we have done the plan exactly 100% as shown without alterations then no. TBH I doubt anyone has done the plan without altering anything or subbing anything in. If they have, would also be cool to hear about it.

IMO I do not find TR that specific. At the end of the day it’s a pre-made plan, no different than going to TP and pulling one of their plans.

TR is a cycling specific platform, or it was until recently. I adjust my expectations accordingly.

I remember that one, that was the last time I followed the interval guidance - all out sprint intervals break me almost immediately.

I think the general idea is okay, work all systems at different stages of the plan, focussing on LSD nearer race day. But no way am I sprinting all out in Ironman training. Even in the slightly notoriously speed-centric RunLessRunFaster marathon plan I’m on now doesn’t do any all out sprints at all.

1 Like

Why would it be hard?

I load mid volume half distance bike plan and designate which days.

I load low volume high intensity half distance Tri run plan and designate which day

I load high volume swim plan and designate which day.

It’s not that hard.

1 Like

That’s assuming there is both an “intensity” and “volume” sliding scale. Today, I think it’s volume that drives what intensities are chosen.

Dennenj and Achin are giving fantastic advice. More easy/aerobic runs will be more beneficial than three runs with intervals. You’d be a faster runner running 35 minutes 5-6 days a week over two 60minute runs with intervals and a long run.

The key to running well, especially in triathlon, is frequency and consistency. If you can truly only run three days a week I’d say you are increasing your risk for injury if you are running some type of intervals each time.


No need for intensity slider.

Low/mid/high volume, low intensity run plans
Low/mid/high volume, intensity run plans.

It’s like you’ve not even read anything I’ve written this whole thread…

Tim, I’m gonna be real with you here; a lot of us here are trying to help you in here and/or learn something from this discussion. The attitude you seem to have is quite aggressive and you are not adding value to this discussion. TBH I was hoping to expand my horizons and learn something from this entire discussion but frankly, everything you said so far seems to be mostly a shit post lacking substance.

If you find anything to share of value please contribute. Until then, I will refrain from adding anything further


For everyone suggesting “just do more volume…”

3 - 1hr swims a week
2 - 1hr runs mid week
2 - 1hr bikes per week
1 - 2.5hr weekend bike with 30min brick
1 - 1.5hr weekend run

That’s 11.5 hours…probably 12+ considering the swims usually go longer than 60 minutes.

Realistically how many hours per week do you think an average AG athlete should train? Apparently I need 2 more runs per week, right?

You guys are blowing this WAY out of proportion. If you think running at 70.3 pace for a few miles over the course of an entire week is a recipe for injury, how do you expect to make it through 13.1 in a row on race day?

Total hours=/= Quality hours
Not all TSS is created equal
Total distance=/=Quality distance

Theres a lot more to learn than “I do X amount of hours I should be fast”.

No-one is blowing anything out of proportion. Theres a lot of very fast people on here with differing advice. I suggest trying to learn what you can from the community to grow and develop your own training as much as you can. Or go to your old coach and get him to personalize your training so you can avoid doing it yourself

Therein lies the problem…I was never asking for help. I voiced an opinion and asked if anyone has ever completed the run/swim workouts throughout an entire training plan and what their experience was. You actually seem to be in line with my thinking because you don’t even follow the swim/run workouts because they are below par and not well thought out.

I keep answering the same questions over and over again by people misrepresenting what I said and what I do, trying to protect me from injuries I’ve never had. You’ve mentioned the Jack Daniels run plans several times. I looked it up and saw this from someone on letsrun forum:

“The workout for Wednesday is 17 miles with 4x2T with 2 min jogs then 2x1T with 1min jogs.”

Here’s a description from a long run workout I had during IM training:

“WU easy at least 2 miles with 4x20" pick ups toward end then do 6x1 mile at open half marathon pace (HMP) effort. Recovery is 3’ easy jog between each. Remainder of run controlled & aerobic close to goal marathon pace (MP).”

Those are remarkably similar. But people seem convinced that I’m going to the track 3x a week to do 400m repeats, and then warning me of potential injuries, when I’ve said nothing of the sort.

Sorting through your replies, we seem to be in agreement on a lot of things, even though we keep “arguing” back and forth. The main points we agree on (and the point of the whole topic) is that TR has a variety of well put together bike plans that will make you faster. But that “cyclists” kind of don’t know what they’re doing on run and swim workouts, therefore we choose our own.

I said before i think the TR plans are great because of how specific and dialed in they are, and you commented (I think it was you) that they’re not that great because they are still a template and not designed for the individual athlete. That is something else we agree on. But I didn’t mean “specific” as in “specific to me”. I’m not Kristian Blumenfelt getting personalized training, fueling, and sleeping plans designed in a lab based on my physiology. I meant “specific” as in, “for the average athlete, these intensities/durations/recoveries will help recruit these specific fibers and promote adaptation, as well as target how the body uses different fuel sources and will help the body adapt to getting oxygen to the blood more efficiently.”

I think that’s fantastic! Even if it’s not designed specifically “for me”, it shows a level of care and knowledge, and I know there is a reason and purpose behind every interval of every bike workout.

In my quest to find the same quality in my run and swim workouts, I (like you) am subbing in alternative workouts in the place of the ones TR prescribes. I appreciate the concern, I think it’s a little misplaced because I think people are misinterpreting what it is I’m saying. This has been my training philosophy and template for 2+ years and it has made me faster and kept me injury free on 8-12hr per week of training.

I enjoy discussions. I don’t shy away from a thoughtful debate. Remindzing people over and over that I’m not doing 4 hard fartlek workouts per week with no recovery at an RPE10…kind of gets annoying which is probably the tone you’re catching from me.


Someone just said I do 2 60 min interval runs a week and a long run, and how that’s bad. I agree that’s bad. That’s why I don’t do that, and I haven’t said anywhere that I do that. I have no idea where that came from.

I think you’d be surprised what % of my run time is “easy”.

I’m not trying to avoid doing my own training plans.

Again…my basic premise was “jeez, these run and swim workouts look pretty lackluster. Does anyone really do them? If you have…did it work?”

1 Like