Reverse Periodisation for Triathlon

Hi. It’s been suggested that reverse periodisation could be a route for me to go down by my coach for my winter training into the 2019 triathlon season. I’ve got a decent base fitness having trained and raced consistently for over 3 years from sprint distance up to half distance which is where I will be focusing next year for next year. My ‘A’ race will be a half distance tri in May. Does anyone have any experience of this ie. pros and cons? Looking at using Trainerroad - is it as simple as reversing the base/build/specialty and starting in November/December with specialty? Thanks.

Joe Friel defines periodization as slowly implementing more “race-like” workouts into your training plan. Whether you’re periodizing or reverse-periodizing your plan, you still should follow this concept. The reason you would use a reversely periodized plan is because your race is very endurance-based. If you plan on doing 70.3 or full IM distance, reverse periodization will be great for you, but you shouldn’t be reversing one of the triathlon half-IM or full IM plan on trainer road. You still need the specialty phase to happen prior to a race because that training is most race-like. In fact, one could argue that these plans already follow a reverse periodization. Notice the heavily increasing volume and length of singular workouts all the way up to just a few weeks out from racing? This is not typical of a regularly periodized plan.

If you want to build yourself a reverse-periodized plan, the best way to do so is to build an annual training plan on TrainingPeaks, then flip the “Limiters” (not strength). If you flipped them, you should be starting your season with workouts focusing on muscular endurance, anaerobic endurance, basic endurance, speed skill. Then you would be ending your season focusing primarily on your speed skill and endurance workouts right before the race.


Thanks Lou. Makes sense! I’ll take this on board.