I am competing in a 70.3 team triathlon and doing the bike leg (i.e. 90km TT). I have completed base training and am currently doing the Sustained Power Build phase.
I would like to confirm which specialty phase is most suitable. I realise the Half Distance Triathlon plan exists and is the obvious candidate however am wondering whether the 40TT is a consideration.
The major differences I see in the mid volume plans are as follows:
The Half Distance Triathlon is a mix of 1 x Threshold, 2 x Tempo workouts and 1 x Endurance workout per week and the workouts are longer with only four per week.
The 40km TT plan has five slightly shorter workouts per week comprising 3 x Threshold, 1 x Endurance and 1 x Sweet Spot.
From this I conclude the Half Distance Triathlon plan focusses on sustaining high power output (yet slightly lower than the 40km TT level) for longer (e.g. between 2 to 2.5 hours) while the 40km TT aims to hold relatively higher power for a shorter duration (e.g. about an hour of high power pain).
Should I stick with the Half Distance Triathlon or is the 40km TT plan worth considering? I’d appreciate your views.
I would think a plan with more intensity than the Half Triathlon one would benefit you - partly because with only a bike leg to do you can ride at a higher % of FTP than somebody who has to run 13.1 miles after (you also have more time to recover from higher intensity sessions with no run or swim workouts to fit in), and partly because there is a good amount of evidence that as you get older you need to include some high intensity work. My personal experience is that doing some short, high intensity intervals also helps to lower the RPE for the longer steady effort on race day.
So I would consider the 40km TT plan, but maybe also look at something like the Climbing Road Race which is targeted at building sustained efforts (physiologically there’s not much difference between pushing high steady watts on a long climb and pushing high steady watts on a flat TT) but also includes some anaerobic and VO2 Max work. The drawback of both plans on MV is they have nothing over 90 minutes, but that is easily fixed by swapping out one of the 90 minute workouts for a longer version. Or just going out for a long weekend ride if the weather is nice!
Also make sure to take full advantage of the fact that with no swim, run or transitions to worry about you can put all the aero gear on! Long sleeved speed suit, aero gloves, shoe covers…