The Short Course Triathlon Thread

Hi all,

A thread just for people training for Sprint and Olympic distance races, using the TR plans or any variations below and in between :slight_smile:

Let us know what your plans are, races hopefully coming up, if you’re new or old, fast or slow :wink: what your goals are and any questions we might be able to help with.

I’m entered for three Olympic distance events this summer, and planning to go into Olympic HV Base next Monday after finishing Olympic MV Build as part of a strength block.



(Was Michael’s comment in the IM thread back in January that prompted this, and I’ve linked other people I’ve seen posting about short course)

All my racing is very front ended this year. We are expecting our 2nd child in June so there was no point in booking anything at all following that date. Terrible timing I know, the first was far more accommodating given he arrived in November!

I am entered in a Duathlon in April, that was a roll over from last years entry, and a pool based sprint tri in May. If both of those go ahead then brilliant but if neither do I am not too worried. Following these we have just had the Summer Series of events released by my Tri Club, the best part about this is that I can throw myself into some kind of racing but not feel like I am wasting any entry fees if I wake up shattered from a terrible night (or worse end up resenting my partner because she needs me at home when I have a race) and decide not to go.

I set myself the personal goal of making my way through the whole of the Mid Volume Sprint Tri plan, minus the swim and to end at the Duathlon, and I am just heading into week four of Specialty. Been mostly completing the workouts though I did miss a few due to not being a fan of running in the snow, its certainly been an interesting experiment as I have never really followed a tri specific plan before, just used to use TR for the cycling and then make up my own running and swimming programs which didnt look too far off what TR suggest.


I’m mainly focusing on Sprint distance this year, having qualified (in 2019) for the 2020 AG World Champs in Edmonton, then postponed to October this year in Bermuda. I’m turning 49 this year, which means I get to move up an Age Group (50!!!) next year, and I’ve found as I get older that the more specific my training is, the better. Plus having come to all this late in life (only started 7 years ago), trying to ride in a TT position is really hard, so draft-legal is much better for me.

I started on the Sprint Tri plan, but found that it wasn’t really working for me. My training partner recommended SSB LV, and it worked wonders. I’ve seen a 20W bump in the last 4 months and I’m stronger than ever before. I’ve now moved to Sprint MV.

As I have commented elsewhere:

  1. The running part of the triathlon plans are fine for cyclists who don’t run, but lack the serious thought and polish that has gone into the cycling workouts. I’ve switched to using Garmin’s Coach function (theoretcially it’s meant to be adaptive, but not seen much of that). I can’t see myself ever going back to TR’s run training unless they put some proper effort into it.

  2. If the pools were open I’d be using TR’s swim plans, but mainly because I’m coming from such a low swim fitness base that any swimming I do would make me faster.

  3. I wish they would create Duathlon plans and Duathlon events to put in the calendar. It’s a massive part of my year (although I’m not a great duathlete - my run just isn’t good enough), in terms of events to focus on.

I’m really looking forward to AT. At the moment, I’ve found that Plan Builder for multisport isn’t very ‘clever’. No matter what variables I put in, it almost always spits out the same plan.

With all those points - I wonder if the TR crew who are planning on doing an IM in whatever year it will be (after Cape Epic I’m guessing) will actually use the full TR plans? Maybe the lack of specificity/intensity in running is better for IM than for short course?

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I agree with you on how limited plan builder is for multisports athletes. Obviously its brilliant when you can put in different cycling events, which all use a similar type of progression but with diffferent specific focus, and then have what looks like a good plan to get you to each event.

I can understand why they dont have Duathlon as an option (lack of specific plan) but it would be nice to be able to add it as a B or C race, it would affect the trajectory of the plan so little but would mean a lot less hassle than having to manually swap out a weekend workout because you are racing a tune up event.

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I’m not that familiar with the Olympic and Sprint plans, so this is a bit of an experiment for me, and I’ve gone for HV because I have the time and the MV build sessions are really tough. Both for run and bike I’m looking for more volume than intensity (relative to LV and MV plans) but I’m also concerned that I will struggle to go fast in the swim and run legs so I know that I need some speed work.

Thanks @JoeX. Good idea to start this one!

I just completed the olympic I’ve been training for yesterday.
Had really nice conditions with a calm ocean for the swim, light winds for a fast bike, but it was a brutally hot run.

Fastest olympic distance bike time yet, took over 5 minutes off my previous fastest time so I was really happy with that. Consistency and starting TR has paid off in that respect. Creeping towards the 1hr mark for a 40k…

Look forward to hearing other people’s plans for this year :slight_smile:


I have looked at using Garmin coach running plan but was worried I might stack too much intensity. Any issues for you? Do you make adjustments? Thanks.

My general take, having read Joe Friel’s ‘Faster After 50’, and knowing myself, is that I find it easier to recover from short hard efforts than long slow efforts. I much prefer VO2Max sessions than threshold, tempo or SS workouts on the bike, and found similar in the run, too.

I’m aiming to bring my 5k time as close to 20minutes as possible. Currently at about 22:30, so a long way to go. But I doubt just doing lots of slow miles will help much.

As with the whole TR philosophy - minimum effective dose to get faster. I can’t commit hours of LSD stuff.


Well done :+1:

My first this year should be June 27th here in the UK, Dartford, all being well. There’s a lot of dead turns on the bike course so I’m more interested in my swim and run splits for that. Then I foolishly/optimistically entered the Hamburg Wasser Tri, if I’m allowed to travel for that July 10th, 6 dead turns there and then my A race at the London Tri on Aug 8th which should be the fastest bike.

I’ve done SSB MV and Oly Build MV so I think my bike is good enough now for a 1h5-1h10 bike split depending on the course, we shall see, but I’m most concerned that I need to shave 2-3mins off my 1500m swim and if I can be consistent with running there should be about five minutes to gain there.

Pools still not due to open for a few weeks here.

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Agree would be good to have duathlon as race option as Sprint duathalons are my main focus (along with time trials, don’t do triathlons - I can actually swim not too bad but idea of cycling whilst soaking wet blows my mind!).
Qualified for age group GB team for euros and worlds in Sprint duathalon for this year but can’t see euros happening. Fingers crossed for worlds. My qualifying time was just under an hour for 5k run/20k bike/2.5k run.
PB for a 5k is 17:54 but no fit state after to move another step let alone ride my bike!


Only a problem for cold weather races, dry in minutes otherwise sometimes even in transition


I have never had a problem with it either. By the time you are at your bike it just feels like you are starting out sweaty, and that was bound to happen anyway! I find the worst are pool based triathlons where my skin and hair feel absolutely disgusting afterwards but its not a barrier to performance at the time.

I’m not jealous, I’m not jealous, I’m not jealous. How many times do you think I need to say it before I am truly not jealous? My aim for this year is a 20:xx run followed by a reasonable bike. Not putting a time limit on the bike just yet because its the transition from fast run to “better than it has been” bike that I care about.


I might have to do duathlon this year…

My pools still aren’t open, haven’t been in the pool in pretty much a year now. Lake Ontario is cold as heck and i dont feel confident enough to train in it by myself. I had signed up to a masters swim club cause that was my biggest weakness (i can always wing it on the run like i did about 2 years ago).

So now it’s full focus on bike and run which i guess is a good thing since i haven’t run “seriously” in over 7 years
EDIT) oh and our triathlon org isnt sure whether we will even have events in person at the end of summer… its a big bummer

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Lol, I’m sure the wet cycling thing isn’t an issue - just the idea blows my mind! :joy:.
Regarding duathlon the weird thing is I’ve never been a runner at all really ever, only started about 2 years ago and really enjoy it. In my qualifying event i think my first run was about 19 mins (and I was about 5-6th in my age group), bike was about 29:30 (2nd in age group with quite gap to third) and last run was about 9:50) so come 2nd in my age group (M35-39).
Felt v strong on bike, I think most duathelete are more runners who can bike, I’m opposite, a cyclist at heart who can run a bit.
And my goodness the 2nd run hurts…cue funny photo from finish line…


I think thats my problem, at heart I am a tuba player who wanted to get a bit fit and now does more running and cycling than I do playing, sort of got as good as I wanted/needed to get at the music side of things.

My best 5km ever is 19:45 but I seem to be able to throw out a 20:xx whenever I want, which is rather frustrating. I am definitely a “steady progress” athlete and never really got any of those massive gains that people see. Not that I am unhappy, my w/kg has improved a lot this year and I am on the cusp of 4 and would really like to put the good work that I have done on the bike over the last year to good use!


My concern about for worlds is it will be my First ever draft legal duathlon (as strong on bike I prefer non drafting as suits my TT background). Draft legal means first run so vital so need to get run as good as possible.

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Nearly didn’t click on this… as Olympic distance seems more than short to me.

That’s because I’ve only done XS/S triathlons in the past couple of years but now I’m training for my first two M/Olympic races this year. First was supposed to be last year, but postponed to end of May this year - Salagou Triathlon near Montpellier, France. I have also somewhat accidentally got a place on the Alpe d’Huez M race end of July (and a place on the Alpe d’Huez duathlon the same week - which I’ll be using as a warm-up and a first ever ride up AdH).

Pools are almost all closed here (France) right now - there are two open air ones, but a bit far. I’m also pretty new to TR. I looked at the LV M distance Tri plans in plan builder and they only have two bike workouts, which didn’t seem much, so I’ve spent 8 weeks doing SSBLV : three indoor rides per week and running once a week (mostly base/Z2 runs) with occasional easy outdoor rides. This has got me to where I’ll be starting a Tri plan week after next, just as our home pool gets warm enough to be useable (12°C plus wetsuit) - it’s only 10m long, but that’s useable for me.

As I’m a very inexperienced (slow) swimmer, quite an inexperienced (slow) runner and ok on the bike I’m pretty happy with where I am now. I’ll be quite happy to drop from three to two planned TR rides a week to make room for more swimming and running now I’ve been through a few weeks of SSB.

Managing to execute a good M distance triathlon is really a stretch goal for me, especially the swim, which is really helping with the current uncertainty and restrictions - I’m enjoying the process, building up training experience and if the events are cancelled/postponed again then I’ll be slightly relieved !

I’ve read a lot of comment about the TR tri plans, but I’ll be following it quite closely - the week’s organisation, the suggested volumes of swim/run leading up to the events and precise bike workouts make it perfect for me going into a first M distance. Maybe later on in the process (or even next year) I’ll feel like changing up the swim and run planning, but the TR plan should give me the experience to help me with those choices.


Understandable concern. Those draft legal races are a completely different beast! I have done a few in my time and the guys at the front are absolute beasts. I think at one of them the leaders went through the first run in 15:xx and were through their first 5k bike lap before I was even out of T1. It is a definite skill to be able to run efficiently and still have the legs to bike as hard as you can. The final run no one enjoys, except maybe the winner who enjoys the final 3 steps unless its a sprint for the line.


Thanks @JoeX for starting this for us/me :stuck_out_tongue:

Anyways great timing as today I got my e-mail from USA Triathlon to sign up for nationals which I have since done. My goal there is to land in the top 10 of the 35-39 AG which will be a bit of a task but I’m up for it.

I also made it to the pool today for the first time in around 6 months and happy to say that I must hold my swim form really well, because I took it easy for 2500yd and averaged 1:40/100yd (1:49/100m). This was no flip turns, not pushing at all, and feeling fresh the whole time. For reference, the last time I really had a competitive swim was IMFL in 2019 where I clocked a 1:07 time at 1:36/100yd and that was with a wetsuit. Maybe I’ve even somehow gotten faster with my swim by improving my bike/run??? It’s a very happy conundrum I must say. I am also planning on getting some video analysis by a local coach here this year to try and maximize my swim too. I’ll probably schedule that after I get some more laps under by belt.

On the bike I’m working my way through SSBMV right now which is pushing me pretty good. I tried to do traditional base over the winter while I was focusing on XC Skiing and my FTP did drop a little bit from a peak of 379W in late October to 355W now. Confident I’ll nudge that up and really curious to see where I’ll get by the summer as I was still rising relatively quickly to that 379. Was that the start of the plateau or can I still push closer to 400???

On the run I’m not a fan of winter running outside where I live. All the streets are pretty much ice/snow covered from December - March and because of COVID my treadmill at work was not available. So I’m now into my 3rd week of outdoor running where I’m following the “BarryP” plan. 6 runs a week. 3 short (10% of weekly volume), 2 medium (20% of weekly volume), and 1 long (30% of weekly volume) in a comfortable zone 2 pace. I started out with 20km in week 1, and 25km in week 2. The short runs are frustratingly short and easy but I need to keep following the plan, resisting the urge to push too much volume too fast. I’ll be happy once I hit 50km the first full week of May.