The Short Course Triathlon Thread

I just finished the Bozeman Triathlon, Olympic distance. It’s my first triathlon ever and my B event prior to Ironman 70.3 Arizona in October. It went better than expected, I finished 4th in my age group and 23rd overall:

Here’s my brief race report:

The race took place at Glen Lake Rotary Park in Bozeman, which includes a gravel pit turned into a pond. The weather was pretty overcast, with storms on the forecast in the afternoon; temperature was about 55°F, and water 62°F according to the race director. Prior to this I had only done a handful of open water swims (albeit in colder water, so the water temperature was actually pleasant), but I hadn’t done the full Olympic distance continuously, so I went in not feeling super confident that I could actually finish. The swim consisted of two laps with a short run on the beach to get back to the start for the second lap. During warmup I noticed that the water was so murky, as soon as I got waist deep I could no longer see my feet, which I think actually helped me; I didn’t feel any anxiety being in open water. I took on a Maurten caf gel during the race briefing, 15 minutes before the start.

I seeded myself in the slowest group since I didn’t have a good idea of what my pace would be; I was in no rush and just walked into the water after everyone else got in. However, once I started swimming I quickly caught up with the rest of the group and got to experience that old Clif Bar commercial first hand. After that, I overtook a few folks and just tried to get out of the way as much as I could. About halfway through the first lap, I started feeling some muscle burn in my arms and shoulders and I started to worry I may not have it in me to do two laps. Thankfully, after a while I settled into a rhythm; I tried to focus just on the next buoy, and then it was smooth sailing from there. I ended up with a finish time of 39:46 and 1,633 m in total (including the walk on the beach between laps), for a pace of 2:26/100m. Looking at the GPS track, I think I did a decent job of sighting, I only went slightly off-track once.

I had very little practice with transitions, so I took my time in T1 to make sure I didn’t forget anything, plus I felt very wobbly after the swim (sidenote: that happens to me after every open water swim, does that ever go away?). I took on a regular Maurten gel before leaving, ended up taking 6:05 there. Biggest lesson: I’m never wearing socks again. The time it took me to put them on wet feet felt eternal.

The bike route went through some of Bozeman’s backroads, along farms and very fancy houses. Beautiful ride, with two laps, rolling hills through Montana grasslands, one slightly steep ascent, and very little wind. Overall it was pretty uneventful; I felt pretty strong the entire way. I think I could have gone a little harder; I was shooting for around 0.85 IF, ended up at 0.79, and finished in 1:16:39. Nutrition was a bottle of Gatorade endurance, although I didn’t finish it. Honestly, I loved the bike leg, I wish it would have gone on longer.

T2 was faster, 2:37, but still took my time and didn’t rush it. Racked the bike, switched shoes, got my belt on, took on a regular Maurten gel with some water, and left.

I did the run at a comfortable pace; the Stryd app recommended I did it at 244 W, but I don’t think it takes into account the swim and the bike, plus I didn’t want to risk an injury, so I aimed for no more than 230 W (which is what it recommends for half-marathon pace), and ended up at 220 W average power. I’m a little annoyed the route was slightly short of 10K, at that pace (5:42/km) it would have probably been a PR for me. I had one more Maurten caf gel with some water at the aid station before starting the second lap. In any case, finished in 53:02, for a total time of 2:58:09. Almost as soon as I picked up my things from transition, the thunderstorm that was forecast started rolling through, so I left soon after.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with the results, especially for my first race, and more importantly, I loved every minute of it. Can’t wait to do this again in October, I’m officially hooked.


Nice work and great report! Good luck for your A.

Do you use earplugs when you swim? I have found that cold (i.e., < or = 60ish) water in my ear drives the instability, so I use Mack’s silicone earplugs. They seal well and are easy to put on under a swim cap; just don’t insert them into the ear canal.

I haven’t gotten the wobbles since I made that change.



Thanks for the tip, I’ll give them a try this week.

I’ve not been overly worried about feeling wobbly after the swim as I pretty much expect it. Sometimes its worse, like if the sea is really rough, sometimes it’s hardly noticeable like in a short pool swim. I always jog in T1 so I’m a lot slower than people coming out of the water with me I suppose.

1 Like

Great race! Sounds like a lot of fun and good luck in October!

There’s a trick to putting on socks in T1 (or T2 for that matter). If you turn them almost completely inside out except for the last ~2 inches of the toes, you can slip the toes in easily and then roll the the socks up your foot. That way the sock isn’t sliding against wet skin and it generally hits where it needs to go the first time. It’s also how I put on arm sleeves (inside out and then roll up the arm).


This past weekend was my first race of the season and an “Aish” race. I only use “TrainNow” and hadn’t planned a full taper. However, life forced a 2-week taper on me, so there you go, it’s officially an A race.

I did this race three years ago and ran across the finish line with my 3-year-old son. After we finished, he looked at me and said, “dad, did you win?” I answered that triathlons weren’t all about winning and that dad was out there to have fun and get a good workout, but his question stuck with me. I had done a few tris in the past, but I had never really “raced,” and I decided I wanted to finish faster than mid-AG at 1:21:45. Fast forward through three years of reasonably consistent training, two of which were with TR and two COVID cancellations of this race, and I was excited to see my progression from 2019.

Swim (0.25 mi) + T1: I was aiming for around 7 minutes after a 7:45 swim in 2019 and ended at 7:17. My exit from the water was slow, so I lost some time, but I had a fast T1 (1:36). I felt good about my position in the AG getting out on the bike.

Bike (12.3 mi): in 2019, I biked the course in 40:35 without a power meter. I am currently 3.6 watts/ kg (FTP 262) and was aiming for an intensity factor of ~0.95. NP on the day was 241, so the actual IF was 0.92 with a final time of 33:23. I did upgrade my bike since the last race, so it is not exactly apples to apples to 2019, but it is still an endurance bike. I think that power and positional (+ kit) changes account for most of the time gains.

Drilling into my power data, I did spend ~25% of my time above my threshold (14% 269-306 watts; 11% > 307 watts). It’s a rolling course (~640 ft ascent), and I started in wave #6, so there were a lot of VO2 and anaerobic punches along the way. If I can find my VI in Garmin connect, I will add it.

T2: T2 was a bit of a cluster for me. I didn’t rack my bike correctly but managed to grab it before hitting the ground. Then, I had trouble getting my shoes on cleanly. I got the tongue caught and had to put my right shoe on twice. The final time in T2 was 2:06. I felt like I threw 30-40 seconds down the drain fumbling around. I am unsure if I will ever be near 1 minute because I like to run in socks, but my T2 should be at least as fast as T1…

Run (3.4 mi): I had trouble finding my legs on the run. During training, I had been feeling good on 1.5-2 mile brick repeat runs at <6:50 / mile pace. My goal was <23:00, but I landed at 24:25 (7:15 / mile). Although it was a hot day, run splits were similar to past years, so I don’t think it was the heat. My best guess is that all the little punches on the bike took their toll. My brick workouts were usually trainer rides at SS or threshold with no VO2, so my heavy legs make sense in that context. Does this seem right like the right read to you all?

Overall: 1:08:30, 31/ 613 overall, 9/66 in my AG. There was no elite category this year, so there were some real hitters in the eight guys ahead of me. My goal coming in was <1:09:00, with a stretch target of <1:06:00.

Despite the poor road surface, the race was well run with a great atmosphere; the post-race grilled cheese truck was [chef’s kiss].

- 13+ min faster than 2019; feels like a solid improvement over three years
- I finished in my target range the for time
- Swim and T1 felt good; my cleanest T1 ever
- It was a solid bike split, near the IF target
- I didn’t let my HR change the race plan; it was > 170 for most of the race, and that didn’t get in my head
- I feel like I can see a path to <1:06:00
- I felt like I pushed myself on the day and had a good time

Takeaways and questions for this crew:
- I need to work on applying consistent power even on rolling hills terrain. I think there was a TR podcast about this at some point. I will go back into the archive. Any other advice here?
- If I want to train for this race, should I incorporate over-unders, either threshold or VO2, for the bike segments in my brick workouts? Or should I just focus on solving power consistency.
- I should try to shorten bike to run transitions in brick training; I need to treat these more like race day sims
- Sockless runs… I did this once and ended up with blisters that set my run training back.

Good luck to everybody for the rest of the season.


Great job, well raced and a huge improvement!
A consistent power output would be preferable to training for big fluctuations IMO. Part of that is just experience and using a PM on your race bike can definetly help if that’s available for you, but a few other little things;

  • Ride the bike course ahead of time, so you can anticipate any corners, false flats that might tempt you into going a bit too hard, and downhills where you might be able to pick up some time by holding your power where others might let theirs drop. A short 5-10 min brick run after can give you an idea of if your effort is sustainable and/or what to expect.
  • If you have any similar terrain near you it’s worth practising on that for your more race-specific sessions, particularly if you’re more uaed to doing those indoors.
  • Being comfortable at a wide range of cadences can also help, if you aren’t already.
  • Doesn’t need to be every brick, but occasionally doing them off harder sessions can help prepare you for those races where your run legs aren’t 100% (for whatever reason :yum:)
  • Last but not least, don’t let people around you dictate your effort- in any race there’s usually a bunch of people surging all over the place, and trying to follow that won’t do you any favours.
1 Like

If A race then not worried about training impact traight afterwards anyway…and if only 5k ish run (said 23-24 mins then unlikely blisters going to be big issue (for longer distances then sure)

1 Like

650’ over 12 miles is a pretty hilly course for triathlon. There is some skill to riding rollers. Generally speaking, the fastest way to the finish line is going above target uphill when speeds are slow, continuing to pedal over the top and into the downhill and then reducing power when speeds are high. Only once you’re up to 35+ mph should you consider tucking and coasting. Increase your power on when it turns into potential energy, not rolling resistance. On hilly courses, you need to throw the 1.05 VI target out the window, it’s just not possible. Also if you’re targeting 0.95 IF, you can’t help but spend significant time above threshold.

As far as training, over-unders aren’t going to hurt. At the same time, focusing on increasing threshold and time at threshold always help.


Well finally racing again after a 2 year hiatus. Last year even though the races were back on schedule, i didn’t have time to swim and then ended up getting a stomach bug right before the race along with reaggrivating my plantar fasciitis.

So this past year the build back to fitness was a steady slog, i only started back in the pool around feb, and mostly had to swim with a buoy just so i could swim more than a few hundred yards.

Well here i am, didnt get to today without a scare as i had been feeling off the whole week. It was most likely due to eating some leftovers on Tuesday but I’m starting to feel normal today, but that meant i needed to bail or reduce the intensity on most of my workouts this week. I figure its better to come in fresh even if I’m not quite as sharp instead of pushing harder than my body wanted earlier this week.

Well I’ll try and give a race report later today or tomorrow, it looks like a stacked field week be out there today, so my skills will br put to the test.


Congrats on your improvement! As to the powering up the hills thing:

  • Most importantly, you need to train for a race like this if you want to race to your full potential - I myself am guilty of training at a fairly even power, only to see my legs slaughtered on an Olympic course with a switchback (–> big power spike) every 2 kilometers. So if you’re going to go above threshold on the climbs, I’d do VO2max repeats at the climbing cadence AND THEN either follow with a brick run or a 20’ subthreshold effort on the bike. (Nb I am not a coach, and I might conceivably be talking out of my butt, especially when things get specific).
  • Strength endurance always helps get off the bike fresher. The way to gain that is to work low cadence intervals (~80% of FTP will do).
  • I would avoid going above 110% of threshold in a sprint, even for 30 seconds, and I’d stay at or below threshold in an Olympic.

I did the Olympic distance Boston triathlon this weekend. It was a fun race and well organized. It was my first official Olympic distance race in 5 years (pre-structured training), and I set a new PR and finished at the upper end of my goal range. I made one big mistake, missing the bike exit on the first pass, but other than that I felt like I raced well and emptied the tank. I was hoping to be a bit higher in the AG rankings, but it was a faster race than 2021 for the 35-39.

Swim: swimming continues to get the short end of the stick in my training, but I felt good in the water. I think I could have shaved a minute or so based on my training speeds, and the fact that my middle 500 yd was ~25 sec slower than the front and back splits. I came out of the water 7/16 in the AG and had a good T1.

Takeaways: I felt like I could have done better about swimming in a draft. When you all talk about sticking to someone’s feet in the water, how close are we talking? Are you in the churn from their wake?

Bike: 4 laps on a ~5 mile course. During the bike, I kept telling myself

and it paid off. Was aiming for ~220 watts (0.85 IF) and was spot on. Avg was 220; NP was 225; avg speed 21.8 mph. The course has a few tight turns, so there are some accelerations getting back up to speed but I settled in to target power and stayed there. I did burn a match at the start of the last lap trying to follow a fast wheel, and it worked out (5% less power for ~ same speed). The big mistake of the day was that I rode past the bike exit on the first pass but did a quick U turn and managed to only lose 20-30 sec. Good T2 for me.

Takeaway: I have started saving for a tri/ TT bike. I may not ultimately pull trigger, unless I see FTP increases. I feel like I need to be more aero if I want to get into front pack, especially on a flat course like this one.

Run: I started out around 7 min miles but faded a bit and ran miles 3, 4, 5, at 7:15, 7:30 and 7:25. I had good final push getting back into 7:00 pace. My “official” speed was 6:50, but I think I actually was closer to 7:10/ mile.

Takeaways: I need to be in 6:30-40 pace if I want to be in front-ish group. 6:30 is my current 5k pace so I have some work to do here…

Nutrition: sleeve of bloks before the race (60g), 60g of drink mix on bike, one gel (30g) on run. Small sips of water at aids and one swig of Gatorade. I had an extra gel in the tri shorts and probably could have taken it during second lap of the run, but I don’t think it would have made much of a difference.

Summary: my final time was 2:10:24 6/16 in AG. My time would have put me in top 3 of 35-39 last year, but the top 4 were all right around 2 hours this year (1:58-2:02). I think I could have shaved a bit with better swim and no bike exit error, but we are talking 1-2 min max, not enough to be on the podium.

At end of day though, I enjoyed the race, and thanks to this community for advice after my June sprint. Mantra of “ride your own race” kept me from burning matches on bike and paying for it on the run.


Well done, great result :slight_smile:

If you are touching their feet occasionally, you’re close enough :smiley:

1 Like

And if you’re not occasional touching feet, you’re too far back. :slight_smile:


Hi all,

A bit late to this one, thanks for starting it - will definately be keeping an eye on this!

Spending the last couple of days reading starts to answer a lot of questions I’ve had forming and prompts a few more. I may have missed some key bits - apologies if that’s the case.

Background: I started Sprint Tri’s about 5 years ago (I’d done a super sprint a couple of year previous) and that’s been my focus. Discovered TR in 2018 and have been using since. I started with the MV Sprint Tri plans, but changed for a season or two to SSB LV I+II before moving on to Sustained Power Build LV and then switching to the Sprint MV for the Speciality phase.

This season I switched back to the Sprint Tri plans - I only use the bike component of the plans - swimming is through a SwimSmooth squad (2-3 sessions per week), running through my physio due to injury - more questions later…

I’ve asked similar questions a few times, but reading here it sounds like my first one has been answered - “Is plan builder optimised for Sprint Tri’s?” and I don’t believe it is - it basically fills the time with repetions of the Sprint plans which resulted in 16 of the last 20 weeks leading up to my A race (AG euro Sprint Champs*) as speciality. All was looking like my best season ever (fitness wise) until I got hit with Covid 6 weeks out which wiped me out training wise for much of the lead up - managed 13:30/2:07/34:20/1:14/20:24 splits which I was well happy with, even if I missed a top 50% finish by 1 place!

My plan for next season is to revert back to the SSB I+II LV plans followed by a power build block(s) - is the Sustained or short power build more appropriate for sprint tri’s, the description would suggest the short power is more short sharp, whereas the bike leg is sustained effort (in my view anyway)?

My bike goal is to get near to a 30 min for a 21km bike leg - current best is 33ish.

The bigger question for me is running, I’ve started looking at Duathlons and XC running to enable me to complete through the winter. My running distance is meagure compared to what’s being discussed here - 12-16km per week across 2 runs. I feel there’s time to fit in more, but as the injury problems stem from too fast, too far, too soon (@). Also, as a non-runner until I started triathlons, it seems to be my strongest discipline and inversley proportional to training time!

I’ve looked at Stryd and the “BarryP” plan this last week (enjoyed an extended break in Germany post the Sprint champs) and am coming down in favour of Stryd and running with power (I’ve seen great gains on the bike and love the TR format when compared to the link shared by @EricHall) - Anyone else think of their Swim workouts as aTR type graph too? Also looking at Steve Palladino’s plans - very concioud of getting carried away (too fast, too soon etc). I’d be interest in how the plans have been modified for Sprint Tri’s?

  • AG Sprint Championships - first time I’ve qualified for any of the AG events, loved it! Was great being part of a massive event in Munich - watched the Pro women on Friday eve, and then the bike course was closed roads/draft legal - people out cheering riders on, working in groups of multinational riders, marshalls/police directing us - felt like a pro for the day :slight_smile: The run around the olympic park all done out in Euro Champs colours and finishing on the blue carpet where the Pro’s did was fantastic - shame a sprint race is over too quickly!

Short race review - Swim: I get anxious during the swim (cold/open water), so held back, watched my pacing and then upped it once around the furthest bouy, passed more than passed me (52/75). T1 - uneventful, within a few seconds of the fastest. Bike: Closed road/draft legal. No one around me after T1, so set off alone, got caught after a couple of K, worked with two others out of about 8 - the rest just sat on. We could have been quicker if more had worked, I was going as hard as I could when on the front. T2 - no space for bike in designated place, so had to move down the line, otherwise within a few seconds of the quickest. Run - hard out of T2, tough/steep climb in the 2nd km, descent almost as bad as the climb, flat for last 2 and a bit k, felt good, but on the limit (HR trace agrees), easily best discipline - 27/75!

Will keep this thread tagged - it’s been great reading all the reviews - and keeping up with the latest on short course!



Welcome to the thread :slight_smile:

I don’t think it is any more or less optimised for Sprints than any other tri plan, but I haven’t used them for a while. If you’re talking about having a plan that last longer than the basic sprint path (4+4+8) then I would be thinking of the Olympic plans say over winter, then maybe sprint as you come to your season and need the specificity.

Short course is still an aerobic event so building that capacity as best you can will be the main focus for most of the year.

As always do your strengths/weaknesses/opportunities/threats analysis when thinking about you annual plan so you can focus on weaker areas if you so choose.

So going on the point about building aerobic engine Short Power has lots of sprint efforts you won’t see in actual
Triathlon of any distance, Sustained Power has more in the Endurance, Threshold, VO2 space so I would go there if cutting back on swimming and running.

20km is only 4x 5km runs. If you have the time, then keep these an easy pace as you ramp up volume and swap RPE 9 or 10 sprints in the plans for more measured 5k pace efforts with quality form.

I struggle to have consistent run volume, but building it up gradually and holding at a reasonable volume will reap rewards.

My feeling is that the Sprint Tri plans are pegged more at those who want to complete rather than compete until you get up to the High Volume plan. Once you are doing 4 of each of the disciplines you are getting up to the level of competing.

It isnt that the plans are any better or worse but when you constrain the volume to being 2x or 3x each of the sessions there is very little room for improvement in any of the disciplines.

1 Like

I have a sprint race coming up. The bike course is 3 laps of 7 mins flat + hill, followed by 2 mins of descent. I’d like to do some sessions to replicate this.

Last year the 7 min sgement efforts were 96% and 105% FTP - with a similar times for each lap. The second half of the effort is up a hill and I loose time here, so I was thinking I should build power during the segment.

Do you think the following is a good starting point?

  • 7 mins ramp from 100% to 110% FTP, followed by 2 mins recovery

Would that be sustainable over 3 laps? I suppose I should create a workout and test it :smiley: I’d be interested to hear if you think I should target something else.

Seems reasonable to me. How long is the flat vs the hill? I’m thinking any of the over/under workouts would be fine to simulate this as well. In the race, just make sure not to coast down the descent.

1 Like