The Short Course Triathlon Thread

The relays were great to watch, did an easy Fletcher with it. 1h30 running today.

Next week is tricky with family, so I’ve rescheduled my week, see how much I get in but with the race on Sunday there’s no wiggle room.

This has been my last week exactly. Life has conspired against me and the result wasn’t that I couldn’t have done any training but more that I just don’t want to try and juggle to fit it in. Some weeks are like that. Luckily it lined up with recovery week in my plan and I’ve moved things around from tomorrow to hopefully avoid some of the clashes that have happened recently. 7 weeks till my next event so there’s lots of time to turn it around.

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I might have a place for Sunday too, need to decide in the next day or so if I want it!

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You’ll all be fine. Experience and being well rested will let you dig deep when it’s showtime.

I, however, do not have a depth of experience, as I shall show in the below race report :grin: hold tight, this might be quite long.

Last Friday was my big race for the year : Alpe d’Huez M. This was my first M/Olympic distance race, after having done a handful of XS/S/Cross races. I have never swum more than a km in a race before this.

Overall, my conclusion is that I’m not really very good at this, and I may never finish in the top half of a race. But that’s OK because it means I have lots of room to improve and because I’m enjoying it.

The race consists of :
1.2km swim in Lac de Verney - a reservoir used by the French electricity company for hydroelectric power. Swimming isn’t usually allowed, but they turn off the turbines just for the M and L races.
28km bike - 15km flat, then the 13km and 21 bends of Alpe d’Huez, with 1415m of climbing.
6.7km run on quiet roads and easy tracks, but at 1800m altitude.

This obviously isn’t a great choice for a first M/Olympic race… but the local M I was signed up for was cancelled twice and a friend of mine was keen for this one, so we signed up on the reserve list… then he somehow managed to contact the organisation and get us both on the start list. The title text on the website page is “The triathlon experience you didn’t expect”. Too right.

As T1 and T2 are in different places, the day started with dropping off shoes in T2 and the race briefing at Alpe d’Huez. It had been really sunny for the L distance trhe day before, but was raining as we drove up in the morning. Happily the skies cleared around lunchtime and we had (mostly) good weather - except for some of the run… An easy 20km descent with a swim bag gets you down to T1. It was busy, but with well-spaced bike racks. I was pretty nervous, but I’d been feeling that way for about 3 days, so no problem. There were 1554 of us - over 300 women in a first wave, then about 1200 men 10 minutes later.

I am not a strong swimmer… I can hold 2min/100m in open water IF I’m well warmed up and relaxed. The water was warmer than predicted, about 18.5°C, but as soon as I saw the start I change plan from the advice I got above about starting on the outside - the shore curved in and most people were on that side, so to avoid getting squeezed I went on the left. This worked well at first, I had reasonably clear water and tried to get into the rythm of steady crawl… But after about 200m I blew up a bit, gasping for breath. This has happened in a couple of races before, but this time there was a looong way to go. I’m disappointed I blew, but pleased that I managed to handle it - I swam a few minutes breaststroke with head out of the water, then proper, faster breaststroke, then managed to do more and more crawl towards the exit. Way outside the time I was hoping for, but I didn’t drown or give up and float on my back. I was really happy with my goggles too - I’ve always struggled to find a pair that fit, even the big mask ones press too hard on the sides of my nose, so 18 months ago I got some custom printed magic5 ones. It’s taken a while to get used to the feeling, but now they’re super comfy and no leaks even after an embarrassingly long time in the water.

T1 was surprisingly good - result show I was in about 1000th position in the swim, but top 350 for T1 time. This is also encouraging as I wasn’t completely crushed by the swim. The T1 exit is grass, a short stony patch and then a very short bit of flat tarmac before a ramp up to the road… I’d been warned about this, so had left the gears all to the left and decided to put shoes on in T1 (no socks), which worked really well - semi-flying mount, clipped in fast and up the ramp, past a few people who’d missed their shoes…

The first part of the bike felt amazing - the first part where I really felt the benfits of training. We’d been warned quite strictly about drafting, which with so many people could have been hard to avoid. As I was out of the water amongst the last, There were quite a few people slower than me, so I had to choose between riding way slower, or slightly faster than I wanted. Obviously I went slightly faster, but without going all out. As soon as we hit the start of the Alpe, that changed. I managed to keep the same level of effort and HR all the way up, but flipping heck it was hard. I’d done a couple of long climbs with the same gearing (34x32), but nothing quite that long or continuous. I naturally spin quite quick when I have the choice, so over an hour at 60rpm seemed to cook my legs.
It was really hot and sunny on the way up, without even a cooling breeze until we got over half way. I had a rain jacket stuffed in the back pocket of my tri suit as storms were possible, but that felt a bit daft as I dripped on the bike.
The feed stations were great - first at La Garde then at Huez. Lots of volunteers handing out water, energy drink or pepsi in different coloured bottles, along with gels and bars, so no need to stop. The Huez station was right on Dutch Corner… but no beer or techno.
All the way up I was slowly passing people and having people pass me. Some of them really fast, which was wierd as I really didn’t think there were that many people behind me! Towards the top I started to pass people in a worse state than me, stopping at streams, lying in the shade and walking. I didn’t stop, as I knew that if I did I’d be walking too. I kept on drinking and eating and grinding. The ambience was great, lots of people cheering and shouting names.
I did the climb in 1h36, again more than I’d hoped, but all I could do.

T2 wasn’t as fast as T1, but still better than a lot of people - even if I struggled to pick up my shoes from in between bikes I got them on fast, shoved down a gel and dropped the jacket before heading to the feed station just outside transition, where I gulped some water.

I’ve done quite a few bricks in training, and don’t really have a problem with wobbly legs when starting the run, but usually take a few minutes to get going. This time was slightly different as after about 500m I started to cramp up behind the right leg. I have never had this before (but I’ve never raced like that before) I stopped, streched and tried to walk it off… round the airport and onto the dirt track OMG IT CAME BACK and I ended up sitting on a rock. A guy from the organisation happened by and he got me on my back and pushed my leg up. Without that I might still be there. I managed to get going, stopped longer for water and St Yorre at the feed station, but no more food or gels as I was nearly throwing up. Onwards, walking, running… then the threatened storm arrived. We had about 10 minutes of rain, wind and hail. Yes, I did leave my rain jacket in T2. Yes, I did feel somewhat stupid. But literally gritted my teeth and kept going. At this point I just wanted to finish. I walked thorugh the turnaround and headed back, up the final climb. I managed to (slowly) run pretty much all the descent back to the finish line and was very proud of myself for not falling over, throwing up or crying at the finish.

A really full-on experience. I finished 1062th in 3h36, out of 1500 starters and 1200-ish finishers. The organisation and volunteers were amazing.

This was all off the back of the TR Low Volume Olympic plan. It was great for me, as 2 rides 2 runs and 2 swims per week was easy enough to fit around life. I didn’t swim enough (pools & covid) but I honestly felt great on the first part of the bike, and was well-trained enough to keep moving and finish the run.

Really I messed up the climb - I should either have fitted a bigger cassette to let me spin more, or changed the training plan to do more low-cadence stuff.

I also was put into the AT beta a couple of weeks ago - this changed some of the final sessions, but wouldn’t have had enough time to have a real effect (although I feel a bit bad that I haven’t been doing enough TR sessions to give decent feedback to the beta…)

Finally, and well done if you’ve read this far, I was really pleased to see that the organisers put a picture of me suffering on their instagram feed : Login • Instagram


I have friends who have done that race. It sounds horiffic and amazing in equal measure.

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I would love to do that race someday. Thanks for the write up.

I was feeling like this too… then I took 4 weeks of unstructured training, with days of not doing shit thrown in

Now I feel ready to train again!


So I am super excited to launch my short course training plan starting today. Stepping back from 70.3 and embracing low volume to suit my lifestyle. Sprint distance has me really fired up. 30 min vo2 max and starting strength 3x5 today, Let’s see how this goes. A totally new approach for me.

Also in the market for my first proper TT bike for sprints, and future probably longer course again. Head is spinning from looking at a million different bikes. No idea what to go for!


Congrats on finishing. I don’t think I’ll be doing Alpe anytime soon!

Signed up super last minute for a local super sprint that I did two years ago. I signed up this past Sunday and the race is today. :flushed:

Using it as a tune-up for a sprint tri I have in September. Not sure how this will go…wish me luck!


Good luck. Report back. :+1:


Got my mojo back on race day at the London Triathlon:

Very pleased with my swim and bike, so kudos to my swim coaches and TrainerRoad as 99% of my bike training is indoors. Also content with the run, as a few years ago that was well over an hour, but still where I have the biggest room to improve.


NIcely done @JoeX and @timb34 !! I have bee away from the forum the last 2 weeks and great to see some short distance reports. I have 5 weeks to got to my Sprint and training subsided a bit as I started a new job and had to be in CA for two weeks to get up to speed, so no bike or swim, but did keep the running going - hmmm work on my weaknesses :slight_smile: New job will have me work from home, so I may have a bit more flixibility for training, except when I head to the west coast again later this month.


I completed the dreaded reverse order triathlon this past weekend. It is practically a super-sprint but because its in my city, I never miss the chance to race without having to travel. It is a 3.1mile run, 8ish mile bike, .25mile swim in a long course pool.

I show up race morning pretty relaxed, always nice to sleep in my own bed and roll up to a race. Seeding was based on estimated 5k time so the first 10 people in the bike rack were mostly young cross country runners. I quickly knew I was going to have to watch them run up the road and leave me behind; I was once that young runner and I remember how fast I was back then.

Either way, run felt okay. I wanted to make sure I didn’t cook my legs. I left plenty in the tank. Came in around 19:40 and was in 6th at that point.

T1 was uneventful, and was nice to already have socks on so didn’t have to fumble with socks like I normally do. I don’t know how people do this without socks.

Out on the bike I caught all but one who had gone up the road. I actually didn’t know he was up the road until a double back part of the course; I thought I had caught everyone but apparently I had counted incorrectly. Well crap. Averaged right over 23mph on the bike.

T2 felt weird taking off shoes and socks and throwing a cap and goggles on. Off I went towards the pool with the leader somewhat in sight.

I get to the edge of the pool, and take 10 extra seconds to stretch. Last time I did a different reverse tri, I cramped as soon as I jumped in the water. It must be the transition of muscles as I am a fairly decent swimmer and wouldn’t expect with my fitness for that to happen. So stretch the hamstrings, quads, and calves and in I go; leader is almost 75m ahead of me but struggling.

Shoulders were on fire from the start and I felt like I was dragging an extra 10lbs of weight. Sure enough I actually caught the leader and passed him to climb out of the water and cross the tape. My watch shows around 6 minutes for the swim and a total of around 7 to account for the stretching, climbing out of pool (Stairs) and then run across the line.

All in all an interesting race. You can only race the people that show up, so it’s always nice to get a win. Not my best bike or run but with it being out of order, it was almost a guessing game trying to feel out what the legs had left. I left plenty in the tank on the run, the bike I wish I hammered more and was about 10w lower than I wanted to hold over the distance. The swim was just a gut check and grind through it.

Now back to normal order triathlons please.


Massive kudos here… i’d just like to point out that the weather was pretty grim, so your result is even more impressive IMO.

Done a couple of 70.3s and olys the last few years but decided to have a go at a my first sprint distance last week. Been racing since April and entered this on a whim so no real specific prep aside from a few race pace bricks <6 weeks out


Swim: Not coming from a swimming background & pools being closed for the best part of a year here hasn’t been great, but I’ve had a solid 3 months back in the pool now so I was pleased to put together a respectable time

Bike: On a road bike, NP 260w. Kind of was a bit of a slave to speed rather than power so I probably didn’t push on in places when I should’ve :roll_eyes: CP is 343w, aerobic threshold 300w for context so really not going very hard at all

Run: Lost a couple of seconds trying to find my rack in T2, was passed by a guy in the first 100m and basically ran 20m off his heels the whole way round. The run has been the main focus this year (and will be next year…). I’ve been making steady progress but have been racing on slow, slow courses so was pleased to finally get a result that reflected my fitness

Uni work is starting to crunch now so time to take an early off season before building up to 2022!


Sounds like a pretty awesome race. Great result especially with what seems to be a fairly easy bike output by your own standards.

I think to close out this year I am going to need to re-focus on running. Any suggestions?

Yeah sure, with running I think the big thing is avoiding injury and being consistent. They go hand in hand really - less daily but more frequent training load reduces injury risk, not being injured leads to consistent ability to train.

For me I found a pattern of mon/tues on, wed off, thu/fri/sat on, sun off worked really well to build load/volume.

Easy runs were 8-12Km at <70%HRmax, hard sessions were intervals on Tuesday and bricks on Saturday, both totalling between 6-10Km of work depending on intensity.

Not much else to it really, just got to prioritise run sessions and let your bike plateau for a bit

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After a few weeks of not ticking the “workout completed” box on swim workouts, this morning I got an Adaptive Training adaptation offered… which reduced the volume of all planned swim workouts.

Looks like AT is already looking at more than just bike training. I haven’t listened to the last couple of podcasts so this might be announced, but I found it interesting.

Edit: Ah, just seen JoeX talking about it here Adaptive Training Closed Beta Update - #1979 by JoeX

I didn’t get run changes, just swim, and the changes are still there.

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Interesting as I havent got anything at all, though I do delete all the swims from my plans as I cant get to a pool regularly so just do duathlons. I have been marking all the runs as completed (when I do them I have missed a couple in the last couple of weeks).

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