The Short Course Triathlon Thread

Good point on hours. 35km is around 2.75hrs for me right now. So that means 80km is going to be roughly 6.5 for me on a weekly basis. So I’ll be doing a hair more volume in that sense. Couple that with another 6hrs on the bike and 2-3 hours swimming during my peak and I’m starting to wonder why I shouldn’t just train for a full distance Ironman :stuck_out_tongue:

Also @JoeX congrats on getting back into the water! How are the shoulders feeling?

Another thing I was a bit curious about to hear from folks, after the announcement of that road tubeless inserts, was what everybody runs for their Oly races? I’m personally going with a tubeless setup and I’m not bringing any tools with me on the bike aside from a plug kit and CO2. If I flat and I can’t plug it, I’ve already lost too much time. Not to mention I’m running GP5000s so even if I had a tube not guarantee I’d be able to get the tire back on! In the end I guess I’m OK with a small chance at a DNF vs finishing in the middle of the pack covered in sealant.

I ran the same setup in 2019 at IMFL but had a tube with me maybe for the psychological benefit of knowing there might have been a chance? Anyways for an A race over an Oly distance, I might switch to latex tubes and some other tire that I can repair. With those distances I can recover from 2-3min on the side of the road.

Tire Setup for ‘A’ Oly Triathlon
  • Tubular
  • Clincher with butyl tube
  • Clincher with latex tube
  • Tubeless with spare tube
  • Tubeless with only plugs

0 voters

Shoulders were stiff on day two. More painful today is that I got the tri bike onto the trainer, now I have a super stiff neck. Must move my set up and lower the tv screen :sweat_smile:

I haven’t really thought about it to be honest, but maybe I should. I would normally run clincher butyl, GP5000 23mm. Frame rubs on 25s.

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80 km/week is probably going to be a bit overkill for Olympic distance IMHO. That is a lot of time each week running and the concern would be that it is going to cut into either quality or quantity of your other sports. If you are doing a 3:2:1 plan, 80 km/week means you are doing a 15 mile long run which for a lot of people is going to take a bit of time to recover and may cut into the quality of other workouts. What would your weekly schedule look like?

For what it’s worth my best runs of the bike for a sprint distance (5:41/mile) and Olympic distance (6:06/mile) came in seasons where I rarely got up over 35 miles per week (usually right about at 30) in the 4 months preceding


It’s a decent volume :slight_smile: and all about what works for you and what your weaknesses and strengths are, but I’d tend to agree with @mhandwerk most people would be better off shifting some of that time to swim and bike.

My weakness is running so in terms of time I’m roughly trying to achieve parity with cycling, 4:6:5 SBR is probably peak - an hour less for average, but when you take into account intensity I’m still putting in more on the bike.

My focus now is on swimming, need to get back down to 1:40/100m then stretch that to 1500m :slight_smile:

That would give me a 2m30s PB for the distance.

It’s hard to be patient with swimming but I can get my hundreds down to 1:30ish so like running I just want to ramp up the frequency and volume and I should get there at around 4 swims or 10km/week

Currently I’m 1:57ish…! :grinning::swimming_man:‍♂


I’d be interested in what you guys think about my pretty ‘wing it’ approach. I must admit when looking at the multi sport options on the training plans it wasn’t really what I had in mind.

I have basically opted to follow TR plans for cycling, doing LV so have 3 intense rides and then run twice a week, generally a 10k and 5k run focussing on technique and keeping my heart rate below 140 so not really doing any intensity here.

I can’t swim at the moment (covid life) but that folds in nicely in the mornings and whether I do intensity or not it doesn’t really take it out of me like the other two sports do.

Obviously no racing right now, just focussing on getting stronger and fitter. Do you think this plan is sensible/will work as time goes on or will I need to change to something more specific?

I’m actually a bit strange where my background is in running and have nearly 15 years experience sustaining 100-110km a week running with intensity like track sessions etc. So my body is pretty used to that and a 25km run doesn’t really beat me up all that bad. The strange part though is that coming into triathlons I found out that running is actually my weak point, hence why I’m devoting so much time to it. With the 3:2:1 plan I’m going to stick with 1 intensity session a week, using the bike to really work on aerobic threshold etc.

My schedule at that point too will be something like 80k of 3:2:1 so a sample week might be as follows:

Monday: 1hr swim (easy session). 16k run
Tuesday: 8k run. Crit
Wednesday: 16k run. Pettit
Thursday: 8k run. 1hr swim (medium session)
Friday: Off (Or maybe my long run depending on how I feel)
Saturday: Big Mountain (3hr endurance) with an 8k run off the bike. 1hr swim (easy session)
Sunday: 24k run. Red Lake +4 (1:15 VO2 Max intervals, or something easier depending on how the crit and run that day felt)

Overall I’ve had pretty good success with these types of volumes in the past so I’m pretty confident in my ability to recover and get back at it the next day, but with all things, I’ll be playing by ear. In particualy this is what I was doing last year as I had Oly specific goals then got COVID in early June which prevented me from running for a month and had to bring that back slowly. If I were to knock my run volume down to more the 50-60km range, would you perhaps have more speedwork in the running or add more bikes?

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What kinds of sets are you doing to get back into it? And what were you doing your 100s in before the pools got shut down?

@mberridge223 If you’re just looking to get stronger and fitter, I would suggest maybe doing at least 4 runs a week but also reducing the length of your runs at first. If you’re a pretty fit cyclist already, then it’s really important to give the tendons in your legs a chance to build themselves up to match your aerobic engine. The world is littered with cyclists that have started running to far and fast initially because they have the aerobic engine to do so, but quickly became injured.

But in general if you don’t have a specific goal in mind slowly increasing intensity and volume as you move along coupled with rest is the recipe to get stronger and fitter.

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I’m not trying for any kind of pace yet, just what feels sustainable. First session was just getting in between the traffic, so long sets randomly broken up. Second was 600 WU and 11x100, yesterday was 600 WU, 6x200, 2x100. If I can get a Friday slot I’ll be doing a 1500m TT really as a marker more than anything.

I don’t like the TR warm ups, so when I’m back in the pool I’ll return to my tried tested WU:
200 FS easy
200 alternating breast/back
200 as 4x50 pull bouy escalating Rpe from 6-9
200 as 8x25 sprints off 30s

Then I’ll do the TR main set, maybe a cool down.

If there’s a drills section I’ll swap in drills from previous instructors.

Actually I’m going to have to modify that as I’ll be using a 33m pool.

I think I got to 1:30s in 2019, don’t think I had any good swimming in 2020 just a 27:30 1500m TT and a 3800m in 1:09:59

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Mostly just chiming in with my own “strategy” on short course training. I hesitate to call it a strategy, because it’s not real formal or based on specific training plans… and given the state of racing over the past year, is mostly based on what I want to be doing, rather than what I think will make me the fastest short course triathlete. And for context, I’ve been doing structured triathlon training for about 2.5 years - prior to that, I’d never done any formal training (had never heard the term FTP before).


  • I tend to do two 1-hour TR workouts during the week, sometimes as part of a training plan (e.g. SSB over this past winter), sometime just ad hoc guesses about what I think I need (really looking forward to TR suggestions in the future)
  • I usually do one longer ride on the weekend. During colder months that’s usually a 1.5 hr TR ride. During warmer months (including this past weekend), it’s mostly a long Z1/Z2 ride in the 2.5-4 hour range.
  • I’m a real wimp when it comes to long rides, so I am really trying to increase my ability to ride longer distances (50+ miles).


  • Swimming is probably where I spend most of my training time. In part because I really love it, and also because I think it’s a great way to build a really strong aerobic engine without the wear and tear that running and even biking introduce on the body
  • I get my swim program through Tower 26, which each week includes two A sessions (hard/intense sessions aimed at building technique and high-end speed), one B session (usually more endurance focused, in the aerobic or upper-aerobic range), and one C session focused mostly on low intensity recovery (lots of moderate kicking and pulling). Time permitting, I will throw in an extra C session per week just to get more yardage and time in the pool because swimming really loosens me up and I feel good after doing it.
  • In total, I probably get 4-5 hrs and 12k-15k yards per week


  • Running is the endurance discipline I have the most experience with - I’d never considered myself a “runner”, but I’ve been running for the past 15 years or so - mostly 2-3 times per week, casually competing in 5ks and 10ks
  • I typically alternate my run schedule on opposite weeks
  • Week 1: I run twice, a short run (3-4 miles) with some made-up intervals, on a day in which I’ve done a hard swim session (no biking), and a “long” run of around 6-8 miles on the weekend
  • Week 2: I run three times. Two of those times I try to do as short runs (1-3 miles) on the same day as my mid-week bike workouts, either as a brick or do it several hours later if I couldn’t manage to fit in a brick session. My third run is again a longer, weekend run (6-8 miles).
  • By comparison to others, I seem to be a very low-volume runner (I typically average around 8-10 mi per week and max out at around 15). While at that quantity, I know I’ll never be elite or winning races based on my run, it works for me and has actually allowed me to be reasonably competitive in my age group (both in open runs and tris).

I’m a short-course mother****er (always wanted to use the term somewhere!) in the middle of a temporary foray into the world of 70.3s.

I’ve always done better in shorter races.

The temporary foray was supposed to be over in early September 2020, but things got extended and now I’m facing a long boring 5-hour event late August 2021.

But in the meantime, I’ll be truly racing, as usual.


Glad to hear that you had a good recovery from COVID.

A few things to consider when thinking about the run:

  • What is your limiter right now on getting faster on the run and what stimulus do you need to put your body through to continue to progress? One of the podcasts I listen to is Magness & Marcus on Coaching. Some of the episodes are probably longer than they need to be as John Marcus tends to talk a lot. But both guys are well read in terms of what the top coaches (Lydiard, Cerutty, Canova, Daniels, etc) do. And Steve Magness what a fantastic runner (ran under Salazar) and now coaches at Houston. Anyway, in episode 122 they talk about periodization and when to focus on big base versus speedwork and how a runners history will play into when to do what.
  • When I raced in grad school, the guy who coached our team was Ben Hoffman’s coach from 2008-2015. At the time I was killing it on the bike but would struggle on the run (despite coming into tri after being a middle distance runner in college). I thought my run was the only limiter but one of his things was to actually put more time into riding as well so I could continue to ride the same times but be more fresh coming off the bike. Sometimes you can see if this case if there is a large delta between your best ‘open’ times vs your best run leg times.

As for your overall plan, I see you have just three swims a week with two of them being easy. Don’t forget that the swim carries a lot more weight in an olympic vs ironman. For Ironman the swim might only represent 10% of the race time. But for an Olympic it is going to be about 20%. I was told once “you won’t win the race with a great swim, but you will certainly loose it with a poor one.” I don’t know how fast you are in the water, but adding an extra day in a the pool at the expense of some run milage could be a good trade off. In terms of biking it looks like you have 4 sessions - a crit race (mostly VO2 max?), petit (60-70% ftp), an endurance ride (65-75% ftp), and Red Lake (VO2 max). Depending on your expected time for the bike leg you will probably be wanting to shoot for something in the 90-100% of FTP range. So perhaps getting a sweet spot (with long intervals) or threshold workout somewhere in there instead as this would mirror what you will be doing on race day?

Anyway, just some food for thought from things I’ve gleaned over the years. Everyone comes in with different backgrounds and has different response to stimuli so of course take it all with a grain of salt :slight_smile:

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I really like adding backstrokes. Helps counter the freestyle and hunched over bike position, plus helps strengthen the shoulders and arms.


That’s interesting, I’m doing 80k weeks right now from the opposite strengths, but similar Barryp run plus low volume TR. I don’t need that much time on the bike to maintain plenty of speed. But relative to my bike I’m weak on the run. So I’m trying to embrace a runner’s mentality and see if I can’t break through there. I typically “see” the front of the race on the run leg, but drop off the podium during it. My runs aren’t far off what I can do open 5k either, it’s purely being somewhat average at the difference. Of course it’s been almost two years since I raced so who knows?


28:30 today for 1500m, that’s my baseline :relieved:


Im going to try an alternating approach this season. Ive seen many successful longer distance athletes alternate which sport they focus on each week. So my peak volume will be 5 hours running, 5 hours cycling, alternating with 3.5 hours running with 7 hours cycling. Hopefully can get back to swimming in the fall.

5 hours will still be shorter than 80k though, looking to be around 60k, since 2 hours of that time will be at like hr 120, and another 2 hours around 130. As i said in another thread though, this is more like an extended base period than a serious race prep schedule. I’ll save that for next year when things are hopefully closer to normal.


Thats a nice starting point after not having pool for so long!! Well done!!


I really appreciate your feedback and I’m really glad we did get this thread going because it is quite different from IM training. And it looks like I have a new podcast to listen to as well on my runs! I think for now I’m probably going to stay the course on my overall plan, but if things start to fall apart or my performance leaves something to be desired say in the swim I’ll probably take your suggestion to dip my toe in the pool an extra day a week and cut out some volume on the run etc.

I’m also thinking too that as a big guy (193cm with US15 feet) my swim should be more of a weapon than it currently is. I’ve always come out towards the front of the pack on very minimal training. (A number of years ago I came out feeling really fresh from an IM swim in 1:09 on a total of 3 swim workouts in the preceding 90 days). One of the things I am actually doing for the first time ever is that I’ll be seeing a swim coach, getting video analysis, and will work on fine tuning that discipline. But 3x a week is about 3x more than I usually do :stuck_out_tongue:

I’ll be sure to keep updating how things are progressing (or not) for me this summer.


Sounds like that could be an interesting experiment! Are you going to be throwing some intensity sessions into your run on the long (or short) weeks or will you be mainly doing Z2 type runs?

11h 36m training last week, next week is recovery so I need to figure out what to do with running and swimming which I was ramping up.

Plan has only 2h 25m running next week and I did 4h 08m this week in 5 runs (skipped one and caught up volume with others). I might just maintain this 40km volume and distribute it over 6 runs.

Swim 4300m last week in two sessions, got 4 sessions booked next week. Maybe just ramp up to 6000m, 1500m per session isn’t much though maybe a good idea to come in slowly.

Bike drops to 4hrs in the plan so 4+4+2 plus half an hour lifting is 10h 30m. I wouldn’t call that a recovery week volume but :sweat_smile: