Thoughts on Trainer Road Full Ironman Distance Plan

Hi everyone :slight_smile: Happy to be here, this is my first post here in the Trainer Road Forum. I have recently started the Trainer Road Full Triathlon (Ironman) Distance plan for the Maryland Ironman in September. This will be my first Ironman and very excited. I am currently training for a marathon in April and am using the Full Distance High Volume Base Plan in tandem as both cross-training and building base.

I saw the Triathlon Training Thread and seems like people have had good results with the Full Ironman Plan. I was just wondering if anyone has done the Full Triathlon plan either in it its parts or in its entirety (base, build, specialize), what you thought, and how your race went for you. I have a pretty good base fitness (which I’ve built over the last few years after a horrible bout with my rheumatoid arthritis) and am training on a Tacx Neo 2T. I am currently riding with my road bike (if this is something I want to continue maybe I’ll spring for a tri bike).


I have used the plan builder function and am only ending base phase tomorrow, but one thing I have noticed already is that you need to be careful making running/swimming workouts harder than in the plan, as you can end up half dead. The RPE recommendations for the run in particular: I almost always go too hard. The RPE scores are also different than I originally thought.


I’m on my second run through of full distance mid-volume, but I don’t actually have a tri planned this year. Just got a monster sportive and a mountain marathon pretty close together so need to train bike and run at the same time. Last year I did the plan and turned up on race day raring to go but the bike was rained off so I ended up doing a long swim and a marathon! I think the toughest part is squeezing in all the workouts, I’ve never managed to cram in three pool swims a week even if I hit all the others (I do add an open water session in the season).

Some of the TSS from the runs is a bit mad; a prescribed workout that lasts nearly an hour but with a few minutes at 10/10 will get TSS from an hour at RPE 9.

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I see what you are @eerke and @rjessop, the RPE scale seems a bit off. An RPE of 6 for example I equate more with my tempo pace (RPE 6-7), and TR is saying that is easy/moderate pace. RPE 4-5 as marathon race pace and RPE 3 as easy/conversational pace, so I think I’ll adjust the RPE accordingly. The RPE they have here seems high.

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For reference, the RPE scale used across the run, swim and cycling workouts is explained here:

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I tried to stick to the Triathlon plans mid volume (only cycling workouts tho) in 2018 as close as possible. Sometimes I’ve added some endurance rides to add some more volume.
PB’ed with a 8:37 overall and a 4:33 bikesplit.


I used the TR Ironman plan last year training for CeltMan. I only used the bike workouts as it is my weakest discipline and I felt confident programming my own swims and runs. I thoroughly enjoyed the training, but did sub out some indoor long rides at the weekends for 3-6 hour outdoor rides. I found I have topped out at 4 hours on the trainer before I become too sore.

For swimming, other people can comment on the efficacy. My thoughts on the runs (and I seem to remember I have read this elsewhere in the forum) is that the runs are pretty stout workouts. I would be careful of some of the high-end workouts if you are starting to feel a bit stretched by the swim and bike workouts. An Ironman is a ridiculously long warm-up for a marathon - if you only did Z2 running and brick runs, and nailed all the bike workouts you will get to the end. If you don’t make the bike workouts because you’re knackered from hard runs, the race will be a less pleasant experience. There’s few better feelings in a triathlon than cruising past lots of great cyclists who can’t run or people who overcooked the bike.


Wow 8:37 finishing time that is outstanding @norman!

I used the half distance mid volume plan through May, and then the low volume full distance plan through November to my first full- IM AZ.

I found the plan to be super helpful. I wasn’t able to do the intervals during the runs (achilles can’t handle the interval work), so I just did the distances at tempo run speed. I’ll use it again for my next one for sure.

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Hello there, welcome to the forum!

I’ve used the full distance low volume plan for my first IM in Hamburg 2018. Followed the bike workouts in low volume and substituted some of the weekend rides with longer outdoor rides. Did not follow swim workouts (I don’t believe in long endurance swims, need more technique training) and neither the runs (it is my strongest discipline and I get better results with a more personalized plan). But that‘s just personal preference and arrogance, I am sure I would have had good results with the whole package as well.

I finished comfortably in 9:45 (swim was replaced by a 6k run so in earnest more like a 10:15-equivalent) with a 4:54 bike split, feeling entirely confident all the way.

Since then I’ve stuck with TR for half distance triathlons and have been extremely satisfied with my progress.