TRAINERROAD Sprint Triathlon Plan


I am new to TR and cycling with power meters and watts so the program is going to be very helpful. I just completed 2 Sprint Triathlons last summer and enjoyed them. My background is running and I understand the Jack Daniels running formula well. I decided to start this week on the Sprint Triathlon base training Mid Level Volume.

The cycling information and program is very specific to zones and watts. However, the running program is based on Perceived Exertion and is less specific than the running programs I have used in the past. Does anyone use VDOT (Daniels or McMillian) scores to determine paces for ?
Easy Runs
Threshold Runs
VO2 Max Runs
Rep Runs

If so, what Perceived Exertion numbers would you correlate to those type of efforts?
Ex. 35 minute run (PE 5) with 6 X 30 seconds (PE 9). I believe in training by feel as well but the cycling training is much more specific. I do not think there are significant training differences until Tempo and VO2 Max become more relevant.



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Hi AWO3!


That particular run I’d probably do as an ‘Easy’ with strides. So an RPE between 2-4 depending on whether I’m at the top or bottom end of the easy range.

PS - what are “Rep runs” – longer intervals?

Thank YOU! That makes sense.

R Pace is used to improve running economy and speed. It is supposed to be faster than “race” pace and performed with full recovery. If your 5K pace is “race” pace; R pace would be about 800 meter to 1600 meter pace. Runners generally keep R pace workout intervals less than 400 meters in distance. Here is a website that uses a calculator rather than the traditional charts. It is not “bullet proof” but very sound in principle.

A VDOT value sounds very “similar” to FTP and you get it by comparing a time the runner has run over a specific distance. Ex. 5K

Then, a runner uses their VDOT to determine paces to train different energy systems. The formula is supposed to decrease “junk mileage.”


Not trying to hijack the thread, but I’m a bit lost in my running workouts as well. Without having an official race time, is it really just a best guess with these calculators? I ran a 10k in 59 minutes this weekend on a training run. Average HR was about 85% of max. If I use that time, it gives me training paces much slower than I’ve been using. My easy pace is about 10:30 and Reps are about 7-7:30.

Hi and welcome,

Here’s my thoughts and some discussion on the RPE scale

I dabbled with vdot but never really got going with it, you can basically swap in your own run plan if you take into account being ready for your swim and bike sessions and not blowing out on a run before you do a hard bike or swim.

It depends, over time I’ve learned to gauge how I feel and not rely on pace. How did you feel during and at the end of the 10k training run…totally knackered? Then that’s your 1hr RPE8 effort. Your pace will change depending on the route, weather, season, I’ll ess, etc.
If you felt like you could do another 10k, it’s more like RPE6 or even 4.

On the whole, most people should run slower than they do. At least, that’s what I hear repeated over and over by almost every training source.

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Yeah, and I’ve made an honest attempt to run slow the last 3 months and I do believe it’s paying off. That 10k felt like a 70% effort so I’d probably call it RPE6 or 7. I have too little running experience to really draw on, but I’m also impatient lol. I’m just unsure when to start increasing pace or if it’s something that naturally happens over time.

Yeah I think 90% of your running time should be done so easy that you’re breathing in and out of your nose (take several hankerchiefs), the 10% harder varies how hard on how strong a runner you are. That’s recommended for newbies, and what world class marathoners do.

Most runners disagree, but try talking to them for five minutes without them bringing up their last/current injuries…:smile:


Oh I should probably caviar all my comments with the fact that I’m a crap runner, it’s my weakest discipline and my run volume is low. I’m doing about 4h per week.

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Thanks for the help! I developed some IT band issues earlier last year and had to stop running altogether. I know it was due to ramping up my mileage too fast. Trying not to make that mistake again.

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Yeah I got that when I started too. Shorter strides helped a lot too.

Thanks Joe X and Hi Flyinryan,

I think the concepts are similar to cycling but I am tying to navigate some of the differences in this discipline. Generally the best programs I have seen Daniels, McMillian, Lydiard, etc are 80% low Intensity(Easy), 15% Middle to High Intensity (Tempo/Threshold) and 5% High Intensity (VO2 Max/ R Pace). As the goal race approaches a runner starts doing higher intensity and lower volume.

I agree with Joe that many overtrain on easy days and train incorrect zones by running too fast on Threshold/ Tempo days. Running a quicker pace places extra stress making it hard to recover and decreases your ability to accumulate gains; plus, it trains different energy systems. A runner does not get the gains they were looking for at the beginning of the workout. Also, this can be a primary recipe for injury. (calves, hamstrings, groin, etc.)

My guess right now is that VO2 Max will increase speed and potential BUT Lactate Threshold and Aerobic Training will be the MORE IMPORTANT factors in Triathlons. You already have Lactic Acid in your body from the swim and the bike so your ability to handle Lactic Acid OR not produce as much should improve your run times. I am LITERALLY guessing at this point. I will know how my body responds to training and races in a few years.

I am trying sort through the run workouts to see which energy systems they want us to train on different days to make sure I am following the plan:)

Typing Quickly,


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In sprint you’re going all out on the swim imo, about 90% on the bike and all of whatever is left on the run…,I’m not sure what that means in Lactic acid terms! :sweat_smile:

As a point of reference, as part of my build, I am only doing ez runs, and VO2 max sessions. As VO2 max increases, pace for the ez runs increases as well (or HR goes down), as you get closer to your event, you’ll switch out the VO2 sessions for tempo runs to get in some quality sessions at your race pace.

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Can you share some Tempo workouts you use and how you balance these with bike and swim sessions? It sounds you like you value your tempo runs and use as quality sessions but you can correct me if I am wrong.

I am wondering if it is a good idea to cycle (VO2 max) run (Tempo) cycle (Threshold or just under) in consecutive days? Also, the volume of Threshold/Tempo running you are able to handle?

I may be different but it gives reference points to compare good volume and intensity from others.



I have been following the TR suggestions for the tempo runs for an OLY distance race. I’ll have a 20 min tempo (10k pace) in two weeks. This week was 12x1 min intervals with 1 min recoveries, and next week is 3x3 min intervals w 3 min recoveries. The 1 and 3 min intervals are to be done at VO2 max pace or roughly best mile pace.

Pre-TR, I would include tempo as a progression run on some long runs, usually the last one before a recovery week.

I’ve got 10 years of triathlon training in my legs, so can handle a bit of work, but even though it’s taken 3 years of TR level of consistent hard work to really get to where the hard sessions don’t throw off the rest of my week. I pick 2 hard bike sessions and 1 hard run, and have swapped out the rest with zone 2/easier effort levels. The longer days are still somewhat hard though, but they don’t take nearly as much as those scheduled weekend rides. I do have a hard run/hard bike on back to back days, thursday/friday after 2 easy days. Monday is a hard bike day and the weekends are for longer endurance work.


Thanks!! It makes PERFECT sense. I was thinking 7 hard sessions through a 2 week period (Bike & Run) and then adjust training depending on feel. The volume at VO2 Max pace is really helpful.