Triathlon plans - running

I know this may have been discuss before, but i find the running wo of a “tri” plan to not take into consideration the level of running fitness (maybe the swimmer fitness as well, but since im a lousy swimmer anything is hard).

This is what i was suppose to do today

Run 40min Easy-Moderate, RPE6 and randomly insert 8x30s bursts of high speed, RPE9 just like last week, still separated by at least 1 minute of regular-pace running between bursts, but this week try to clean them up a little by running more fluidly, more relaxed, but just as fast.

some observations:

  1. It would be cool if i can see what is my RPE levels…
  2. Easy/Moderate is define very differently by different coaches. Maybe a more specific pace/hr zone would be beneficial (im guessing thats RPE6, but i cant find what are my levels)
  3. I personally would not consider 30s an interval, is more closer to be strides (maybe too long for strides, but too short for intervals).

Maybe I see flaws on the programs because I am more used to running programs like Jack Daniels.
You do some Time Trials and from there you base all your runs (you know your pace ranges and such)
For cycling we do the same thing, but using power.
It would be nice if we can set something like TT at the start of the plan and at some key points (the same way we do the ramp test), so running fitness could be evaluated and a pace could be suggested.

This would be great for step 2 of adding running to TR.

Anyways… been doing my own thing on running days. Ive been reading about the Run less and how it works well for tri athletes because you run 3 days (LR, Intervals, Tempo). Any one have had experience with this plan and using TR? Im concern about over training.

In case you haven’t seen this post - some RPE explanation. Might help you at least understand their targets a bit better.



I self-integrated the run less plan into a tr plan a few years ago, and i found it way to difficult to do both at the levels each plan called for. I was constantly trying to figure out how to dial things back and still get a good workout in. In the end, I was just frustrated and burned out from all the intensity.

Since then, I’ve loosely done low volume trainer road plans and sprinkled in runs based on how I feel. I’ve become more injury prone when it comes to running lately so that means that I basically just go out for relaxed run 95% of the time, andI rarely go long these days unless as my events don’t call for it.

When I’m training, my long runs cap at around 7-8 miles, otherwise 3-4 miles keeps me fit enough for my liking. When I’m feeling spunky I’ll do some intervals, but I give preference to the cycling workouts. I try not to run such that it burns my cycling efforts.

To date that has served me well enough. For reference, I’m age group competitive locally (just turned 40), but I’m mostly doing sprint distance these days as that’s all I have time to train for. I’d need to find many free hours to truly improve in all three disciplines, and it’s just not a priority for me right now.


Ya, coming from a running background before getting into triathlon I basically ignore the run workouts PB spits out. I take what I used to do running and scale down so as not to take away from my bike workouts. Generally, I will do an interval or “quality” sesh (400’s/800’s/mile repeats/hill repeats), a medium-long run with additional work (this is your 8x30/10x20/5x90s surges with ample rest in between), and a long run. I will also do long quality as I get closer to my “A” race which can get pretty wild but really test your engine.

I always time trial for 2 miles on the track to set my zones. Hurts like hell but is over quick (less time than a ramp test!!!) and works great.

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I see…
Thats basically what ive been doing more or less.
During the “off season” i was following the SSLV plans with 4 runs a week including one LR (17+).
But this was during the build up for Boston. With the marathon cancelation, i went back to 4 rides and 3
solo runs, and 2 short bricks. Mostly E miles (z2 hr) with 1 MLR (90 min) and now 1 interval session.
Will see how this works out.
Last year was mostly lots of E runs with MLR with race pace miles on it, plus one sesh with shorter Tempo pace intervals (at most 1 milers). That worked well.

But all of that was following a coach. I dont have a coach anymore, so i dont want to do my own thing because i know i will over trains for sure. Thats why i was thinking about the “run less” plan.

how much do the interval sessions affect your rides?

Scheduling is key. For example, I would never do 800’s one day and then follow up with some VO2 on the bike the next day (or vice versa). I find that any sort of intensity (Threshold and above for both sports) should be followed by endurance to tempo or maybe low sweet spot for the other sport (although there isn’t really a “sweet spot” in running so if running the next day I’ll never go faster than marathon goal pace but often keep it MGP -0:30 or slower). So, for example I would do a VO2 on the bike then follow that up with an easy endurance run or maybe an MLR the next day. Or if I did mile repeats today then tomorrow I would do something like a Pettit or Baxter tomorrow. I will string long rides/runs together consecutively, unless I’m doing long quality. If I’m doing long quality then I will do the long quality first and regular long ride/run the following day. I never do long quality for both sports in the same week unless I’m at a point where I would be doing something like the below.

I do find stacking intensity to be useful sparingly during build/specialty phases as a great way to really push yourself (but not too close to race day). The key being you follow stacked weeks up with true recovery (such as at the end of a training block).

This works well for me and I haven’t had any issues with intervals wrecking a ride.

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Ive been trying to figure out this balancing act as well. Since the pools have closed ive constantly rearranged my plans and its a bit annoying as i cant seem to find the right balance. Before the swim would break up my cycling and running.

I have a plan and then end up tweaking it all the time because im too fatigued. Im following the SSBLV 2 plan at the moment and trying this

Mon: Run - 45 mins easy with some strides
Tuesday: Bike - V02
Wednesday: Run - Easy 30-40min
Thursday: Bike - 1 hour Threshold
Friday: Rest or some weights
Saturday: Bike - Longer 1:30 over unders / threshold
Sunday: Run - Long 1:30+

I want to squeeze in a quality run session to get faster i.e 400 repeats - but this just ruins me for the rest of this week.

Any suggestions?

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this has been my schedule for the last year…

M, Swim and 5-6 mile run afterwards
T, Bike
W, Swim and Run wo… T-ish pace
Th, Bike
F, Swim, 8 mile run (maybe some at tri race pace)
S, Bike
Su, LR (maybe some miles at race pace)

This routine has work for me, but mix results…
I was doing this for a marathon (April 2019). I was trying to do 60 miles of running on 4 days. This was not the best of the ideas. The bikes rides really suffered and the LR were not great either.
After the marathon we kept the same schedule. but reduced the intensity. Instead of GMP (6:45mpm (I was not even close to hit this on the marathon)) we were hitting GHIM pace (about 7:00 mpm) and the longest run was 15 miles (and not 26 like before). T pace wo were short (no more than 2 miles per repetition). We had much better results. We were hitting the targets better and I was not suffering as much on the bike.

My point is. Depending on what you are doing, 400’s might not be as useful for you. Maybe doing T pace wos would be more beneficial. On a tri you are would be closer to that pace after the bike than your running pace anyways.

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What distances do you race?

What if you rotated weeks for your Sunday run? One week could be long, and the next could be speed work. Or you could experiment with long quality during your runs. Then you can use your Monday run as recovery (so cut the strides) and move any sharpening tools like strides/surges to your Wednesday run. I realize that may be challenging at first since you do VO2 Tuesday, but if your body can adjust that might work pretty smoothly.

Especially if you race shorter distances (Sprint/Olympic) I would actually favor quality over going long. If however you race 1/2 and Full distance you obviously need the long work more, but quality is still very important to your overall development so I would definitely include it even if that means dropping a long sesh.

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Also, second this. While a wide range of paces and interval lengths are ideal, when time/volume is a limitation erring on the end most similar to your goal event is preferable to forcing a 400m workout into your schedule when you’re a Full Distance athlete and it takes away from your Tempo/Long work.