Triathlon training for hilly bike splits

So I’m entered. (Via deferral) to compete in Ironman Lanzarote next May. Thanks to Covid in my area I still can’t access a pool and am not a great athlete in the cold. I’ve therefore tried to move almost all my training indoors which means my focus is really just bike and strength right now.

Knowing that this is a super hilly course (unlike most other triathlons) on the bike, I noticed a lot of the triathlon plans don’t actually focus as much on sweetspot and threshold efforts and I’m not the best climber. Equally the run is completely flat and all in the road (thankfully in the heat). How have any of you adapted your TrainerRoad triathlon plans to accommodate the specifics of your race? Would you choose a pure cycling plan to target the challenges of the bike rather than a generic plan?

I have used the full-distance tri plan for two very hilly triathlon races (triathlon x and brutal half, both UK events). I adapted some of the workouts by sprinkling in low cadence efforts to try and simulate climbing and this seemed to work well in my case. Found the VO2max effort sessions, varying from 1 to 5 minutes key to build both leg and mental strength to fight if mental and physical fatigue.

Just don’t neglect hill climbing on your weekend/outside rides as that’s something you can’t truly replicate inside.


I’m doing IM Vichy again next year which is Dammed Hilly (and very hot)
Last year the IM plans on here did not prepare me very well for the route which includes 2 hills over 10mile long (amongst others). I am a big lad, A weak cyclist, and to climb these hills I am close averaging to FTP for the duration of the climbs (leaving me well in the red)
To get me ready for the race next year I am still using TR for some workouts, but also using Rouvy for my training.
I use TR for intervals and the such
But use Rouvy for: -
Endurance - at the moment doing one on the 70.3 routes every week (including Vichy 70.3 every 2 weeks)
Strength Endurance - Doing a classic climb (1-2 hrs in duration) once per week
My race is not till late August

(this is just my approach and my be looked down upon by TR puerists)

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That’s a great point about the low cadence work, in my opinion anyway.

I’ve only done the half distance plans, in there the whole base phase is sweet spot? Build is all VO2 and over unders then speciality is a lot of threshold work.

When I did it before it was a mix of sweet spot and sprints with endurance rides for rest.

No. Lanza is tough, but it is still about steady state and aero. Nobody gets a hero bike split there and you still need to swim and run so you want a triathlon plan.

Only thing I would change is practice climbing outdoors in the aero position.

Enjoy :grin:

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I would argue that the plans were not the problem, but your gearing. Successful IM bike splits are based on correct power management…if you are racing a hilly course, you need to adjust your gearing so that you don’t go into the red…especially for 10 mile climbs.

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I wouldn’t bother too much with adjusting plans. Hills or not, you don’t want to stray near threshold or even high sweet spot in a tri. If anything, I’d echo what others have said and do as much climbing outside as you can and practice proper pacing. Managing your effort on a hilly bike leg is tricky and many get carried away. Pacing properly on an incline feels insanely slow if you’re not used to it and you’ll be overtaken by many athletes who don’t pace well.

I did the Mont Blanc Tri two years ago. The bike course was 70k with 1900m elevation. I had the same thoughts as you and opted for a tri plan with the bike workouts swapped for sustained power build and the climbing road race plan. I’d say sustained power wasn’t too different from the tri plans, but the CRR was neglecting sustained efforts, looking back I’d guess I’d have been fine on the tri plan.

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