What plan for hilly Half triathlon distance?

I am thinking to pick specialty plan for my Half distance triathlon race.
The bike leg has about 5000 ft gain, something I never did before.
The race is on June 2nd it means I have to pick 8 week plan sometimes in April.

I am choosing between Half distance Mid volume and Climbing Road Race Mid volume.
The road plan does not have longer rides, but I think I can ride longer on the easy days.

I understand that TSS on road plan is more, but I think I should be able to do it. I live in the area where there are no good hills around where I train, Central Ohio.

What do you think, what plan will be better for me? Tri general or Road specific climbing?


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I’m doing something similar, a half distance with a 70k bike course and 1700m climbing, spread across two massive and relatively continuous climbs. General consensus on here seemed to be SSB1+2, sustained power build and climbing road race. I plan the run and swim workouts myself, inspired by the TR plan and something I got on TP.

How wide is your gearing, or how wide are you willing to make it? Generally speaking, your best time on a bike split (and setting you up for a good run) is still going to be extremely low variability of power, slightly higher going uphill or into the wind and slightly lower going downhill or with the wind. Depending on your power, weight, and gearing, that might still be realistic, and would steer you toward the triathlon plan.

The climbing road race plan is going to have a lot of strategy-specific work: “everything from short, near maximal efforts to all-out bursts of speed to long stretches of endurance work and, in this case, multiple bouts of sustained climbing…” I think if you anticipate the climbs to require relatively big jumps in power, some of the workouts might be helpful, but if you find yourself doing short maximal efforts on the bike, your run is probably going to be severely compromised.

My advice would be to stick to the HIM plan. The triathlon plans contain plenty of variety of riding so for the vast majority of HIM’s would be fine for races with that amount of climbing.


It makes sense, thanks.
I did not go through my closet to get the cassette and gear, but I will definitely do it.

Just like a few other people mentioned, (thanks Matthew and Julian) the HI Tri plan should serve you well even if the course is hilly. I’ve posted this on the forum before, but here’s a quote directly from Coach Chad on the topic:

Even if a triathlon course is littered with hills, including very steep pitches from time to time, it’s seldom advantageous to employ a “kill the hill” pacing pattern where a rider attacks the climbs and tries to recover on the descents. This type of pacing approach exacts a heavy muscular toll that will likely affect the latter half of the bike leg and the entirety of the half or full marathon that follows.When ridden in this manner, the level of effort variability a rider sees across such a stochastic bike leg will lead to a more rapid depletion of intramuscular glycogen stores (sugar stored in the muscle itself), higher levels of exhaustion in the less aerobic muscle fibers (higher-power muscle tissue), and even decreased neuromuscular efficiency (how well your brain communicates with the working muscles) due to unnecessarily excessive muscle stress.

But because it’s so easy to get hung up on the terrain, many triathletes see a hilly course profile and feel underprepared if they haven’t been putting in time on similar grades outdoors. And while this form of outdoor training can indeed be beneficial and highly event-specific, the steady resistance administered by just about any indoor trainer (smart or otherwise) is a very close approximation to the type of unrelenting muscle tension experienced on a climb. So training indoors actually lends itself exceptionally well to both flat and hilly time trials which are basically what a triathlon’s bike leg amounts to.So it all really comes down to pacing and it’s oh so likely that athletes who suffer on the hills - even if it doesn’t hamper their run afterward - are pushing too hard of a pace due to the relatively low speeds on those climbs. It can be very challenging to move slowly during a race, and consequently, far too many riders find themselves goaded into unrealistically powerful climbs as a result of this misinformed perception.Avoid this by acknowledging that your power output (or intensity factor) is an entirely more useful metric than speed when it comes to measuring the stress placed on your muscles. Regardless of the grade, power can often be held rather steady (assuming you have the proper gearing and employ a reasonably quick cadence) while speed can vary widely.So hilly or not, long efforts on the bike are best treated as steady-state affairs lest the bike leg becomes increasingly miserable and the post-ride run pays an even heftier price.