500 day 1/2 IM training plan | 80/20 Endurance

500 day 1/2 IM training plan

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    What with life interfering with the best laid plans, I’m at best 12 months out at worst 17 months out from what would be my next 1/2 IM. What would you recommend with regards to utilizing plans for that long a period of time.

    Primarily I would like to significantly improve my running. Of course gains on the bike would be great too.

    David Warden


    There are two paths you can take to your training: with an event as an anchor or without an event as an anchor.

    Training without an event is exercise. That’s a great goal. But, where possible, always have an event as an anchor. It increases accountability and motivation.

    An “event” does not have to be an actual event. It can be a very specific goal tied to a date. That’s really all an event is anyway, right? A goal tied to a date. So, if you don’t know what actual event you’ll be doing, at a minimum set you own goal/event. An individual 10K on April 1, a goal to increase FTP by 10% by August 1, swim 1,000 meters in <17 minutes by end of year... those are events!

    So, if 12 months is your minimum time before a an actual race, break up your next 12 months into at least two seasons, each with an event. Season 1 ends in April/May/June and is an actual event or personal and specific goal. Season 2 starts after season 1 and is another actual event or goal. Season 2 does not even have to be defined at this time, just season 1.

    Then, based on that event and date, you pick a plan. Since you have a goal for running, I'd recommend at least a 10K or HM plan and target an event for April or May.

    The short answer to your direct question is that I don't think you should use a plan for a long period of time: break up the long period of time into several shorter periods of time.



    Thanks David.

    I kinda do this already although not as specifically.

    Let’s say I want to target a HM “race” in early April. I’ve been running the past few months 3-4 days a week. About ready to do another FTP test. Last one came out at 8:28.

    Last HIM run was 1:55 at age 53 a year and a half ago. Which plan would you suggest?
    Also, it’s most likely phase II would be another HM 12 weeks or so after that. How would you transition into training for a second one?



    Read something in another topic regarding plan choices. It was dealing with IM training but I’m thinking it might apply to running as well.

    I’m trying to decide, based on the info I gave in my previous post whether Level 0 or Level 1 HM plan would work best for me. You said in the other topic that Level 0 with strength training might actually be more beneficial than Level 1. Just curious your thoughts as I look to pick something up to help me train.

    David Warden

    B, sorry for the delayed response.

    I recommend the Level 0 for you for four reasons:

    1. The new 2021 edition plans are some 20% harder than the 2020 levels. So, a Level 1 becomes a Level 1.2 and might be a big jump is you are used to the 2020 Edition Level 1.
    2. Adding strength training adds another 20% stress, making the Level 1 plan about a Level 1.4, almost maybe a big jump.
    3. Yes, adhering 95% to the Level 0 with strength training is going to provide better results than 90% on Level 1 plan without strength training. The Stress of the Level 0 plan may now be 0.4, but the results are closer to a 0.8 since the strength training has compounding benefits above the stress it introduces.
    4. Finally, it’s always best to start lower and move up than the other way. Since you can always switch levels for free, go Level 0 and move up to Level 1 if it’s too easy.


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