Adding workouts to Ironman L0 | 80/20 Endurance

Adding workouts to Ironman L0

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    I will be competing in my first Ironman in 2021, after completing a DIY 70.3 this year. Loved the plans and structured workouts to date so deciding to stick with 8020 for 2021. Great work!

    Have been debating on the Ironman L0, L1 and L2 plans. I typically can handle the volume of a L1 and L2, however, due to hectic family life and an ever changing work schedule, I would like to simplify my weekly schedule. For now I have settled on the L0 due fact of having 1 workout per day (except Sunday) and knowing I can easily complete the key workouts, and then when my work/family schedule allows I can add additional volume where I think it matters…..which would probably be strength, foundation running or technical swim sessions. I would still have 1 full day of rest, and most doubling up would happen with the morning key workout, then an evening or lunch when time allowed. I’m not trying for a podium, just to finish strong in the 12-13 hour range which I think is doable with my 70.3 performance last year.

    As the master builder of the plan, is there anything I should watch/avoid with this method, such a periodization? maintaining the 80/20 intensity split? Ramping up too much? Or do you advise going with a L1/L2….if I chose this method, what is best way to identify the key workouts and which ones can be skipped if necessary?

    David Warden


    Thanks for your kind comments and congrats on your 70.3 finish!

    First, it is better to adhere to 90% of a Level 0 plan than 80% of a Level 1 plan, so I recommend the lower level over the higher if you are not sure you can commit.

    Adding workouts:
    – Try not to add more than 20% more time above what is scheduled in the plan.
    – As you add workouts, yes, consider monitoring the 80/20 balance. For every hour you add, 12 minutes should be moderate to high intensity.
    – Strength is the best workout to add first. If you were to just add 1-2 hours a week of strength on top of the Level 0 plan, that would be the easiest and best investment.

    Removing workouts:
    – Unfortunately, “Key” workouts vary each week. I can’t give you the key workouts for each week. During the first 8-10 weeks of the plan, the key workouts are the intervals. During the final weeks, the key workouts are the race-specific duration and intensity (brick) workouts. “Key” workouts is a misnomer anyway: they are all key workouts or we would not have written them in. If you could do an Ironman for 2 1-hours workouts a week, that would be amazing, but most can’t and need all the workouts written.
    – Rather than skipping workouts, merge them. Swims can be merged easily and bike rides can me merged pretty easy. Don’t merge run.

    Periodization has more to do with the intensity distribution in the plan than total volume, so adding workouts does not present an issue if you are following the other rules.



    Thanks, that was the response I was looking for.

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