July 31, 2021 at 7:48 pm #13628brownj23Participant
I am 10ish weeks into my level 1 training plan for an Olympic Tri. Until now I have really enjoyed the plan. But I am now struggling with the plan looking at the weeks ahead. I don’t understand why the plan is calling for week-day bricks when I work full time. To me it makes more sense to do bricks on weekends when I have more time available.
I am also struggling with the volume that is being requested for swimming. For a 1500m swim in an olympic tri, why is the volume of swimming so high? My wife is working off of a half ironman plan and she isn’t swimming anywhere near the volume that this plan is requesting. As an example in september I think there are 4 or 5 swim sessions in a row that are all asking for 2500 m of swimming. I’m also curious as to why race week there is an extremely high intensity swim of 1750m 4 days before the race and a 1500 critical velocity swim the day before my race.
Again this plan has done well for me but looking at these things above has really put me off.
Thanks for any feedback/thoughts.August 1, 2021 at 8:22 am #13645David WardenKeymaster
Thanks for using our plans.
– The Level 1 plan has 1 BRO (optional brick) in week 10 and 1 “required” brick in Week 11. You can split week 10 into two separate workouts, and the Week 11 brick is just 1.5 hours in duration which we feel is reasonable for a mid-week workout. Week 11 is really not “required” as a brick, the whole plan is not required, it’s just our recommendation and you can split that workout up too. The reasoning behind these mid-week bricks are to prep you for the more intense week-end bricks coming up in Weeks 13, 14, and 15.
– Regarding swim volume, let’s imagine that your bike will take about 70 minutes, and your run about 50 minutes in your Oly event. Your Level 1 plan includes multiple 2.5 hour bikes (2.1 times your Oly bike duration) and a 105-minute run (2.1 times your Oly run duration). Your peak swim is 2500 meters (1.7 times your Oly swim distance). Or, let’s take a look at this in Week 11 at 6000 meters for the week. Your total bike time for the week is 4.3 hours (3.7 times your Oly bike duration), run time is 3.25 hours (3.9 times your Oly run duration) and swim distance is 6000 meters (4 times your Oly swim duration).
In other words, your individual peak swim workouts are actually much lower relative to the individual bike and run workouts, and weekly volume is practically identical across all 3 sports at 4x the estimated time you will spend in each disciple in the Oly event. Swimming is not over-represented at all. It’s interesting that I get as many concerns about the swim volume being too low in the Oly plans as I do about it being too high. The truth is, it is too low for some athletes and too high for others, but we have to make the plan for the “typical” Level 1 athlete, and do so by balancing out the 3 sports identically (relative to the respective time required in the Oly event).
– Additionally, every workout is not about gaining fitness. Some of the swim workouts are deliberately there for active recovery only. With a swim workout, I can get you 60% of the aerobic benefits of a run at 25% of the recovery time of a run. Or, think of it this way: why do elite runners cross-train on the bike and in the pool? 1 meter of swimming is infinitely more than necessary for a runner. But, they cross-train for active recovery, and for a triathlete that recovery is fortunately built right into the plan. If your wife’s 70.3 plan has less swimming than yours, I propose that plan author is not balancing out the swim properly (also please note that the swim in a 70.3 is just 25% longer than an Oly, but the bike is 2.25 times and the run 2.1 times longer, so an Oly swim is disproportionately more important in an Oly than a 70.3).
– For the final week of your plan, the answer is similar to the active recovery answer above. I can maintain your aerobic engine with swimming while still getting your legs fully tapered and ready to go. A 20-minutre swim the day before an Oly is part of a perfect taper.
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