Planning now for 2021 70.3s | 80/20 Endurance

Planning now for 2021 70.3s

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    I have races “scheduled” (whatever that turns out to mean in 2021!) for June 27 2021 (Ironman 70.3 Mont Tremblant) and August 29, 2021 (Ironman 70.3 Maine.) My current thought is to start the 19 week 70.3 Level 2 plan on Feb 15th (19 weeks before Mont Tremblant), then I will hope 70.3 MT goes on as schedule and stay locked to the plan. Assuming I race 70.3 MT, then the week after the race (June 28) I will rest and do some light workouts, then the next week (July 5), which is 8 weeks before 70.3 Maine, I will return to 70.3 Level 2 at week 12 (8 weeks remaining) to prepare for 70.3 Maine. 70.3 MT is a bit higher risk of not happening for me because of the restrictions to enter Canada that are currently in place. Oh, also, I am a strong swimmer, and plan to focus only on cycling, running and strength through the remainder of 2020, then resume swimming in pools in Jan 2021 (just too much of a pain in the butt with all of the covid protocols, doesn’t seem worth the time given my baseline strength in swimming.) Chyme in on the swimming, if this seems like I am setting myself up for a problem down the road by avoiding swimming for another 10 weeks.

    Question 1: Assuming there are no scheduling issues for these 2 races next year, and I can toe the line at both races, does this plan (full 19 weeks of Level 2 for race 1, then last 8 weeks of Level 2 before race 2) seem like the right approach?

    If MT 70.3 gets rescheduled or canceled, I should immediately reorient my schedule around 70.3 Maine – apply the full 19 week plan in the lead up to Aug 29 race day, assuming you don’t disagree. Feel free to chyme in.

    Question 2: I am active currently – been training (cycling, running, weight training, no swimming) about 7-10 hours a week, both easy and hard intensity in cycling and running, so given that what training should I do for the 17 weeks in the leadup to Feb 15? Should I do the Maintenance Tri plan, a Maintenance Tri plan with some added hours and/or intensity (e.g. how the maintenance tri plan doesn’t have much run intensity early on), or should I work in the first 10 weeks of “General Phase” of the 70.3 Level 2 plan in this October 2020 to Feb 14 2021 period before beginning the full 19 week plan?


    David Warden


    Question 1: Assuming MT takes place, this plan is right on. No concerns with limiting your swimming, at least early in the plan. Since the swim workouts are calculated separately to determine the 80/20 ratios, this will not impact your bike/run fitness. For the last 4 weeks of the plan, I recommend you stick with the swim schedule to ensure that you have the necessary skills for the swim distance.

    Question 2: I recommend the Maintenance plan. Yes, it seems low-volume and slow to ramp up, but it’s been used and continually refined and is our most popular plan: because it works (ok, also because it’s free). It also has an unheard-of perfect 5-star rating on TP with 30 reviews.

    Here is the secret with the Maintenance plan: if you feel the volume is too low, just crank out the high intensity intervals at the upper end of the zone. There is a big difference in completing that plan at the low to middle level vs the high end of the intervals. You can essentially make it as challenging as you want.

    The risk with using the 70.3 plan’s base period is it’s just more volume than necessary. You can get 95% of the benefit with 50% of the risk with the Maintenance plan, at least for your long-term schedule.



    Thanks, David!

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