Two 70.3s plan - week after first race, and then 70.3->140.6 schedule | 80/20 Endurance

Two 70.3s plan – week after first race, and then 70.3->140.6 schedule

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    Just finished up 70.3 Gulf Coast Saturday (went really well, but I’ll save that for a separate post) and I have another 70.3 in either 15 weeks if all goes as planned for IM 70.3 Maine, or if there is a rescheduling and I pivot to 70.3 Timberman the week before that would be 14 weeks. Assuming 70.3 Maine for now, that puts me now in week 5 of Half Level 2 which is a recovery week coincidentally. I took Sunday and Monday off completely from any exercise, and I will be swimming on Thursday and Saturday because I can get to a pool then. Question is what to do this week for the rest of the week besides the 2 single swim workouts (probably wont’ have enough time at the pool to do back to back 2 swims in a single visit.)

    This week after a hard fought 70.3 (feeling sore but not terribly beat up 50 hrs after finish), besides the 2 swim workouts in week 5 (let’s say I do SMI2 and SAe2, skip ST5 because that’s a lot like what I did in the race Saturday) should I:
    1) stay away from all running, just do some easy cycling – all Zone 1-2 but try if I am able to cover same duration as what was in week 5 for cycling (4:45), not add a 3rd swim,


    2) start the week off with the easier stuff that is in week 5 (CRe6, RRe4) and then tackle the harder and longer stuff in week 5 later in the week, RAn3 Thurs, CCI13 Friday, RF12 Saturday, CFo15 Sunday. RAn3 is probably the only workout of the bunch that would have a 24hr+ recovery so I can imagine doing all 4 of them in four consecutive days (because that’s what my schedule permits)

    OR some other solution?

    Feels a little like doing the whole week with no running, just some standard swim workouts and some zone 1-2 only biking feels like it might be a bit too cautious, but maybe it’s you advocate it’s important to take it REALLY easy for a whole week after a 70.3 before resuming hard training, as much for the mental refresh as the physical recuperation?

    OK, so hopefully that’s pretty straightforward plan customization questions – kind of one question with a bunch of related points.

    On a related note, thinking about 2022 and moving up to 140.6, what is the window of time before a full Ironman 140.6 that would be a good period to do a 70.3? I know you advocate that all races should be on a recovery week (and I could rework the schedule some to make that happen or do the semi-recovery week) but thinking about the amount of time that is recommended for both *physical* and *mental* restoration after a hard pushed 70.3 before a 140.6. Or maybe doing a 70.3 before a 140.6 isn’t recommended. I do get “apathy” during races, questioning “why am I doing this, it’s unpleasant”. I don’t ever act on those thoughts but they do enter my mind and so a) I’d either like to space the two races properly to minimize the chance that the 70.3 exhaustion diminishes my fight for the 140.6 and/or b) understand if there is mental training athletes do to handle this mid-race apathy so I can reduce its presence and potential impact.

    If you want to tackle the answer to this in 2 parts, it would be great to know soon what training is recommended in this week after 70.3 as I return back to the 70.3 training for another race in 3 months, and then the question of 70.3->140.6 doesn’t have the same urgency and impact on my current training. Thanks very much for the guidance!

    David Warden


    Can’t wait to hear about your 70.3. I feel a legendary athlete spotlight in the making…

    I recommend the former recovery option #1. I know it feels too cautious, but there are recovery elements you can feel, and recovery elements you can’t feel. It’s the hidden recovery elements that we’re promoting with our week-of-no-running recommendation. Running 52-weeks a year will lead to anemia or similar chronic issues in most athletes. Might take 2 years, might take 5 before the consequences hit you, but you need those breaks to act as firewalls in your overall health.

    Particularly for you, just 5 weeks into your plan, you have plenty of time to train and taking that week off is no problem. If your A race was 4 weeks away, I would recommend putting off that aggressive recovery until after that A race, but you have plenty of time.

    For your second question, I like a 70.3 as part of an IM plan. It’s a good fit. The idea time for that B race is listed in our document Planning Your Race Season.



    Thank you, David. One error I made – Half Iron Level 2 Week 5 is not a recovery week. Week 6 is. This week I am in now, week after my first 70.3, is week 5 according to my next race date. So, does that change the calculus at all? I get your message about taking it easy this week. You advise no running, swims as in the plan with no modification (no need to restrict swim to only easy, right?), and to cycle for the duration in the plan for week 5 but only in Zones 1-2 (so I’d change CCI13 to CF11, and CFo15 to CF15 to keep the workout durations the same.) BUT, now recognizing that this week isn’t the recovery week that I thought it was, and next week (Week 6) is a planned recovery week, I’m wondering a couple of things:
    1. Is this week’s volume for someone right after a race (4:45 of biking)?

    2. Does it make sense for next week to be a recovery week?

    I think I’m getting an idea of the answer before you even respond… that this week is probably fine with that easy bike volume and unmodified swim workouts (no running), and that in an ideal world, with a personal coach developing my training schedule as I go, next week would not be a recovery week after what I am doing this week to recover, but it will be fine to do the recovery week as planned, or if I were suitably skilled at it I could modify the schedule some to add a bit more volume next week or rejigger the workout schedule and the recovery week schedule to make week 6 a hard week and find a new cadence (every 2-3 weeks) for upcoming recovery weeks, but probably not worth the effort to try to rebuild the whole thing to accommodate this change vs just going with the plan from week 5 onwards as written. What do you think? (my 3rd grade english teacher would not be happy with that run on sentence!)

    And I have to say, I know from 7 months and ticking of David and Matt’s 80/20 training, “recovery” weeks are not relaxing. They are reduced volume yes, but they are still HARD. Because they include 3 hard and important tempo workouts that are important to measure fitness and update training zones. And, of course, those tempo workouts are not just for fitness tests, they are so good for 70.3/140.6 fitness. So, maybe while the volume won’t be what I am used to next week, the tempo workouts will push me plenty and I should just stick with things as you suggested in your first reply, yes?

    David Warden

    I like about 4 to 5 hours to hours of swimming and cycling in these recovery weeks. Cut the the CCI2 and you’re close enough. If you make that change, and no running, that’s a good recovery week, and would be almost identical to Week 6 with that change anyway.

    Sure, if you had a coach or 5 years experience coaching you could make more refined changes than I’m recommending, but what you have is close enough…and free.

    After 20 years of marriage, my wife finally agreed to let me coach her to her first half Ironman. I can’t describe how much outrage there was when she got to a “rest” week and she was still pumping out RAn workouts. She refused to call them “rest” weeks and we compromised to “reduced duration” weeks.

    The beauty of intervals and zones (as you and I discussed in another recent thread) is that you can adjust them based on how you are recovering. Top of Zone 3 and bottom of Zone 3 are different experiences. This means you can essentially make any rest week as hard as you want by pushing the upper limit of your interval workouts. Think Week 5 with no running is too easy? Crush that CFo15 and ST5 and it won’t feel that way.



    @david One clarification – in the last line of your reply you mention CFo15. Is your recommendation that the cycling (and perhaps also swimming, or not also swimming) be only easy Zones 1-2 efforts in this post race week, or not? I had thought it was supposed to only be Zones 1-2 efforts but you mention going ahead with CFo15 (“crush that CFo15”). (Also, when you say “cut CCI2” did you mean CCI13 which is in my Half Lev 2 Week 5?)

    I understand your principle guidance that this post race week should be 4-5 hours of only cycling and swimming, no running, lingering question is just if there should be Zones 3-5 efforts in it or not. I see the article for Planning Your Race Season says “take it easy for a week” (the post race week) and then for the next 2 weeks it recommends I dial down the Zone 3 efforts to only 10-15% of weekly volume. Want to just clarify this a bit.

    Oh, and some good news – I found out yesterday I qualified for the 2021 Ironman 70.3 World Championship in St George on Sept 18, which is 17 weeks away, and that will be my next race date instead of 70.3 Maine, so I’ll revise to a modified Week 2 (instead of Week 5.)

    David Warden

    Ted, congratulations on your qualification at St George (my back yard). Still waiting for your race report…

    The easy recovery week does not need to be only Zone 1 and 2. If you take out all running from the week we discussed, for example, and cut the CCI2, your total high intensity time will be close to that 10%. “Easy” is not low intensity, “easy” means a significant reduction in volume (duration x intensity). If either intensity or duration drop significantly, the volume is reduced. In this case, you are reducing both, so it is much easier.



    thanks, that’s really helpful to understand. I do still owe you a race report.

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