Fink IM Training Plan

A while ago Cona sent me Fink's competitive Training plan in Excel format.

I've since used the template to add the "Just Finish"  template, which I was planning on using, but having spent a few hours looking at it whilst typing it all in, seems a little light on long bikes for my comfort, so might tweak it somwhat for that, and the long runs. I already do 2 hour LSRs, going back only to build up to 2 hours seems a little pointless to me. So if anyone wants the Competitive and Just Finish Plans just PM me with your email address. I might even have a look at the Intermediate one and see if I have the energy to enter that one.

You'll still need the book for the narrative / swim session details etc (don't want to do Fink out of a sale!) but it might be of some use to some in their planning?

The one thing that gets me about it is the Herat Rate zones he uses.  I have looked at both Fink and Friel and have just ended up hopelessly confused. Both are based on the same theory (lots of aerobic work plus a little high end stuff to keep the body guessing etc) but the heart rates they suggest you do your aerobic work at seem sufficiently far apart to cause doubt.

Anyway,  interested to know who uses Fink, who Friel and what yu all make of the HRs they suggest.


  • Interested to hear responses too.

    FWIW, my understanding is that Fink is based around set plans whereas Friel whilst giving a few samples, believes there's no such thing as a standard program.

    I like the 30 week concept (Friel) but am planning to do my long run midweek instead of doing the long ride and run on weekends. I've read a few posts of people saying Friel is a bit light on the bike hours. For Vit, I aimed at a 50/30/20 % split (bike/run/swim) and plan to do something around that again.  I may also include some of the swim sets from the BT website for variety. 

    Can't help on the HR zones though as that's where things went a bit pear shaped for me on the run at Vit. 

  • I've just finished Fink's book a couple of days ago and will be following this for next year .... still undecided about whether to follow the competitive or intermediate one.

    As for the HR, I'll do some tests and get on from there.... both Friel and Fink give similar advice about hr but the results are a bit different... I think it's because of the way Friel calculates that... in % of hr reserve and all that. As LN correctly says Friel doesn't do plans but gives you tonnes of info and some examples so you can come up with your own plan.... maybe a combination of both could be a good thing but that I'll leave to someone with more experience on plan writting.

    Anyone following Fink or Friel have a good maintenance program or routine?  Kinda lost on this one at the moment...

    Must dust off the hrm... 

  • Not me - mine's a mixture of Friel, Paula Newby-Fraser, Julian Dean, and our tri club coaches! Plus assorted bits of wisdom gleaned from all and sundry. The new one will be a lot more concentrating on bike stuff.
  • BTW, just put the Intermediate plan onto Excel, so anyone need that one, let me know.

    In the meantime, still none the wiser on sorting my Heart Rate zones!! image

  • Nevermind. Just reread your first post image
  • gordo / friel use functional tests to come up with HR zones.

    Do a 30 min time trial going as hard as possible, and the HR used from that gets plugged into a set of tables, that gives you zone 1, 2 3 etc.

    I did a run test last year, (hr 166) and used a set of bikr hr data from an oly race (160)

    I ended up training on the bike with a HR target of 129 for long slow rides, (but actually raced at @135 - 140 ish), and long slow runs at 130 - 140.

    I have a resolution to do more tests this year as I think I was generally training with too low a heart rate...
  • Think I did similar Shuffle B,  didn't ride hard enough in training too much easy stuff with HR @ 120 ish.

    Went out yesterday and did a harder 80 min ride,  HR was averaging about 150 ish (could be cos I've done little exercise over the last 6 weeks!) but legs don't feel at all sore today so am going to try to put in at least 1 harder ride per week like this.

     Ali,  if you can let me have Fink Intermediate on excel that'll be cool cheers.

  • LN - Fink's schedules are 30 weeks.

    Fink uses HR zones based on your MHR - he varies the zones for bike and run so you don't have to do different tests. I used the MHR I have seen at the end of a couple of 10k races and Fink's plan seemed to work well. I didn't follow it word for word but used it as a base for checking that I was doing enough. I did use the bike intervals that he uses in the third ten week block and used to dread the sessions, hitting the HR took real effort but I think they made a huge difference to my bike strength this year and as they're easily done on the turbo they were especially useful as I was training through the winter (for IMWA). I also found it light on the run coming from a running background but just kept my long run around the two hour mark as a minimum.

    Pkim - I'm aiming to stick to around 8 hours a week through the winter - a two hour long bike (soon to be done mostly on the mtb or turbo) and a two hour long run with 2 x swim sessions (my weakest discipline) and one turbo and one run session to make the time up.

    If you think you can or you think you can't you're probably right.
  • Must sit down and have a look at all this again soon.... but prob won't until Christmas.

    This year (my first IM)  I used Fink intermediate  for  basic volumes and outline structure but preferred Friel/Gordo's ethos - eg not putting a LSR and LSB on consecutive days.   I know my poor body wouldn't like it.

    As for the HR zones - always used Fink's because his were easier to work out.  Am dreading having to do another max HR test.  I did a Park Run and took the max rate in that as per Fink's suggestion.  Never really tried to work out Friel's. 

    I still kind of made it up a bit.  My long runs were a bit sporadic but, as a runner,  I thought the Fink intermediate long runs were quite short. My longest run was 15 miles, but I did a fair few 12/13/14s. And, going out with the pirates in Feb/March, even the long bikes seemed a bit short. This year, with an extra year's bike experience, I think they'll def seem short as I'm doing 3 or 4 hour bikes with a club most weekends at the mo. 

    This year, with more bike experience I'm hoping I can stick to a similar HR zone but go faster at that rate. That's the theory, anyway.

    Whatever point you're starting from, the principle of both plans is fairly clear - be gradual, build up slowly and don't take risks.

  • Thanks LMUH image

    I can't find my Be Iron Fit book tonight and am interested to know if these zones are correct for Fink (from another website):

    Zone 4: 90 - 95% max HR
    Zone 3: 86 - 89%
    Zone 2: 75 - 85%
    Zone 1: 65 - 74%

    I thought > 70% was the magic number for zone 1. My HR training for Vit was done almost all in 60-70% and 70-80. 

  • LN - they are his runing HR zones. He says that biking zones should be 5% lower.

    If you think you can or you think you can't you're probably right.
  • QBQB ✭✭✭

    Ali - I'd be really keen to have a look at the excel please.

    I may have done a bit of running but am so clueless about IM training that I found myself looking at someone else's post about a training schedule and thinking it was a bit light only to realise eventually on a re-read that 70.3 at the top should have told me it was for a HIM!

    Like someone else posted I like the schedules to get a feel for volume targets for the training, but adapt rather than follow to exactly the plan 

  • Little M.iss Ultra Happy wrote (see)

    LN - they are his runing HR zones. He says that biking zones should be 5% lower.

    Thanks. Still can't find my book. Z1 has always been for LSRs etc so 75% sounds high?
  • Fink says that LSR's should be in Z1 - 2. I struggle to run in Z1 but am comfortable at the low end of Z2. When I started I couldn't hold Z2 HR on the bike but am comfortable working in that range now. He does nothing in Z3 - says that's where most people waste their time as it's a sort of no-mans-land benefit wise so you do spinny turbo's in Z1 (I never bother with these to be honest but I have a naturally quite high cadence anyway); normal turbo sessions in Z2 and turbo sessions with the efforts in Z4 - used to kill me but by following the schedule I got there. Running wise LSR withstanding it's all Z2 apart from intervals.
    If you think you can or you think you can't you're probably right.
  • Thank you for that LMUH.  image
  • LN - the book is always to hand if I'm at home so I'm happy to answer questions from it! What is your goal race next year? The only thing I find with Fink is that 30 weeks out seems like forever to start your training but as I now tend to tick over at longer distances than his first ten weeks it's not so much of an issue - just a case of adding in the extra sessions. I have to say it's been nice just doing one a day for a while.
    If you think you can or you think you can't you're probably right.
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