(Newbie alert) My training plan idea

My two goals are:

1) 2013 VLM - to finish in style (target 4hr 30m with a stretch target of sub 4hrs, neither seem realistic right now but plenty of time to change that). My first marathon

2) IMW or Challenge Henley - to finish, any style totally optional image - my first IM!

Broadly speaking I was thinking of doing something like the following:

  • Mon: Rest day
  • Tues: 5 mile easy/slow run + 1hr swim at another time in the day
  • Wed: 1hr turbo interval training or 2hr+ bike ride if I can get out
  • Thur: 5 mile fast/tempo run + 1hr swim at another time in the day
  • Fri: 1hr turbo interval training (or 2hr+ bike ride if I can get out)
  • Sat: Long bike ride
  • Sun: Long slow run (following marathon training plan i.e. ramping up towards marathon time, ranging from 8-20 miles) + 1hr swim 


After the VLM I can start to introduce brick sessions as I progress by moving stuff around. How does this look up to the VLM though? What would you change? Is it too light on the running?





  • Not being funny, but have you ever done a 1hr turbo interval session?

    I think the only time I tried it I lost the will to live after 10 minutes image

    No idea about the plan, but if it were me I'd dump a lot of the cycling and replace it with running.

    Well, strictly speaking if it was me I'd drop most of the cycling, then dump all the swim sessions and replace them with pub sessions.
  • KhanivoreKhanivore ✭✭✭

    Yes I have done a couple of them and I don't mind them. I use the sufferfest videos and they make me work hard. I have no issue with sticking with them and would try to break them up with a 2hr+ outside ride on days I get home early from work or when I am working from home.

    Ian M wrote (see)
    Well, strictly speaking if it was me I'd drop most of the cycling, then dump all the swim sessions and replace them with pub sessions.

    Haha join the club - trying to change my ways! image

  • I'll be interested in the response you get, but for me I'd have much more base in there for now. I guess it depends on when you are starting this? 

    I'm thinking about a good 10 weeks of v low HR stuff (working on form and spinning) but the hardest bit is managing the ego to go slow enough. 

    To me there is too much high intensity stuff in there for a base period. This looks more like a build phase program to me. 

  • KhanivoreKhanivore ✭✭✭

    What is base and what is build phase? This is exactly the kind of info I wanted - so I am very glad you responded image I have started already.

    I will go google those terms. 

  • In a nutshell (but go and read Fink for much more detail) base training is about building your endurance base, so lots of long slow stuff, time on your feet, time in the saddle, not worrying about distance. Its a little monotonous in that you don't feel like you have really killed yourself, but you feel fine to train the next day. It's all done at conversational pace.

    Build is where you start inserting the speed, the intervals, the hill sessions etc. 

    Then peak is where you make your training very race specific, decent sessions at race pace etc. 

    Fink is great, esp for beginners. I'm just re-reading it. 

  • KhanivoreKhanivore ✭✭✭

    OK understood. I have Fink but I don't really like the whole time based thing. Especially for the running.

    Looking at my plan though two of the runs each week are at conversational pace and every 3 or 4 weeks the mileage is reduced 10% to allow some recovery. So, I run on sundays 8, 10, 12 miles.. then 10 miles.. then up to 14.. etc... The pace is conversational though. Maybe what I need to do is swap one of the turbo interval sessions for a long slow turbo ride (this WILL be very hard I admit) or a long slow outside ride whenever possible?

  • Fink works ! When I lost most of the last month before the Outlaw all the base training gave me a chance
  • KhanivoreKhanivore ✭✭✭

    OK so maybe for base what I should do here is swap the 1hr interval session for 2 or 3hr low HR cycling sessions (whether they are on the turbo or not). This would mean that EVERYTHING in the plan was low heart rate apart from one tempo run a week. 

    So if the plan becomes the following does this make it a sensible plan?

    • mon: rest
    • tue: 5 mile slow run + 1hr swim
    • wed: 2-3hr low HR bike ride
    • thur: 5 mile tempo run + 1hr swim
    • fri: 2-3hr low HR bike ride
    • sat: 3-5hr low HR bike ride
    • sun: 8-20 mile slow run



  • For building base its much better. For most newbies that endurance base will be their limiter over speed. You might be able to run the whole marathon, I don't know, but until you can, speed is of less relevance than endurance imho.


  • KhanivoreKhanivore ✭✭✭
    Perfect! Thanks v much image
  • Only other comment is you've got 12-15 hours a week training in there. That's a lot! Well done, I would have thought that was more than any on here but the most serious,

  • KhanivoreKhanivore ✭✭✭
    Hmm its going to be a challenge. Which bits can I cut down? I guess shorten the bike rides? You that's why I had them high intensity originally as they were only an hour long. Not sure I can do this extended one every week.
  • Tortuga what kind of training are you doing at the moment??

    Take a look at some of the online training plans and see how they build through the phases ... 12-15 hours is ok if that is what you are used to doing but it will be a fast track to injury if you aren't

  • What they all said. If you have Fink, please read it. As DES says, it just works. You don't have to use it, but it should give you some ideas.

    I wasn't convinced about the time based training either, but now it works. Your 5 mi slow run will vary in time as your fitness increases, whereas a 1hr Z2 run will always take 1 hr. Initially it may be 4.5 - 5 mi, but once you start to speed up for a given HR you could be doing 7.5 miles in that time. Which all counts towards run fitness for mara.

    Don't shorten the bike. It's all about bike. It's about the mental toughness and knowing how to cope with being in a very dark place a long way from home. It makes the end result much easier.

    And do exactly what Meldy says or she'll turn you in to a newt. image

  • Yeah ... look what happened to Gladys   image

  • I got better! image
  • Debatable !!

  • H0NKH0NK ✭✭✭
    I'm a newbie to triathlon too but if it was me i'd be tempted to do an extra hours run on either friday or saturday up to the FLM instead of an hours cycling then up the cycling after the marathon.
    Ian M wrote (see)
    Not being funny, but have you ever done a 1hr turbo interval session?

    I think the only time I tried it I lost the will to live after 10 minutes image
    No idea about the plan, but if it were me I'd dump a lot of the cycling and replace it with running
    Is Turbo training that bad? I have been using a gym stationary bike for up to an hour recently and found that ok, could of kept going longer. I figured that a turbo session would feel similar? I hope so as i'm kind of relying on getting lots of time on a turbo over the winter to get my training in and not abandon the family for too long.
  • His mind's going now, he's repeating himself!  Next it'll be his bladder and then he'l end up like Golden Boots!  Meldy, you'd best apply the antidote soon!  image  Or maybe not, for the amusement factor!!  

  • I like the idea of a basic repeatable week.....

    But you need somewhere to go. its 14 months to henley.....

    15 hrs is my basic week but i am into my 4th year of IM

    That goes up to 20 by then end. if your max effott is 15 hrs then you need to build into it. otjerwise you will only do.10 weeks of it.

    Are you trying to hammer the vlm or just trying to get around? if you are an experienced marathoner then you know what you are doing. however for IM you want 2 times biking to running (maybe more)

    If its your first marathon, why not use the vlm as a long training run and just do IM ru. Training for it. .... ( NO fast sessions needed.)

    2-3 hr turbos...? ive done 4 in 3 years. when there is snow on the ground. They are a last resort

    Most IM programs go on time, and the run tops out at regular 2.5 hr runs....

    Do you plan a recovery week every 4th week?

    Your rescehduled.program has no bike interval on there... Try to keep at least one of those

    Fink is a good start point for IM.

    I hate typing on a phone
  • Do some more reading.... Search for gordo triathlete + basic week, and also look for the 'where to start' on sndurance corner for lots of articles on the basics of training

    Oh and you got the basics right - long bike, long run, long swim, 3 sessions per week per sport, some intensity but only 1 heavy session per week.....

    Oh and theb repeat for 40 weeks out of 50 image
  • Nice to see a similer plan for next year that I had in mind. 

    I have a nook - The non-runners Marathon Trainer (Whitsett) which I originally started 4     weeks before I did the Sprint Tri (July 8th - last minute decision!)  Having read it I think   the training plan is good but wondered how to incorporate the Tri work.  I too have the Fink book which I prefer to Going Long (Friel) and the Ironman books but I thinkl I have information overload!  

    I am itching to get into the 12 + hrs a week training but can you start at that amount of time training if you take it as base training or would you have to build up the hours over time? I'm rather impatient to jump in but worried about injury or illness. 

    I am hoping to get into London (VLM)( if not will try a charity place) so I think there is plenty of time for training up to that but am I being over ambitious going for Ironman from beginner?  (Thinking of Lanzarote or Florida - somewhere warm - I prefer heat).  I am 44 but I say beginner as I haven't done any serious training for 20 yrs. I am slim (under 9 stone and size 8), have got horses, dogs and kids so I would consider above average active.  Family think I'm bit mad but even they think I could do it and I feel with proper training and advice I can't see why not.. Starting to ramble now - the main thing I'm questioning is can I jump into the Fink (or similar) training program from pretty much scratch (I did finish my Tri after 4 weeks basic running, 3 swim lessons and couple of rides out on bike).  9 months to marathon in April ? Lanzarote is May - er maybe not - Florida or Cozumel Mexico in the Autumn??

    Could also do Chester (5 miles away) this October as well? but thats crazy image

  • Hi Riodog,

    So, can you run for an hour and bike for an hour, both in Z2? Can you swim for 30mins?

    If so you can start Fink's just-finish plan. You have plenty of time, so build it up or do a test week. Then if it works, tick over gently (tri club swims and bike sessions) until 32 weeks out (30 plus 2 in the bag for illness/work).

    Then sit back, recover, say you'll never do it again. Rinse and repeat ad infinitum.
  • KhanivoreKhanivore ✭✭✭
    O.rangeCannon I came, I saw, I knitted wrote (see)
    I like the idea of a basic repeatable week.....
    But you need somewhere to go. its 14 months to henley.....

    It is repeatable in format but it does develop. The long runs progressively get longer and the bike rides too.

  • Thanks IronCat5 that's given me permission to just do it!  I can easily do bike hr in Z2 and I can run for an hr but not sure if I'm constant Z2, but yes I can do swim for well over 30 mins - easy hour.  

    Think I will get my diary right now and mark in the plan! I need a kick up the arse this week - after tri over a week ago I took last week easy and I've not done ANYTHING yet this week - (doing my accounts). image

  • consistency tops everything, plans like Fink work, not because they're good but because anything done consistently will yield improvement, especailly in slower athletes (of which I consider myself one).

    There's no magic weekly plan but I like the fact there's no consecutive run days (leads to injury) there's lots of things you can do to make sessions interesting and more specific such as hill reps, big gear work etc.

    Whilst I don't like Fink or off the shelf plans - I do think if you have the flexibility within your schedule to follow one, as part of a group, then you'll be more likely to stick with it over the months than purely DIY approach unless you're of a strong mindset.

    You'll find that you'll be able to hit your run goals whilst doing IM training purely as you'll be much fitter due to the increased volume.

    Best of luck.

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