Swim/bike-focused plans?

I'm looking for a bit of training advice. I've been running regularly since 2008, have completed 3 marathons and a whole bunch of other shorter races, but a year and a half ago I had a very heavy fall during a half-marathon and injured my back and pelvis. Since then I've had a lot of issues while running longer distances - at this stage, I physically cannot run more than about 7-8 miles in training or else my back will lock up for several days. I am a lot more comfortable cycling and in particular swimming.

I've entered the 2014 London Triathlon olympic distance - wanted a decent physical challenge as a motivator, also I turn 30 next summer so it seemed like a good time to do something interesting!

I'm looking for some advice on how best to construct a swim/bike-focused training plan for it, possibly with a sprint race or two along the way.

Also, base-building over the winter - I'm finding it difficult to get bike time in, I live in north London and I fear for my life on a lot of the roads around here! I also want to improve my swim technique a good bit as I'm planning to do 2-3 of the Great Swim events and possibly one or two other open water swims.

In terms of my level now in each discipline - I completed the Great London Swim (1 mile) this year in 38 minutes, I can hold 22-25km for about 90 minutes on the bike, and my short training runs are around 6:40/km pace. I don't need a lot of new gear as I got a wetsuit this summer, and also own a road bike.


  • key for me would be time in the saddle and working on lengthening the duration and distance of your rides, a worry would be that your back may react badly to being in the position for a long time.

    If you can afford it a Turbo Trainer get one, they're great during the winter for working on 'time in the saddle' and would help with your issue around fearing for your life! also allow you to structure your time better.

    Swimming wish invest in either a lesson to look at your technique or get involved in a local club that run coached sessions, you'll get a lot out of someone looking at your stroke and seeing where there may be some improvement, again then its just finding time to knock out some consistency.

  • Running is my weakest tri section.

    however my training was cycle & swim focus with just a couple of short runs off the bike each week. My longest run pre Henley half triathlon was 7.5 miles.

    yes I managed to 13 mile run in the race in not to a shabby time compared to my stand alone half times.

    so it can be done. My coach said the reason why running is limited is it's where I could get most injuries. Fitness & endurance comes from swim & lots of cycling. 

  • Copying Cona slightly but a Turbo trainer is a really good start to bike training over winter especially in London.  I would avoid trying to do too much speed work on the turbo and just aim for a solid zone 4 - 5 work out over the winter to build bike fitness and then you can add speed work in the better weather conditions.  If you come from a strong running background I am assuming you have a heart rate monitor, if not they are also pretty useful for structuring a training program.

    No help to add on swimming its my weak point.

    Good luck mate.

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