Training Load for Swim vs Bike vs Run


One of the complications of triathlon training is that you have three sports to balance your training between. I’m trying to figure out how to break down my training time for swim vs. bike vs. run. I’ve been tending to do too much running (proportionally) because I love it, and it’s easier to do. I need a more balanced approach to my training for Ironman NZ. To do well in an Ironman you have to be strong on the bike!

Theory of the day: I can breakdown my race times per discipline to work out my training per discipline.

The longest reference race I have is a Half Ironman. My 5:08 Gold Coast Half Ironman time was made up of a 35 min swim, a 2:45 bike and a 1:40 run (and the rest in transition). Proportionally that was swim 12%, bike 55% and run 33%.

In an Ironman race, people don’t just double their Half Ironman times – the accepted guess is double it and add an hour. Most of that extra hour is spent on the run (probably due to poor bike pacing, nutrition issues and overall fatigue rather than a lack of run fitness). So 33% for running is probably OK. Therefore, if I build my overall CTL (fitness) to say 100 (I wish), using my Theory of the day, it should roughly consist of a swim CTL of 12, a bike CTL of 55 and a run CTL of 33.

Comparing these target CTL percentages with my current CTL values, and my CTL values at the Gold Coast Half Ironman last year, I get:

training load by discipline.png

Clearly I don’t do enough bike training! I know this already. I made an extra effort to improve my riding during the Prep period but I obviously need to take if much, MUCH further! Now I have something to aim at: 55% biking. Generally my run fitness tends to be about the same as my bike fitness.

The takeaway point here? I need my bike fitness to be almost double my run fitness. Work to do, son!

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