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plan or no plan

PreachSwansonPreachSwanson Member, Rooster Endurance Member, Rooster Endurance Officers
So I am interested in hearing about how you all prepare for racing... Do you follow a plan such as the ones on Training Peaks and the like or do you just kinda make it up as you go?

I have done both personally with mixed results from both. Without a plan I have always finished the races and at times inspite of my training and at other times with amazing results. With a plan I have gone my fastest but I have also struggled to stay with the plan due to bordom or a desire to mix more in there than the plan allows.

So what are your thoughts, good or bad... I have not picked my way to train this season yet but I have to soon... races are on the horizon.
TRS Racing
I'm an angel with an incredible capacity for beer

Comments

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    weird that this discussion didn't show up in my unread section.

    I've used the Don Fink plans in the past to great success. I've also made up my own plans. the problem for me comes when I don't put intelligent thought to it and wing it day by day or week by week. that's when I have found I hurt myself.

    When I have more available cash I'll probably go with a coach.
    Nathan Kiser
    Just FYI, you... are also less than mediocre. -TheActualPaulo
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    AaronWebsteyAaronWebstey Administrator, Rooster Endurance Member, Rooster Endurance Officers

    weird that this discussion didn't show up in my unread section.

    I'm looking into this.
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    I have a coach and follow the plan. He knows when I need a break, gives me one and I have been injury free for 3 years. I stick to the plan he gives. The main thing he stresses is consistency in training.
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    Zach MillerZach Miller Member, Rooster Endurance Member, POTM
    I have a coach, and in my mind with so many hours of training that is just one less thing i have to plan to do
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    I always use a plan. sometime w/ a coach, sometimes in spite of the coach. I also give myself the option of adding/subtracting volume compared to the plan depending on life. And no "make-up" days, if I miss it, I miss it. Look forward.
    danimal
    Reformed Canadian
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    I have a coach that I've worked with for the past season and a half. I did this because, well, I needed the additional accountability to not treat every workout like a race.

    There's also something to be said for being able to trust that the work you've done together for planning and execution when it comes to race-day. Nothing can make up for you racing like a dumbass (something which I know all too well), but when you're in one of those negative spots during an event, being able to say "trust the work. You have the legs. You just need nutrition right now, that's why you're thinking so negatively."

    I really enjoy the process, so to speak, just as much as the actual racing. So being able to put in the work on a daily basis is fun.

    I could theoretically provide one-on-one coaching, as well as a 16-to-20 week plan, depending on interest.
    Resident Gear Guru
    Bike Crash Free Since August 4th, 2014
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    AaronWebsteyAaronWebstey Administrator, Rooster Endurance Member, Rooster Endurance Officers
    It's been a while since I trained or raced, and I had to throw away everything I knew about training because my life is so different from the last time I did any tri (i.e., I have kids and a normal job). For me it's been part experiment and part layered plan:

    1. Pick training volumes I feel like I need to be able to do (e.g. 4hrs bike, 3hrs run, 2hrs swim, 1hr strength/flexibility)
    2. See if I can schedule times to do all activities
    3. Attempt to complete full schedule for a couple months at 0 intensity, maximum completion rate, to see if I can do it time-wise (and to see if I am able to enjoy training again)
    4. Add phases/blocks to a rough plan
    5. Fit workout types into the weekly schedule (block 1: hill runs monday, long interval swims tuesdays, etc)
    6. Figure out workout specifics the day of (or day before) based on what partner(s) (if any) can make it out that day. Often planning the workout during the warmup or on the drive to work, etc.

    Over the fall I was able to manage just about everything except for the strength work and some of the biking (I'm going to have to get better with that in the winter/spring or I'm gonna die out there). One goal was to not feel like I was just training for a specific event or season, but rather create a schedule that can just blend into normal life for myself and the family. Like 'daddy rides his bike saturday mornings', tues/thurs are swim days, etc. Another was to not spend too much time planning specific workouts.

    For me, this seems to be the ideal mix of structure and free play: I don't have to think much about *when* I'm going to do each thing, and I can customize a workout on the spot if I want, based on how I feel that day. Because my main goal was to make sure that I'm having fun with it - there are so many sports out there that it would be absolute idiocy to do 'exercise as a sport' if I wasn't enjoying myself.

    PS - I agree with @danimal about 'make up days'. If I stay up too late and/or drink too much beer on Friday night to fit in my Saturday workout without disrupting the family's day, then my punishment for myself is that I miss that workout this week. Too bad, so sad.

    PPS - I like Sutto's approach re: doing strength work 'in-sport', but I want to do some extra stuff so TW and I can work out together a couple times a week ( #yogapants )
    PreachSwansondanimal
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    AaronWebsteyAaronWebstey Administrator, Rooster Endurance Member, Rooster Endurance Officers
    In the vein of @rrheisler 's comment, I'd be interested in knowing if anyone knows where to find the most recent science on design and arrangement of macro blocks for distance tri. If there is any :) I'll be doing some research at some point soon, but if anyone's already done the work and feels like sharing, I would be grateful. Currently all my knowledge is experience-based, from planning sessions with past coaches, and it's getting close to 10-year-old experience at that.
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    Paulo usually puts some really good links out to the most recent studies in re: performance.

    That said, the basic movement is towards a whole lot of base and HIITs, with very little "tempo" work except during the 8-week specific period pre-race. Avoid the gray zone!
    AaronWebstey
    Resident Gear Guru
    Bike Crash Free Since August 4th, 2014
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    AaronWebsteyAaronWebstey Administrator, Rooster Endurance Member, Rooster Endurance Officers
    Thanks @rrheisler . @PreachSwanson looking forward to hearing which was you decide to go.
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    PreachSwansonPreachSwanson Member, Rooster Endurance Member, Rooster Endurance Officers
    Currently I have been doing 1 or 2 days of swimming at 2000m then running 2-4 days a week and biking 3-5. The running in cold days is 5miles to 8 miles a time with some power pole intervals thrown in there. The biking is mostly to Sufferfest videos. Most of my runs are at the high end of MAF when not doing an interval set. I also do 100 push-ups 200 sit-ups and 25 pull-ups as a set 3 days a week if I can help it, those are fairly easy to sneak in at any time.

    It's not really a plan since I just do what I feel I can fit in each day with work and family.

    I know this volume is okay up to half ironman but to go farther or faster I am sure a better structure would be beneficial.
    AaronWebstey
    TRS Racing
    I'm an angel with an incredible capacity for beer
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    I have a structured week in terms of what I do, but I have no end goal right now. I follow @AaronWebstey "too bad, so sad" approach, too. I have plenty of other life commitments (as others do) that my training has to fit into my life, not my life into my training. Also, I have a wife, and I want to remained married.

    I decided to make a strong commitment to swim this off-season so I swim at least 4 days a week, usually around 1700+ yards (depending on my day). One of my big problems is an inability to get up early to go to the gym. If I could get up , my volumes might be higher. Then again, right now, I'm not worried about volume, rather time in the pool. I was never a competitive swimmer so being in the pool this much has been really really good for me.

    Once I have a goal (signing up for races is key for my training), then things will come together more. Generally, I just train but a race will really target me. Strength training is something I enjoy so I'm doing it now but it'll get dropped as I ramp up volume. Then, I might start looking for a real plan or coach. I'll prolly start with a plan, something like Crowie's to structure me more. Re-evaluate next year.
    PreachSwanson_MurManAaronWebsteyTheo
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    Bike is TrainerRoad's 40k TT plan. Current FTP is an abysmal 170w, going to try to get it up to 230-250 in 12 weeks. This is gonna hurt.

    Run is super, super tender right now (frature is still kinda, sorta, not-really healed), so I'm at 10m/mi pace for 20 min + 5/wk, 2x/wk.

    Swim is with a coach, but he's really just doing form analysis for me. Gives me plans to execute every two weeks after a session, I swim 3-4x/wk.

    I think there's a simplicity to going "light on planning" and just training by feel that all the complex "this today, then rest exactly so many hours and do this other workout, then double brick it with..." stuff just can't match for keeping your stress level low, but still accomplishing what you need to.
    AaronWebstey
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    I write my own plan because I am poor, knowledge is power and I also enjoy it. As a personal trainer I write a lot of workouts in a day/week/month for people, understand periodization and specificity for workouts. I also love reading coaching philosphies of many coaches, Sutton, Friel, Dixon, Cliff English, Kroplenicki, to name a few, they all bring something different and new to the table. I like to combine philosphies and see what works and what doesnt work. Everyones body responds differently to training whether it is high volume, low intensity. high intensity low volume, and so on. I write my workouts in an excel sheet, briefly stating how long it will be, what the key focus of that workout will be and the type of workout it will be.
    I have been coached before, I thought it was ok but though I could do better. maybe it was the coach? maybe it was me? I also bought a plan off TP one year, didnt like it at all and wound up using it as a guideline.
    Best piece of advice is to use Joe Friels book, the training bible, paired with your best triathlon. (there is a lot of layover) its a great place to start if you havent done so already.
    The beauty of making your own plan is that you can change things and not feel that guilty. I am always moving workouts around to fit my schedule and needs week to week. I create a 4 block week of all my workouts(ideal places and times) then as each week approaches things come up and I move some things around.
    Let me know if you have any questions...Sorry for the LONG post.
    AaronWebstey
    village idiot
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    PreachSwansonPreachSwanson Member, Rooster Endurance Member, Rooster Endurance Officers
    Don't be sorry for the long post it's right in line with where I'm thinking right now. I love the idea accountability for many people that is what a coach is. For me unfortunately for Starky, that is why I post my goals in social media (I don't post workouts unless they are truly epic ie a 150 mile bike last year).

    I have thought about a coach but the only triathlon specific ones I've met around me lead a team that seems a little too much like a bunch of DB's than I care to spend time with. I also tried a TP plan but only felt guilt for going off plan (even though I was on it for 80% of the time). Just some additional back story.
    AaronWebstey
    TRS Racing
    I'm an angel with an incredible capacity for beer
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    WadeCutterWadeCutter Member
    edited January 2015
    I'll second @espej09 . About 15 years ago I bought Friel's Training Bible. Even if you opt for a coach, having the insights gleaned out of the training bible will certainly help you in evaluating your coach . I've also read training books by Dave Scott and Mark Allen and a few others that didn't measure up to Friel's work.
    AaronWebstey
    WTC Free since 2010


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    I was going to ask if this was a plan for training or a plan for the actual racing :)

    I had a coach in the past which was great and very useful, however being the cheap f*ck with a limited budget that I am, I'm now mostly self coached, which works OK, but I'm definitely not progressing as much as I did before. Instead of completely winging it, I have a rough weekly workout schedule I stick to (which helps the family know what to expect/plan for) which I fill out with various sessions I've found helpful in the past. Given that this is an "off" year for me, with the arrival of a 2nd kid, I just couldn't see making the sacrifices to following (and making the most of) a specific plan giving I'll be racing so much less.
    AaronWebstey
    seems like kind of an asshole =)
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    HSeeley14HSeeley14 Member, Rooster Endurance Member, POTM
    When I have a serious year in the books I go with a coach because it takes the stress off for me and I just do what I am told. I can be self-motivated and do work on my own (like this year), but am just more consistent when I have someone else taking care of the plan. When I am on my own I come up with a plan of 1-2 months at a time then re-assess at the end of that block of time.
    TheoAaronWebstey
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    James LangeJames Lange Member, Rooster Endurance Member
    I've never had a coach, and never anything more than a general plan (more like a series of goals). I don't have anything against coaches, but there aren't any in my area and its expensive. I'm also very self-motivated. The no-plan thing is something that I didn't even realize was an issue till this fall when I started paying attention to the training resources out there. Right now I am training for my first marathon and I am doing a modified BarryP program over 20 weeks. I'm 3 weeks in and I actually find it very freeing to have the runs planned out. Before I was making decisions every day about what to do and it was time consuming, exhausting, and probably pretty ineffective. The biggest change for me is not going for some sort of PR every run.
    AaronWebsteyHSeeley14


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    I suffered through an hour on the treadmill tonight and came to the conclusion that I've let the off-season stretch too far. I was talking to a coach but just want to enjoy the upcoming season for what it is so am likely to pass. I always feel this pressure with coaches to stay on track 100%.
    olson_a
    Great Uncle, Average Father, Mediocre Triathlete
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    Never think about a coach, I just follow a program, like many have already stated. I think if I were an aspiring amateur or thought I could go pro, for sure I would get a coach. But life tends to get in the way at times messing up my workout schedule, I feel like I would be wasting a coach's time.
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    No coach, but have followed/modified structured plans. Never have trouble committing once I drop the $$$, but have also learned to skip days if needed or not freak out if life gets in the way of a workout. "Get Iron Fit" by Fink was the first plan I followed strictly. Worked well for my scheduling and I still use it for structure but have added and changed alot of different elements from various sources.
    AaronWebsteyPreachSwanson
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    PreachSwansonPreachSwanson Member, Rooster Endurance Member, Rooster Endurance Officers
    I liked that book as well
    Scheck48
    TRS Racing
    I'm an angel with an incredible capacity for beer
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    _MurMan_MurMan Member, Rooster Endurance Member
    So I've waited to comment on this until I felt I had sufficient time to try out the coaching and having a legit plan aspect. And I must say, for the last 3 weeks its been pretty good. I have had some accountability in training so I feel compelled to do the work. Also after the first two weeks I actually felt excitement to get out and run and bike in the cold! Yes @Theo we know its not cold in California but for the rest of us the cold is often times a deterrent..
    So plus side of a coach and legitimate plan: you don't have to think, just do. And growing up playing team sports the accountability is helpful.
    Cons: Not being able to take a day off whenever I feel like it. (which I guess swings both ways) no other real cons as far as I can tell to having a plan and coach.

    Also I should note I am doing my first Iron Distance and felt compelled to get a coach so I could have a decent showing and note just be some fuckboy out there doing it to do it.
    PreachSwansonScheck48Ryan Heislerespej09HSeeley14
    Sean Murnane - East Coast Hooligan
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    haha, @_MurMan trust me, the cold is a deterrent here too, nice weather has made us all soft and even threat of rain/cloudy skies is a very strong deterrent here!

    Agree with you on the plus side of coaching in that it removes the thinking out of it. Definitely a plus! I'm in the same boat as you in that the day I do sign up for a full distance race I'll be getting a coach again to make sure I don't destroy my body in the process.
    seems like kind of an asshole =)
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    yournotuniqueyournotunique Member, Rooster Endurance Member
    Plan, and a coach. Because, as some others have mentioned, it makes life so much easier to not have to worry about planning workouts, periodization, etc. Also, having someone to hold you accountable makes a world of difference, too.

    When I started I just did workouts that people were mentioning on ST. But I saw real gains when I finally had a structured plan to (mostly) adhere to.
    -I know it's wrong. Blame old AOL character limits. Illadelph |

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