Off/Base Season Triathlon

Having read Mac’s comments about how the Sufferfest cycling doesn’t necessarily follow the traditional linear periodization training (long base, build, etc.), that makes sense for cycling.

Question/discussion therefore is around utilizing The Sufferfest for year-round triathlon/IM training. The 140.6 plan volume seems to be a heavy load to carry year round.

Does the 140.6 training plan follow the same principle as the cycling plans, e.g. they are good to put on repeat all year? If no, is there going to be a general/prep/offseason tri/IM plan ever built, or what can we do with stock plans?

Secondary question, with the short term focused plans, is there an intention to to add focused plans for the multisport athletes (e.g. run and swim)?



You ask some very good questions!
As far as the full distance tri plans go, I wouldn’t recommend putting them on repeat all year. The volume is probably just too high and I think you’d probably burn out, and if not, you’d probably at least get bored for lack of variety.
The progression of the full distance tri plans follows a fairly traditional periodization scheme in that they begin with technique sessions and lower intensity sessions that progress in volume (although there are still high intensity sessions mixed in), and progress to higher intensity and longer sessions throughout the training plan. But this is all done within the 16 week program, so it does still match the format of the cycling programs because you’re not spending 3 months on base building, etc.

So instead of following the full distance tri plans year round, I think the best option is this- and I’ll just use the start of the year with your target full tri later in the season, like September, for example. In January, you could start with an Olympic distance tri plan with strength integrated, then go to a half distance tri plan with strength integrated, then finish with a full distance tri plan (no strength) and that timing would lead you straight into race day. That method will give you a consistent tri training schedule with high intensity sessions throughout, but progress in volume over the course of 40 weeks, getting you race ready for the full distance when you need to be, and hopefully without getting burnt out.
We do have short term focused plans for swimming and running on the radar, but they may not be ready for a while yet.

Hope that helps and happy training!


Thank you, @Coach.Suzie.S.

I was following this topic because I had roughly the same question in mind. Your explanation strengthens my believe that I’m on the right track with my progression.

Right now I am planning to do Olympic-Novice > Olympic-Intermediate -> Half-Novice. I am just trying to figure out how to fit a knighthood prep and the TOS 2021 in there.

I guess afterwards I am switching to some custom plans to make it easier for myself…

I hope your answer helped @Jodiegilbert as well.


What kind of progression would you recommend for a half distance A race?

Sprint with strength -> Olympic with strength -> half without strength


Olympic with strength -> half with strength -> half without strength


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Timely question for me also.

I’ve arrived in Sufferlandria about 3 months ago and have been using the videos on an ad-hoc basis generally when the weather is bad and I want to train indoors. I’ve noticed an improvement in my strava segments since I started suffering so am convinced that this is the way to go (with more focussed and structured workouts).

My A race for 2020 (IM FLordia) has allowed me to defer to 2021 so my main focus is now an Ironman in July 2021 and I am now looking to follow a plan over the winter since the weather where I live can be quite cold/wet. I’ve completed 6 Ironman dictance races over the last 10 years and did my first full frontal 2 days ago (FTP 252 MAP 319 : type Rouleur)

I am thinking to do intermediate all-purpose road for the next 12 weeks incl Strength and Yoga (interspersed with my own Run/swim off season program).

Then ToS in the Spring followed then by a 16 week Long distance triathlon plan.

Any views on an alternate approach? Thanks in advance.

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Hi there - seems like a great approach to me.

One other thing (and this depends on each persons own time/money/lifestyle to follow a pattern for a few months) is the SUF customised plans which are offered in a couple of guises. There’s a few seriously well qualified coaches behind those.

Hi @bfrostie,

Thanks for the question. I think the answer depends on your experience level. If you have considerable experience with triathlon training, then starting with the Olympic with strength, then going to the Half with strength and finishing with the Half without strength is the best best. In that format, each plan will basically build on the ones before it.
If you’re less experienced, then I would go with the Spring w/strength -->Olympic w/strength -> Half w/o strength in order to gradually build the volume and durability so you don’t end up with an overuse injury as a result of jumping into too much too soon.

Hope that helps and best of luck!