Extreme triathlon plan


It would be nice to have a “extreme triathlon plan” option within athletica.

For example Livigno , swim 3.8km in cold water, bike 195km with 5500m of elevation gain and 42.2km with 3000m elevation gain.

Then it would be nice to include:

  • Open water swim in cold water
  • Long endurance swim sessions of 4km+
  • Long endurance bike sessions of 6hrs
  • Long endurance run session of 35km
  • Include more strength or elevation meters in your bike training
  • Include trail running to train with more elevation meters
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Hey, that sounds like a lot of fun to prepare!
I would use the long distance plan as the distance is still the same, and just modify couple of things.

For example, I train for long distance races and I do double swim sessions so the distance matches the demands. If you have access to cold water even better

Ride longer endurance sessions, by adding time to your regular sets, and by all means add some sets at low :gear: so you get the stimulus of climbing - or even better ride the hills if you have that available.

Run double runs in trails. One in the morning and one the evening. I would not necessarily do looong 35k runs as they substantially increase the risk of injury/illness.

If you do this, you training load will be higher than the planned so you need to make sure to be on top of your recovery. Because “the most important session is the next session” as The Prof likes to say. It won’t help to do some heroic workouts and then be sick because you just over did it…. Add a little bit load on what you can already do (duration or even just doing a strength endurance work on hills with heart rate still at zone 2) , and keep repeating it.

When you are doing a lot of work in hilly terrain, remember to control your heart rate and stay within zone 2 - which may be a challenge at first.

Good luck, your challenge sounds epic!


Nice place, on Swiss / Italian border.

I do long distance brevets rather than triathlon thus only have views on the cycling aspect. I follow the cycling all rounder medium volume which looking forward maxes out my long endurance rides at 5 hours. I averaged 12 hours 13 mins per week across 2023 so far.

VO2 max - The workout wizard has long HIIT 5 min intervals under diversity. I do these outside on a local hill average gradient 6.2%.

Tempo L3a - Find a 3-4% hill to practise the longer 20-30 min intervals

Strength Endurance L3B - I call these my low cadence big gear efforts. I get scheduled 10 min efforts. Again I do these on a 3-4% hil.

Threshold L4 - Find a hill around 5% to do these on.

As for duration I’d caution about going much above 5-6 hours in duration during training. I find that if I do much longer I need days off for recovery. During winter I’ll do a 5-6 hour ride once a month maybe twice and as much as anything it’s about practising pacing, nutrition and hydration. The longer the duration the more these latter factors rather than fitness per say bites you in the bum later on.

You can create your own sessions and save them to your library to substitute in for AI scheduled sessions when you know you plan to do a long practise ride that isn’t an event. Yes I know 8 hours, but it’s a group social ride of a brevet permanent for local riders.



Thanks for your response.

I have a couple of questions based on your great feedback. Much appreciated!

  • Double swim sessions mean doubling it every time? For example, I have a 30-minute workout, make it 1 hour.
  • Lower gear for bike training is a great suggestion.
  • What do you mean with the double runs in trails? How would this affect my running trainings? For example I have a continous 35’ run scheduled for this day. Do the same training in the morning and evening?

Let me know , your feedback is more then welcome.


Thanks Phil! Awesome suggestions. Will take them into account.

Swim: in my plan, there are typically 4 swim sessions per week. I only want to swim twice a week (I have concluded that my swim is already really good - to move on to the next level, I would need to spend much more time in the pool - for minor improvement of overall Ironman time, so I’ve decided rather to put the effort into my weakest discipline - running). Because the swims are around 2000m each, I drag one swim to the day I already have a swim (for example aerobic and strength endurance together, and speed and threshold together). While swimming, I record and stop my watch after I’ve completed the first swim session and then start my watch again for the second. Makes sense?

Run: Instead of running very long runs, like 32-35K. I would incorporate double runs: One long run in the morning, say 20K and then another shorter one 8-10 K in the evening. I would probably not run both on trails though, I’d imagine it would take a lot longer, and the total load would be quite high. In your example, if you want to start extending your long run days, if you have 1:10 hr run scheduled for Sunday, then do that in the morning and add another 30 mins in the evening. Over time, you can start increasing the duration. Let me know if you have further questions…



Thanks so much!

For me its a bit the same. I want to improve my bike & run rather then spending so many more hours in the pool…

Do you also tell the ai to spend more hours on the bike and run?

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You could tell it in the settings. I’m currently using 20-40-30-10% swim-bike-run-strength.


Nice info Phil.
I was asking some questions to Paul and he gave me the tip to look you up here. I also am riding brevets as I just love to cycle long distance. Have a 200 km coming Saturday and if I feel like it there are 200-300-400 and 600 km brevets in the coming months. My A race will be a full distance Aquabike (that’s a full distance triathlon without the run) on September 14th and I will have some TT races and shorter triathlons on the way to it.
My question is how does Athletica handle it when for example coming Saturday it gives me a 1:54 hour L2 training and gets a 8 hours L2 training back instead. Are there a lot of changes in the schedule the week(s) after? As brevets rarely are above L2 do you get more shorter intense workouts to up the power/speed?

Not for weeks after. The load the week after gets reduced but across the board rather than just aerobic development sessions. Thus VO2 max might be two sets, strength endurance couple of intervals, the aerobic development might be just an hour. I suspect what happens the week after that depends on your feedback. If you are honest about your RPE and levels of fatigue it adjusts fairly well once it gets to know you. But I’m quite happy not doing sessions based on how I’m feeling as well, or using the workout wizard, or now editing sessions. Know thy self etc.

I tend to put my brevets in as events as I think it gives a nice reduced load the week before and after. Choose B or C depending on how much reduction you want. A C event doesn’t see as pronounced taper or recovery.

As for intensity you’ll get a mix of VO2, Upper and lower tempo with the former being the intensity for strength endurance sessions. I see threshold appear less often, and that is usually a Friday for me, after endurance on Thu.

Here’s my VO2 max session today, 6 intervals of long HIT @ 4 mins. Peak heart rate around 93% of the max I’ve seen this year. The AI has 5 mins per interval, but the nearby hill I use runs out before then. It’s good enough and I’m hitting the planned loads anyway.

Intensity in any meaningful structure, was the thing missing from my training before I found Athletica.

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Oh and my wife does aqua bike after an ankle injury just as the pandemic unfolded meant she couldn’t do the run part. It’s not riding a bike on a lake as my mother seemed to think :joy:

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Thanks a lot for your answer. Gives me a good idea of what to expect after a ‘workout’ that is out of tune with a normal trainings schedule. I will start to put it in as a C event, I can always use the RPE and comments if it was harder than expected.

Started using Athletica 2 weeks ago so there is loads to learn, nice to have people around who I can ask for advice.


You never know :upside_down_face:


For the race I have ahead of me I’m thinking about incorporating longer trainings;

As what I read on this forum, from the experience that you guys have I have the following plan:

  • every 4 weeks a 6-8 hour bike ride with ideally 3000+ meter of elevation gain. Also to test nutrition.
  • every 6 weeks a 30km run (in one time I prefer to not work in split sessions) + ideally a trail run
  • every week a OWS ideally in colder water (12-14 degrees)
  • every 8 weeks a long 4km endurance swim in open water

I’m a 29 years old athlete and having a training volume of approx 12-16 hours per week.

I’m not super scientifically based with my own training idea. I based this on my experience and feeling from training for the last 6 years and doing previous long distance triathlons. I just want to experiment with trainings that are similar to my race.

Curious if anyone has any advice or think this is too much / too little / unnecessary. Tell me whatever you think that might help.

Much appreciated.


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@Phil do you have any thoughts about this?

I think your event is 1st September if I’ve located the right one?

  1. For me personally these long rides are not about fitness. They are about event preparation and understanding your current mental and physical preparedness for your events.
  2. How long you ride has also got to be balanced against what you are used to. I’m used to a 3-4 hour rides most weeks, and a 5-6 hour ride most months. In October I did 3 back to back rides of 12-14 hours over 3 days. Between Christmas and New Year I fitted an 8 hour (elapsed likely about 7 hours riding) social ride in. What are you currently used to without your body complaining or getting injured?
  3. Your event is not till September
  4. In view of 1,2, and 3 I would not jump straight into 8 hour rides each month just yet. I tend to ramp up my distances and durations about 4 months out from my main event.
  5. I would suggest not going above 5-6 hours once a month at the moment and concentrate on that base fitness. Base fitness stops you getting injured when you ramp up the load by for instance getting an 8 hour ride in.
  6. Look to ramp towards 8 hours by May. That’ll still give you at least 4 attempts at doing some event practise and equipment setup as well as getting you mentally in the right place. If you want to do more, then keep them at least two weeks apart to stay injury free.

Your weekly hours look similar to mine, my 2023 average was 12.5 hours but that’s just cycling. I don’t have to fit running and swimming in. Thus it would help if I knew what kind of cycling volume and durations you are managing comfortably at the moment.

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