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John McBrien 04-03-2007 01:32 PM

I have just begun training for a triathlon and the program I am following recommends a 2x/week Swim, Bike, Run format.

With that type of format I am left with only 2 rest days and essentially no time to train on anything other than those 3 activities. Would someone please recommend to me how to utilize the WODs and still train to finish a Sprint Triathlon?

I don't want to have my strength, speed, etc. suffer if I do only the triathlon work.

John Wopat 04-03-2007 03:13 PM

John, It's always tough to squeeze everything in. Here's some thoughts. CF gives your the basic horsepower to get through a sprint in fine form; metcon WODs, many of which have a run component which should enable you to skip one run session a week in your tri training. CF offers no bike WODs so you may want to skip one metcon WOD in favor of a bike workout to get comfortable with bike handling and distances. CF offers no formal swim WODs although people post swim WODs on the message board. Here again, consider subbing a swim WOD for a metcon WOD, but also add a straight swim workout so you have 2 swims a week. A sprint swim is short, so do 10x50 @1:00 or some 200's w/ :15 sec. rest. Mix it up. Be sure your technique is good; if you're going to compete, get to a Total Immersion weekend and really learn proper form. Once I did, I was getting out of the water 1st or 2nd in my age group which set me up for the rest of the race. Whatever you do, feel free to experiment, get proper rest and, above all, have fun. John Wopat IM '91, '94.

Rob McBee 04-03-2007 04:56 PM

I've been training for my first sprint triathlon. I've been doing 2 swim workouts a week at 5:30am and the WOD at night and thats basically it. I hadn't been on a bike in about 25yrs. and did 2 training rides prior to a 'practice' sprint tri at my gym. I just wanted to see if I could finish too and still came in 4th out of 18.

While not being at all endurance/tri specific, I think the WOD also prepares you mentally for the 'hurt' so you can keep going, making the WOD a nice tool for the sprint distance.

Focus on the swim, its too technique intensive not to. 2x a week for 2-3 months should be plenty. Practice the whole event a few times, its great mental prep and confidence booster. Maybe skip some of the straight ME/strength WODs and practice going from the bike immediately into running, even if its in a stationary bike/treadmill scenario. And basically ditto to what John W. said above.

John McBrien 04-04-2007 12:25 AM

I appreciate both of your comments. They were very helpful. However, I'm unfamiliar with the metcon WODs and how they differentiate from other WODs (like a strength WOD, etc).

Beyond that question, I think I'm going to try and continue 2 swims, 1 bike workout, 1 run workout, and 2 WODs (one of the swims may be a swim WOD as well). We'll see how it goes! Thanks for your help.

Chris Williams 04-04-2007 04:39 AM

I've done Sprints & Olympic distances, and tried to keep going on X-fit (though I did tilt the balance for the more specific training for the longer events).

I think X-fit will give you the "horsepower" for a sprint, as John said. And depending on your previous skillsets, you can just add some specific training on that.

To be honest most people with a good "engine" can peddle pretty well, so maybe do less training on the bike. I trained mainly the swim, as I wasn't good at it, it is technique intensive, and I found it loosened up the muscles well even if I'd trained hard earlier in the day.

Good luck

Jason Billows 04-04-2007 11:36 AM


I think that, as others have said, CF alone will help prepare you for a sprint which is raced at a much faster pace than longer tris.

I would not limit your bike sessions. You spend more time on the bike in a tri than swimming or running so you want to really work on that aspect of your training in my opinion. Form is extremely important in all of the disciplines, but I think that gaining time on your bike is very dependant on form. You need to train in your aero position and get a smooth pedal stroke.

I had adapted my CF and tri training as follows:

Monday - Maximum effort lifts, usually front squat, deadlift and shoulder press.

Tuesday - rest

Wednesday - CF metcon workout in the morning, short to medium distance endurance session in the evening

Thursday - CF metcon workout in the morning, short to medium distance endurance session in the evening

Friday - short to medium endurance session

Saturday - long endurance session, usually a brick where I do bike followed by run

Sunday - medium to long endurance session

I mix up my endurance sessions from week to week so that I get two sessions of two disciplines and one session of the third discipline each week. I rotate which discipline gets trained once a week.

If I feel that I need to work on one of my endurance disciplines more I'll either sub an endurance session for a metcon workout or I'll double up on Friday.

Of course you need to ensure you're not overreaching or overtraining and with two workouts a day (CF or endurance) it can be a lot for your body. Make sure you get lots of sleep and eat well.

I really found the Paleo Diet for Athletes to be valuable. The authors talk about fuelling for pre, during and post exercise. You should check it out.

I'm only a couple of weeks into this program so I can't attest to the long term success, but I feel it is going very good so far. A friend who has run numerous Ironmans used a similar training schedule and saw huge improvements in his overall GPP and his race times.

Good Luck.


p.s. If I were running numerous races in the race season I may want to consider adjusting the max effort and metcon days.

John McBrien 04-04-2007 01:20 PM


As far as incorporating the WODs - I have read a little bit on how a metcon WOD differs from a strength WOD but I am still confused.

Essentially your Monday workout looks like a strength WOD (5x5 or 1-1-1-1-1 etc.) since you're doing maximum lifts - so am I correct to guess that is what typical strength WODs are? The ones that do not require sprinting, rowing, running, etc. or aren't clocked? I've noticed that there have been posts about guys suffering strength loss from CF WODs but when I look at WODs lately they have plenty of WODs that appear to be what I consider strength-focused.

Perhaps you or others can clarify this for me? Thanks again.

Jason Billows 04-04-2007 01:28 PM


On my strength days I'm usually doing 5x5 as you noted.

On my metcon days I'm doing things like 5 rounds for time of 25 sit-ups, pull-ups, push-ups, burpees, squats. Things like that. Essentially workouts that don't focus on max lifting capacity but working higher reps for time where you work yourself both aerobically and anerobically (although at lower weights/resistance).

I'm not an authority on what will or won't cause strength loss. That being said from what I have read and understand the key is having sufficient recovery, meaning lots of quality sleep and an excellent diet.

John McBrien 04-04-2007 01:37 PM

Two final questions - do you typically utilize CF to make your own workouts to use on metcon days or do you simply refer to the WODs posted or archived?

And one more - do you rotate your lifts with the Olympic lifts or any of the other weighted exercises that CF incorporates (pull-ups, dips)?

Jason Billows 04-05-2007 06:08 AM

1. I use a combination of WODs and my own metcon style workouts

2. usually Oly lifts and power lifts.

As I say, I'm only a couple of weeks into this schedule so I can't say how successful it will be. That being said I'm optimistic given the results my buddy saw on a similar program.

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