Choosing between Level 0 and Level 1 full ironman plans

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    Marius T

    Hi all,

    In 2019 I used level 1 half ironman plan, from the book, and I really enjoyed de plan (although I put some zone x training into long bike sessions, in the finals weeks) because I felt the need for some race pace training.

    I plan to start in January a full ironman training plan, in preparation for Challenge Roth (in July) and an half in may (Aix en Provence, hilly). My goal is to finish strong and enjoy the full, ideally in the 12.5-13 hours.

    I have 2 questions:

    1. In the 2020 training plans, there is some intensity training (zone x and superior) in the long bike sessions? I feel that is good for my bike readiness and help with boredom (4-6 hours of Z2 is mind blowing, when done alone 😊)

    2. Please help me choose between Level 0 and Level 1 full ironman plans.
    Quick notes about me: 41 years old, 178 cm, 62 kg, done multiple half ironman (in the 6 hour range) and a full iron (in 2018, aprox 14 hours ). In all my races, aerobic capacity was not an issue but I struggled with muscular endurance (weak on the bike and, on the run, form is falling apart).

    I want to add correspondent strength training to the plan, because now I’m doing the off season premium strength plan and is really help me.

    These being set, I have following dilemmas:
    – For Level 0 plan I’m sure I will be able to do all workouts, including the 2 strength sessions.

    But level 0 it is geared toward beginners and I’m afraid that will not be enough volume and intensity in order to be prepared for Roth.

    One solution is to do the level 0 and add, when feels good, some Z2 workouts (for the bike, in the form of independent workouts and for the run in the form of a brick workout, after the intensity bike or after the long bike) and/or add 15-20 min to long bike/run workouts.

    – Level 1 looks good for my goals but I know from experience that I will not be able to do all the workouts as prescribed, especially if l will add strength sessions. I think that my recovery (with the job and life in general) and my ability to execute the plan will not be so good.

    One solution is to do the level 1 plan but eliminate some sessions (for example, one swim workout and one run workout) but I’m afraid that will modify the conception of the plan.

    Please help me with some advice in order to choose one of the two plans.

    Thank you for your kind help,

    David Warden


    Thanks for posting and being one of our athletes.

    1. The electronic plans give the athlete permission to perform the bricks, long rides and long runs in Zone X for some distances, including the Ironman distance. Zone X is actually the ideal intensity for racing some events, particularly for 70.3 and marathon distances, and advanced Ironman athletes. See our Race Pacing document for more information.

    So, as you get closer to an event where you expect to spend some time in Zone X, you need to train in Zone X. Since our plans don’t know what level of risk you will choose, we don’t prescribe Zone X specifically, but we do give permission to go to Zone X in the description of key workouts.

    2. The Level 0 plan is not just for Beginners. I wish we could find a better way to name these. There are many, many elite athletes who choose our Level 0 and Level 1 plans based on their available time to train. Sure, they would perform better with a Level 2 or 3, but they can only commit to a certain amount of time. If you are one of them, don’t be afraid of the Level 0 plan. It will get you through Roth.

    Following the Level 0 plan with 95 adherence and adding strength will absolutely result in better performance than the Level 1 plan without strength and adjusting week-by-week. Why even buy the plan if you are going to adjust it constantly anyway, yes?

    So, pick the plan that you will adhere to. And remember, you can always switch Levels for free. If you are 3 months into the Level 0 plan and totally on schedule, request the Level 1 plan see if you can adhere to it.


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Marius T