I’m preparing for the Escape from Alcatraz triathlon scheduled for June 8, 2024, and I’m seeking advice on how to best modify an 80/20 triathlon training plan to fit this unique race.
Background: I’m 42 years old, relatively fit in both endurance and strength, and new to triathlons. I completed my first Olympic distance triathlon in May 2023 with the following times: Swim – 00:35:41.552, Bike – 01:28:19.000, Run – 00:59:28.395, Total – 03:03:28.947.
Race Details: The Escape from Alcatraz triathlon includes a 1.2-mile open water swim, an 18-mile bike ride, and an 8-mile run. The bike course is hilly, and the run includes trails.
Question: Given the unique aspects of this race, especially the longer swim in open water, shorter but hilly bike section, and longer run, how should I adapt an 80/20 training plan? Specifically, I’m looking for advice on:
Adjusting swim training for open water and increased distance [biggest concern]
Preparing for the hilly bike course
Extending the run training for the extra mileage
Any additional tips or modifications that would be beneficial for this specific race
I appreciate any insights or experiences you can share, especially from those who have tackled this race or similar events.
I have heard a lot of good things about the Escape from Alcatraz triathlon!
The race itself is a bit over the distance of an Olympic distance triathlon with the swim being about 500 yds longer. The biggest factor with swim will be the open water being cold. My biggest suggestion would be to get in to the open water as much as possible throughout training, and ideally practice swimming in cold water if possible. Swimming longer than the race distance typically happens in any race, so I wouldn’t worry as much about the extra distance.
The bike course is known to be hilly, so I would recommend going with a power based plan so you keep things in check and don’t risk over biking and leaving it all out there for the run.
This is the time of year that I’m reminding all of my athletes about strength training, especially in the off season. Weight training will be a hug benefit for all aspects of this race !
In the past, I picked a plan and just stuck to it exactly. I’ve got three more questions that you can hopefully help with 🙂 1) Should I start with the Olympic Plan or Half Iron plan and then modify it? 2) What’s the best way to ‘modify’ the plan? Is there a standard process like: Load plan, click here, etc.? 3) I have a Garmin HR Pro Plus (for HR and/or running power), Fenix watch, and indoor trainer with power monitoring. In the past, I just did everything based on HR, but now I’m thinking of using some of the other metrics. Is there a combination you feel is best? I’m assuming: [Run Measurement] Power > Pace > HR | [Bike Measurement] Power > HR | [Swim Measurement] Pace?
Since you already have the Garmin HR Pro Plus, I would recommend using power for the run. HR training is great but there are so many variables that can affect it including weather, terrain, hydration, etc. Additionally, power on the bike would be beneficial both indoor and outdoor.
Personally, I don’t believe you need to do HIM training for this event. The Olympic distance plan should be sufficient for the mileage you are completing at Alcatraz.