Training for an approximate distance race

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    Hey guys and girls,

    So my question is around training for distance based events when the accuracy of the measurements is suspect.

    My next part of the questions relates to training for a race. If the multi discipline race has measurements and we know that training in time is the best method so we just covert the measurement to time? For example if the race is 20km paddle which should take me 2 hours, then a run of 2 km and swim of 4km. The swim is easy as you swim via distance. The paddle depends on the conditions on the day, wind, swell etc.

    Is it constructive to do some over training sessions? Also if the race is one length I was planning on actually doing the race distance 6-8weeks out from the race then an over distance length 4 weeks prior. Not sure of this idea but think the training should be harder than the race.

    Thanks again for you guidance

    Matt Fitzgerald

    Wow, Ben, there’s a lot going on here! I wish we had a specialist in non-traditional multisport race events on staff here to supply you with truly expect answers to your questions. Alas, we do not. That being said, some principles apply to all endurance sports disciplines, and so, speaking as a person who has never kayaked, I point you toward these.

    The body runs on time, not distance. If you want to be well-prepared for an endurance event of sketchy distance, train to be prepared to perform well at the maximal likely durations of the various legs and of the race as a whole.

    Whether it is helpful to train at distances/durations exceeding the race distance/duration depends on the length of the race, but unless it’s a very long race, it probably is. You don’t want to do these over-distance sessions at race-intensity, though. Separate your endurance-building sessions from your higher-intensity sessions as you would in any other endurance specialization.

    I wish we could be more helpful at this point. We’ll get there! And in the meantime I invite others in the 80/20 community to offer Ben additional guidance.


    Thanks again Matt,

    I hope to become that non-traditional multi sport expert for you.

    Yes I have often had discussions with coaches about time vs distance to train. I am a big fan of time and it’s easy to measure and maintain correct intensity discipline. If the race is supposed to be 5 hours the plan I’m working on was only do one session where the whole race distance is covered and a little more.

    And yes it would be done well under race pace just getting miles/kms in.


    The individual sessions I’ll definitely cover more than race distance. But it was more about a combined multi sport session.

    Thanks again makes perfect sense.

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