Editor’s note: Ian Murray is using Zwift to train for the International Triathlon Union Long Course World Championships held in Odense/Fyn, Denmark July 2018. His weekly Zwift Insider series discusses the previous week’s training and the plan for the upcoming week.


I’ve often been told and told others that it is impossible to cram for a marathon or long course triathlon.  That is true, but you can front load some of the volume.  That is the focus of this week.  Volume.  Yes, lots of miles.  Well, running and biking.  The stinking weather is playing havoc with my swim workouts, but that’s another story.

Oh, and a new toy also got thrown into the mix this week.

Capping off the New Year

For the last week of the year, I decided to throw down some volume.  I had Monday off and a light work week, so there was plenty of time to get in workouts.  I started off the week with some Christmas cheer.  I wanted to hit the distance for the bike portion of ITU Worlds and see how I felt afterward.  I did make a mistake in my course selection, though.  I chose the big loop.  Thus, I started off by going up the mountain.  Dumb call.  At least I didn’t have to go up the radio tower.  Anyway, on the second lap, I rerouted and ended up doing a number of laps on the jungle circuit, which is by no means flat.  Thus, it took me a wee bit longer than anticipated to do the ride.  Being that the ITU course will be fairly flat, I probably didn’t need the 4600 feet of climbing, but what the heck.  After that, I strolled my way through a rough 30-minute run.  (Note to self, eat something before I start a workout like this next time.)

The rest of the week went pretty well.  I had some pretty good swimming when the weather let me swim, including a 2 x 1500m workout on Friday at a pace that is very sustainable for the full 3K.  Holding what I did during that workout, I will be out of the water in 53 or faster.  Considering it will be wetsuit legal, I’m hoping for faster.  Other than that, there were no standout workouts until New Year’s Eve, which is when I planned on tackling the distance again.

Fortunately, I had some company this time as two other Endurance Lab coaches, Jason and Theia, were on testing out a long workout for the Lab.  I focused on steady state for the first two hours and then joined them for the last portion of my workout.  Not going over the mountain (we rolled on the Volcano Flat course) left me with a paltry 1700 feet of climbing over 76 miles, but I got it done in 3:33, a full 42 minutes faster.  Then, I got on the treadmill and knocked out an easy 8 miles (13K) in just over an hour.  The fun part of that run was that I actually ran it smart.  Rather than trying to get out of the gate like my hair was on fire, I took it nice and easy, running mid-to-high 8 minute miles.  By the seventh mile, I was down to almost a 6:30/mile pace.  I felt pretty good and considered continuing on for at least two more miles but decided to stick with the plan.  The long, hard week was finally over, but I felt good finishing it strong.  The only thing left on the agenda was steak dinner with a couple of ice cold beers.  Oh yeah!

Planned TSS – 1019, Completed – 1042

Starting with recovery – Planned TSS 576

Here’s the deal with a hard week that would be considered a big TSS jump: you need lots of rest during the week to ensure proper recovery and mitigate the risk of getting sick.  From Monday through Wednesday, I had that down.  I got at least seven or eight hours of good solid sleep.  I felt good.  Then, the madness started.  You see, noise laws in Santo Domingo are suspended during the holiday period.  Yes, you read that correctly.  So, my neighbors in the apartment buildings near my house took it upon themselves to take advantage of that ordinance suspension.  From Thursday night on the parties started at 10 PM and ran until 4 AM.  Awesome!  Who needs sleep?  Nobody is working, right?  Needless to say, I was super stoked.

On Monday morning, I woke up tired after only about three hours of sleep, only slightly less than the previous nights.  Needless to say, my body was not recovered from the previous day’s workout.  That’s ok, I had a light day planned.  Nothing complicated.  Two strength workouts.  Well, that didn’t happen.  I did go through a box of tissues, though.  The trend has continued through today, but I expect to get a little more sleep tonight.  I hope that last night was the last party until the weekend, but my friend NyQuil will help me deal with that situation if it arises.

Oh well, these things happen.  This week is a planned recovery week, so I’m ok with not hitting all of my targets.  Besides, I am sitting pretty with a high fitness level compared to what the ATP has me at, so no worries there.  After this week, we get into a month-long run block.  So, you’ll see me out running the Zwift trails quite a bit through the beginning of February, limiting myself to two or three rides per week.  After that, I’ll do a swim-focused block where I will attempt to reacquire my gills.  By April, it will be time to start putting it all together.

If you’re tracking the numbers from week to week, you’ll see that my original planned week often changes.  That happens due to life and work getting in the way.  I try to keep it close, but I am well aware of the fact that I am not a professional athlete.  I have to balance my other two worlds, as well, and ensure that everything gets the attention it needs.  It doesn’t always work out smoothly, but I do what I can.  Anyway, I’ll be in the Zwift module a few times in the upcoming weeks.  Look for the SkillZ and DrillZ Ride on Wednesdays at 6:30 PM EDT and my Thursday morning group workout at 5:15 AM EDT.

As always, feel free to comment below, especially if you have insider knowledge of Fyn, Denmark.  That’s it from me for this week.  Time to get back to bed and catch up on sleep.  Until next time, Ride On!