Being financially challenged I don't have a coach so I wondered if anyone could help me with the following: I'm in base training for a 1/2 ironman in October but I have an Olympic tri in 3 weeks and I don't know if I should do a few race specific sessions. Some training guides seem to think its ok to mix a bit of speed work with base whereas as others are set against it. It's just a C race but being a competitive SOB I will push myself. So should I just carry on with my base (zone 1-2 low intensity and strength work) and suffer in the race or add a few higher speed sessions in there to get used to the pace (but still suffer). What do you think?
How long have you been training and what is your racing experience? If you are very new to endurance sports, then I would keep things mostly easy, focus on volume and then just see what happens on race day. If you have some experience, then there would be nothing wrong with doing a harder workouts in the next couple of weeks.
As to the notion that you can't do harder efforts during base training - there is nothing wrong with doing base training at a variety of intensities. It doesn't all need to be easy and slow and the idea that this is required is based on a misunderstanding of periodization and physiology. Aerobic adaptations happen across a wide variety of intensities.