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2017-01-05 7:20 AM

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Subject: Multiple Full IM Events in a Year
A question for those folks with experience in racing more than one 140.6 in a calendar year: If you were going to do two 140.6s in a year, would you schedule them reasonably close together to take advantage of the training cycle (with appropriate recovery time in between of course), or would you space them out over the year so that they each had their own training cycle build-up (e.g., one in the spring and one in the fall.) What do you see as the pros and cons of each approach?

If it factors into your response, here is some info about me. I am presently 55 years old and over the past handful of years I have done two full IMs and some 70.3s. This combined with a half dozen marathons has gotten me to the point where my out-of-warranty body can stand up to the demands of a decent training cycle. I am rather slow, however. A front-of-the-back-of-the-packer at best.

1000 apologies if this subject has been discussed here previously. I couldn't find anything via search.

Sincere thanks in advance, and wishing you all a wonderful new year!


2017-01-05 10:58 AM
in reply to: kalish

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Subject: RE: Multiple Full IM Events in a Year
Originally posted by kalish

A question for those folks with experience in racing more than one 140.6 in a calendar year: If you were going to do two 140.6s in a year, would you schedule them reasonably close together to take advantage of the training cycle (with appropriate recovery time in between of course), or would you space them out over the year so that they each had their own training cycle build-up (e.g., one in the spring and one in the fall.) What do you see as the pros and cons of each approach?

If it factors into your response, here is some info about me. I am presently 55 years old and over the past handful of years I have done two full IMs and some 70.3s. This combined with a half dozen marathons has gotten me to the point where my out-of-warranty body can stand up to the demands of a decent training cycle. I am rather slow, however. A front-of-the-back-of-the-packer at best.

1000 apologies if this subject has been discussed here previously. I couldn't find anything via search.

Sincere thanks in advance, and wishing you all a wonderful new year!


So for the past two years I have done two fulls per year. In 2015 I did one in June (Challenge AC) and October (B2B). This past year it was May (IMTX) and October (IMMD). In both cases my October race went much better than the earlier race. Having another entire training cycle between them helped. I seriously doubt I would have had a good second race had I tried to "borrow" fitness from the earlier race. You can probably do them close to each other if performance is not your goal. Borrowing fitness works pretty well if all you are trying to do is cross the finish line, but I wouldn't recommend trying to do that if performance goals are what you are after.
2017-01-05 11:31 AM
in reply to: kalish

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Subject: RE: Multiple Full IM Events in a Year

I am 51 and by no means is 55 old for IM triathlete.

I've done IMs in April 2008 then August 2008, and another time an IM in August 2009 then again in November 2009,  That was sufficient recovery. If you have a training plan with "base, build, peak" periods, then you don't have to repeat the "base" period. So for 1st IM - base, build, peak, then for the 2nd IM - recovery, build, peak.

Spring and fall would work as well, giving you the summer to do more unstructured training.

Putting them even closer together, like 4, 6, or 8 weeks may not provide enough recovery, depending on how hard you are racing the first IM.  If the first IM leaves you so beat up that you are in "can't climb stairs for two weeks" mode, then you need more recovery time.  Or don't race the first IM so hard.

2017-01-05 1:12 PM
in reply to: brucemorgan

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Subject: RE: Multiple Full IM Events in a Year

I've tried both ways and I prefer spacing them out, but each has pros and cons.

Last year I did IM Canada (Whistler) in July and Mont Tremblant in August.  I held back and did some walk/run at Whistler so I wouldn't be trashed for IMMT.  And that worked ok.  But if those were my first and second IMs ever, I wouldn't have finished the 2nd one.  The good part is you do one big build for the year and can take a little time to relax in the offseason.

On the other hand I've raced in the winter in Australia and New Zealand, and on those years I added a summer race.  To me it just helps keep the training going year-round.  The bad part is trying to build up long bike rides in the winter since I live pretty far north.

2017-01-10 10:55 AM
in reply to: spudone

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Subject: RE: Multiple Full IM Events in a Year
Thank you all very much for the excellent input. Much appreciated!
Wishing everyone an awesome 2017's worth of training and races!
2017-01-10 2:33 PM
in reply to: kalish

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Subject: RE: Multiple Full IM Events in a Year
When I turned 50, I did my first IM in August in Louisville, I wasn't happy with my overall time and was talked into signing up for B2B in October of the same year. I knocked two hours off my overall time and felt good in the race.

I took two weeks off after my first IM and started training again for B2B.

I actually felt good with no side effects from the previous race. I lost some toenails in the Louisville IM and had no issues in B2B.


2017-01-10 3:48 PM
in reply to: GODAWGS

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Subject: RE: Multiple Full IM Events in a Year
Originally posted by GODAWGS

When I turned 50, I did my first IM in August in Louisville, I wasn't happy with my overall time and was talked into signing up for B2B in October of the same year.

Thanks, Elton! Was IM Louisville held in the spring that year? If so, how many weeks/months were in between that IM and B2B? Much appreciated!
2017-01-11 2:21 PM
in reply to: kalish

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Subject: RE: Multiple Full IM Events in a Year
Originally posted by kalish

Originally posted by GODAWGS

When I turned 50, I did my first IM in August in Louisville, I wasn't happy with my overall time and was talked into signing up for B2B in October of the same year.

Thanks, Elton! Was IM Louisville held in the spring that year? If so, how many weeks/months were in between that IM and B2B? Much appreciated!


My Louisville race was the last year it was held in August (24th). They have since moved it to October. So I had September and part of October between Louisville and B2B. Any longer between races and I believe I would have burned out on the long training sessions. I felt like I had a part time job with six and seven hour bike rides on weekends.
2017-01-12 8:58 AM
in reply to: GODAWGS

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Subject: RE: Multiple Full IM Events in a Year
Yes indeed. That was one of my concerns. Thanks for the info!
2017-01-13 2:24 PM
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Subject: RE: Multiple Full IM Events in a Year
Spudone,
Can you explain "one big build for the year?" Does this mean you do a "build" during, say January -March and this fitness carries for the rest of the year? And this assumes you're doing what kind of volume for the remainder of the year to maintain that fitness gained?
2017-01-13 6:19 PM
in reply to: goforit

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Subject: RE: Multiple Full IM Events in a Year

Originally posted by goforit Spudone, Can you explain "one big build for the year?" Does this mean you do a "build" during, say January -March and this fitness carries for the rest of the year? And this assumes you're doing what kind of volume for the remainder of the year to maintain that fitness gained?

I meant for my first example - where the races are close together.  Most Ironman training plans will go oh, maybe 16-20 weeks on the low end up to 30 weeks on the higher side like Be Iron Fit.  Breaking a plan down into parts, you'll see base / build / peak / taper.  The build is where you'll start piling on more volume and occasional intensity, training yourself for the distance.

For the example of IM Canada in July and Mont Tremblant in August, it might work out to:

Jan - Mar = base
Apr - May = build
June - July = peak and taper
July race
do some light recovery workouts soon after and carry that fitness into the August race

The build phase starts putting you in more of a time crunch due to long bike rides on the weekends and other workouts that go over an hour.  If you only do that once a year then you get to pick the best time - for your personal schedule, weather, daylight, etc.



2017-01-15 11:04 PM
in reply to: noofus

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Subject: RE: Multiple Full IM Events in a Year
I am 49 and did 2 IMs in one year a couple years ago. It took me roughly 4-6 weeks to recover and another 3 months to rebuild. Younger folks can probably pull it off with faster recovery. You should know from your other races how quickly you recover. Use that as a benchmark for 2 IMs. For me recovery from a HIM is 1 week, IM 4-6 weeks, Mary 3 weeks.
2017-01-16 12:12 AM
in reply to: Baowolf

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Subject: RE: Multiple Full IM Events in a Year

I'll also add - if you are planning on races a month apart, make sure you don't slack off on your run training.  The run is what will tear up your legs at IM distance if you're not prepared, and then that 2nd race will be miserable.

2017-01-17 11:30 AM
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Subject: RE: Multiple Full IM Events in a Year
Thank you, Steve & Mark. I believe both of your comments hit the mark when applied to me. Much appreciated!

A variation on the question: For the past two years I have been doing one to two 70.3s plus one full IM per year. How many years of doing a full IM do you feel you needed under your belt before you upped things to two fulls per year?

Edited by kalish 2017-01-17 11:30 AM
2017-01-19 12:42 AM
in reply to: kalish

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Subject: RE: Multiple Full IM Events in a Year

It is a bunch of factors.  How old are you?  How long does an IM take you?  Those two things can greatly affect how you're going to feel after a race.

Then I'd say, evaluate how well you have trained over the course of a year.

If you're planning two IM races close together (say a month or 2 between them), then it's more about how you recover.  If you are feeling thrashed for a month after an IM, well - you might need to go easier on the first one or pick races farther apart.

If you schedule them like 6 months apart - then you need to be honest about your mental preparation, consistency and injury avoidance.  You did a previous IM plan and then the race.  Did you get back to training again without feeling burned out?

*For me*, the first one (age 37) left me hurting the most.  Most of the races I've done since then, I've been better trained and the recovery was easier.

2017-01-24 11:16 AM
in reply to: spudone

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Subject: RE: Multiple Full IM Events in a Year
Originally posted by spudone

It is a bunch of factors ... it's more about how you recover ... mental preparation, consistency ... injury avoidance ... feeling burned out



Good stuff in there, Mark! Thank you! 2017 will be my third year in which I have done a 70.3 and a 140.6. They have always been spaced apart by at least 3 months, with no burn out issues after either in the previous two years. Recovery has always gone well and I am typically ramping base training back up about a week after the race. I was thinking about trying two 140.6s starting in 2018. Three years of long course (with reasonable recoveries) felt like enough of a base from which to bump up. Based on IM's North America race schedule, it seems I can get two that are about 2-3 months apart. For me, that feels like the sweet spot between too much prolonged high volume training (burn out) and not enough recovery time. Less than 2 months separation would worry me. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.


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