Running load seems low for an full IM plan

I used SUF as prep for my last IM 140.6. Bike went well as expected. The run not so good. I find the total volume for the run to be quite low compared to the bike. I do appreciate the strength and yoga which seem to supplement the run as well. However, I wonder if something is amiss. I’d appreciate any input for those who have seen an improvement on their marathon times within an IM.

I’m probably a better runner than I am a rider so I found the volume to be ok for where I am at currently. I do think though that the volume would have been too low for me if I’d used the plan a few years back.

I do a lot of marathons and ultras now during the off season so have a very good running base to launch into tri season with and find the lower volume of running a good change.

Some of the gains on the ride are transferable to the run as well so a lower level of running keeps you fresh and, hopefully, uninjured.

How bad was your run? Did you really fall apart? Is there some other reason that might account for your run performance?

Just some thoughts.


I appreciate the insight Matt. Have you improved your running using the plan? In my case the run was not horrible but I didn’t see any improvements. Perhaps I just need patience and trust the plan.

No…I couldn’t honestly say my running has improved due to the running portion of this plan.
It did however improve my power on the bike which made the ride easier and left more in the tank for the run.

I’ve found in the past that if I start a new plan I need to stick with it for at least two race cycles before I see any possible improvements so maybe you just need to stick with it for another race and see what happens. So long as you didn’t go noticeably backwards in any discipline I’d stick with it.

Good luck.

Thanks for your feedback about the running volume on the full distance tri plans. May I ask which level of plan you used?
You are right in that the overall running volume is on the conservative side for a couple of reasons. It is very difficult to program “just the right” amount of running for everyone on a stock plan. Running is a very demanding and stressful discipline, and depending on an individual’s background, one user may be able to handle a higher load very well, while another would not. So I felt it best to stay on the conservative side with the thought of it better to keep people healthy and maybe a little under-trained in that area as opposed to injured or burnt-out from too high a load.

For your next go-round, might I suggest looking into a customized plan with one of our SUF coaches? They will take your individual strengths and weaknesses and history into account to modify the plans to suit your needs better. You could also try adding an extra short brick run into some weeks, or adding up to 10% to your weekly long runs if you feel as though you’re handling the prescribed volume easily and have no history of running injuries.


Thanks @Coach.Suzie.S. Below is the plan I’ve been trying. It’s 2 weeks on / 1 week off, which seems odd compared to the conventional 4/1 or 3/1 :

Full Distance Triathlon

Yoga - Beginner
Strength - Intermediate
16 weeks
21 Apr 2020
10 Aug 2020


There are a lot of different ways to periodize a training plan, including even shorter cycles of 10 days on followed by 2-3 days off or easy. We use a 2/1 for our novice and intermediate level plans under the assumption that the athlete has a lower amount of training experience, and likely needs more frequent recovery weeks. Our advanced plans use a 3/1 format, but every individual is different and even some advanced and elite athletes don’t do well on a 3/1 format. I think it’s good to try different plans to see how your body responds to each, a lot of people who switch from a 3/1 to a 2/1 are surprised at how much better quality they can get in those 2 weeks as opposed to dragging through the 3rd week as fatigue increases. Just food for thought!