The immediate answer is that you should not add the race builds too often! The majority of squad athletes simply mimic what the in-person San Francisco Squad members tend to do to prepare for their races: They follow the baseline plan! The heartbeat of the baseline program progresses through phases of training that will allow race-readiness for the majority of your key races if you are racing between March - December. This means life can be pretty simple:
Step One: Apply your race event to the calendar on the day of your race.
Step Two: Head to the library and apply a Single Week Race Build to the week of your race. This will include a week of recovery for IRONMAN and Half IRONMAN and then reintegration back onto the baseline plan following your event. Simply choose whether you are racing Olympic, IRONMAN, or IRONMAN 70.3.
Step Three: Begin following the baseline plan — you are all set! Your training will get ‘dropped’ on a rolling 14-days-ahead pattern.
What about the race builds? On some occasions, athletes desire or require more nuanced programming. With Squad, our mission is to cover all bases and deliver programming to fit as many athletes' lives as possible. A Race Build represents a departure from the main squad baseline program for a series of weeks heading into a specific race. We have several types of race builds broken into 4 week, 7 week, and 10 week plans. You will notice in your Today's Plan library designations such as:
- 4, 7 or 10 week IRONMAN Plans: builds into an IRONMAN distance race
- 4 or 7 week 70.3 Plans: builds into a Half Iron distance race
- 4 or 7 week Olympic Plans: builds into a short-course (Sprint / Olympic) distance race
You can review how to best select your plan duration in the explanation below.
Original or Time-Starved: All of the plans come in two flavors -- original distance plans or time-starved. The time-starved plans are specifically scaled and tailored to integrate with a more restricted training schedule. You can read about the differences HERE.
4-Week Plan: Some Olympic or IRONMAN 70.3 A-races would benefit from a short 4-week build in. This will ensure you convert fitness into a flash of feel good, race-specific intensity and don’t arrive fatigued.
You can also use the 4-week plan if you are coming off a prior key event and recovery, and have a short ramp into another key event coming up in a few weeks time.
7-Week Plan: If your training consistency has been good, and you are driving toward a major short course or IRONMAN 70.3 type event, then you might decide to utilize a 7-week Build. It carries the progression of the season, but has a couple of cycles of high race-specificity that will prime you for great race performance.
10-Week Plan: Best reserved for IRONMAN distance races. Longer isn’t always better, but this program integrates a cycle of strength-endurance focus for the first cycle (3-weeks) of training, before entering the race-specific phase.
As you build your season, keep in mind that there are 1-2 post-race recovery weeks built into those race builds depending on the distance.