Should I use a Build or stay on the Baseline? Which Build should I use? January 13, 2022 16:03 Updated Follow Not signed in? Log into your Purple Patch account for full access to your education program for coaches and athletes. You need to sign in to view this page. Race Builds can be a valuable tool in your Tri Squad training -- but you will only use them sparingly. Most of the year, you'll be using Baseline. BASELINE VS. RACE BUILDS Remember, the Baseline isn't 'base' training. It is structured and progressive. Its focus varies throughout the year, with workouts shifting significantly during different points in the season. This structure is critical whether you're racing frequently or not racing at all: the body loves variance, and you'll get your best training yield when you commit to it. The Baseline program's unique design does an excellent job of preparing you for great racing: in many cases, your best bet is to 'race off the Baseline' (we'll talk more about this below). Even if you race frequently, Baseline is what you will use most of the season. You will only generally use a longer Race Build 1-2 times per year. Consistently using Baseline for the majority of the year allows you to quickly shift into 'race-ready' without creating extensive fatigue, negatively impacting your existing schedule, or eroding critical supporting habits in the process. You can launch into many races right from the Baseline simply on the fitness you have (more on this below). If you do use a build, you will arrive at the start of your build with a great platform of health and fitness. Because Baseline is so effective, and our race builds are designed to be used in conjunction with Baseline, the builds are relatively short. The Baseline program already developed a great platform of fitness and resilience, and already includes a race-specific phase, so the race builds are only needed to sharpen up for specific circumstances. In most cases, for most races, you'll rely on the Baseline for race preparation. That said, Race Builds are still important, and are designed to hone your race-readiness in situations where the Baseline doesn't quite offer the focus, volume, or specificity you need. Equally important is the fact that most race builds include structured recovery, which will help ensure you can return to training with minimal risk of fatigue or injury. SHOULD I USE THE BASELINE OR A RACE BUILD? When deciding what to use, there are several factors you will want to consider, including: Time of year: are we in a race-specific phase of training or not? If the Baseline is already race-specific, you're less likely to need a build. Race length: are you preparing for a sprint or a full-distance IRONMAN? The longer the race, the more likely you are to use a build. Race priority: is this an A-race for you? If it is, you're more likely to use a build. Athlete level & goals: are you a newer triathlete, or an experienced front-of-the-pack amateur? Are you looking to simply finish and have fun, or are you trying to qualify for Kona? Your goals, confidence, fitness, and experience level may influence whether you use a build. Other factors, like doing back-to-back races, may also affect your decisions. This is part of why getting a coach consult is strongly recommended to help you plan out your season and use race builds strategically! WHAT BUILD SHOULD I APPLY? Race builds provide you with extra guidance and directed structure for your races, along with a structure for your race week, and (usually) a recovery period. We offer builds for a variety of race types and season strategies. Below are some general guidelines for selecting a build, but we strongly recommend booking a coach consult to get your race-specific training plans dialed in. If you're racing a Sprint/Olympic or 5K/10K, you likely won't need a long build. You may, however, want to adjust your training 1-3 days before and after the event (for example, if your sprint tri is on Sunday, you might skip that long intense Saturday brick and replace it with the Prep Ride in the Optional Workout Library.) If you're racing a full-distance event (140.6 triathlon, marathon, etc), you likely will want to use a long build. If you're racing a 70.3 distance event between May and October (when Baseline training is more race-focused), you likely will use the 2-week "Race off the Baseline" mini build (race week + recovery week). If you're racing between November and April, you will likely use a longer build for this distance. If you're racing back-to-back, especially with the second race being your higher priority, you may want to use a 4-week build to help you sharpen back up quickly to race-readiness. There are lots of exceptions to the above guidelines! We cannot overstate how important it is to book a coach consult for help determining which build (if any) is right for you and your race schedule, and/or for help adapting Baseline sessions into a customized race-focused block of your own. For more context, check out this replay of coach Brad Hunter's Office Hours session on race builds and pre-race training. Learn how to apply a build here. ADDITIONAL DETAILS ON RACE BUILD STYLES 2-Week Race off the Baseline Plan This is a great option for races from 10K's and half marathons up through 70.3 distance triathlons, especially during race season (May-October), as well as B/C-races anytime of year. It includes a race week and recovery week, giving you the structure you need on either side of your race, while allowing you to maximize the benefits that come with following the Baseline plan. For most of your smaller races during the year, if you use anything, it will be this build. 4-Week Plans 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 event and have a short ramp into another key event coming up in a few weeks time. 7-Week/8-Week Plans If your training consistency has been good, and you are driving toward an A-Race 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. If you're headed to an event like 70.3 Worlds, we definitely recommend using this build. If you're racing a full-distance IRONMAN during race season (May-October), especially as a B-Race, and/or are an experienced IRONMAN triathlete, the 7-week full distance build is a great option. 10-Week Plan If you're racing your first IRONMAN, racing a full-distance event out of phase with normal training (e.g. over the winter or early spring), or simply want some additional ramping volume for your full-distance event, go for the 10-week build. 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. Recovery / Fitness Builds These builds are ideal for those that need to scale back on the Baseline for a variety of reasons, but want to preserve some structure and avoid randomness: Resilience and Bridge plans: Reduced load and structure ideal for those facing significant time or energy constraints, fatigue, busy holiday/travel seasons, or recovery from illness or injury. Read more here. Return to Swim (3 weeks) and Return to Run (6 weeks): Sport-specific builds to help (re)familiarize you with a sport and ramp up fitness. These are ideal for those newer to the sport or returning after a break/injury. Related articles How to login and use Coached Sessions (Live Classes, Watch Parties, and VODs) The Baseline Plan vs. The Race Builds Customizing Your Training Schedule Login issues with Education Hub What is the Sunday Special?