As I’m building my volume for my first 70.3 race, it is quite apparent that the 3-2-1 training program using the Slowtwitch point system cannot be applied directly to training programs for longer distances. For a reminder, the Slowtwitch point system is one point for each mile biked, quarter-mile ran, or 100 yards/meters swam. So, a three-mile run is 12 points. A 24-mile bike is 24 points.

I combine that with another trianing philosophy I learned while cruising the slowtwitch forums that there is a 3-2-1 ratio for workouts.  (Edit to add: It’s the BarryP Training Program available at;search_string=runtraining;#1612485  Do yourself a favor and read that if you haven’t heard about it. ).

Take a race distance, and that distance equals the 2. Half the distance equals the 1 point. 50% beyond the distance equals a number 3 workout. So, if my Olympic Distance tri has a 10k run, my #1 workout is a three-mile run (usually hard effort), a #2 workout is 6 miles at moderate to race pace, and a #3 workout is a nine-miler very easy. I like to shoot for one #1, two #2’s, and one #3 workout per week per sport when training for an Olympic Triathlon. I found that I’m pretty successful in getting faster and meeting my goals with that type of workout menu.

Enter a change to 70.3 training.

The run for a 70.3 is 13.1 miles. So, a #1 is roughly six miles, #2 is 13 miles, and a #3 is 20 miles. Wow! Nobody with a job and kids could do that kind of volume, especially when you really need to add that kind of volume for the bike and swim. If I do a six miler, two thirteen-milers, and a twenty miler….that’s 52 miles per week. Way too much. But wait, there’s more! For the bike, we’re looking at #1 of 28 miles, #2 of 56 miles, and #3 of 84 miles… 28+56+56+84=224 miles per week. That’s kind of doable if all I’m doing is biking. For the 1.2 mile swim, you’re looking at 1200+2000+2000+3000=8200 yards per week, which I’m not far from but swimming is my strength.  Now add up these “points” and you get (52×4)+(224×1)+(8200/100)=204+224+82=502 points per week! Wow!

Right now, I’m averaging 250-300 points per week. That’s because I found I don’t have the time for the above kind of volume. I had to adjust.

Here’s what it looks like for my 70.3 training

#1 Run = 6 miles

#2 Run = 9 miles (two weekly)

#3 Run = 13 miles to turn into 15 for the last two weeks

Run Volume = 37 miles per week, or 148 points on a perfect week. Getting about 33-35 now.

#1 Bike = 30 miles (sometimes only 24 pending time available)

#2 Bike = 46 miles (two weekly)

#3 Bike = 70 miles (only did one so far)

Bike Volume = 192 miles (192 points) of which I have not done yet. I usually miss a #2 or the #3 becomes only 56 miles (race distance), and getting around 140 now.

#1 Swim = 1500 yards

#2 Swim = 2500 yards (twice weekly), remember swimming is my strength

#3 Swim = 3000 yards

Swim Volume = 9500 yards (95 points) of which I usually get about 7000 because I miss a 2500 workout somewhere

So that’s how I have adjusted the 3-2-1 workouts and Slowtwitch points for a 70.3 triathlon. I think it’s working. It would certainly work if I could hit all the workouts, but as it is time is tough to get them all, and I’m pushing the volume faster than I really should. Had I started two months earlier (ie Baby Noah started sleeping pat 6:30am before May!), I would be hitting all the workouts and certainly in the best shape of my life. Next year, I’ll follow this a bit closer for an end of June 70.3 and be ready to finish strong!