One point I'd like to make really clear is that choosing a plan volume is not a matter of "Rule #5", but rather it is important to choose the plan with the appropriate amount of stress for your current fitness, lifestyle, stress levels etc. As you move up to higher volume plans, the recovery becomes an even more crucial part of your training since you are pushing your body closer to its physcialy limits. And for some people, the high volume plans will push them beyond their physical limits, which will come as a detriment to their training rather than a benefit. A higher volume plan does not always equal a faster performance on race day.
Another thing I'd like to mention is that you do not need to be training at your target event's distance or duration in order to perform your best at that distance/duration. To learn more about this concept, check out this article from our Blog:
So the question really comes down to this: are you feeling challenged by the Mid-Volume Plan? If the answer is yes, then stick to the mid-volume consistently and you will see improvements. If the answer is no, the Mid-Volume is too easy, then giving the High Volume Plan a try could bring about greater fitness improvements :)
I hope that makes sense, let me know if you'd like me to clarify anything!
Thatâ€™s really helpful. When I did pure marathon training, I would shoot for 3 x 20milers, at a finish time of about 3 hours, since that was my race goal. That seems very different than what Iâ€™m seeing in these plans. I would have thought, for a 2:50 ride time goal, I would want to go for a few 48-50 milers that would take about that long. No? Instead, Iâ€™m seeing some 90-120 min at 85-90% FTP sessions in there.
I wasnâ€™t clear how an athlete that would finish in 4 hours would use the same plan as one that may finish nearly twice as fast.
Back to my marathon comparison, an elite runner has no need to be able to run for 3 hours, but a newer athlete may need to train far more than that.
I do like planning by Time, instead of Distance, but Iâ€™m trying to find the Specialty Block that fits both my current fitness, and my goals. Both seem to have value: Mid-volume would help me develop more speed, but High-volume could give me a deeper base for the Fall Ironman.