Dr. Michele Ferrari’s Base Training Program

Seeing as my last two articles on Dr. Michele Ferrari was so popular, I thought I would share his three training block base training program.

  • The First article I describe his coaching philosophies – Click Here
  • The Second article I go further into his training sessions – Click Here

Dr Michele Ferrari’s base training program looks likes

Block One:

Block Two:

Block Three:

Matt Hayman’s Paris-Roubaix Training

Back in 2016, pro cyclist Mathew Hayman won Paris-Roubaix only six weeks after crashing his bike breaking his right arm. Wasn’t willing to let his dream of Paris-Roubaix go, Mat set up a indoor training system and joined Zwift with the recommendation from former teammate Bobby Julich.

Mat would train twice a day riding Zwift with 90min in the morning and 90min in the afternoon. With a combination of intervals and group rides on Zwift, his training would be two days of intervals and one easy recovery day.

Some Data of Mat during Paris-Roubaix 2016

  • CTL for Paris-Roubaix – 131
  • ATL for Paris-Roubaix – 128
  • TSS weekly average in lead up – 850 (121 daily average)

In 2011 Mat finished 10th at Paris-Roubaix, His data for this race was

  • CTL for Paris-Roubaix – 145
  • ATL for Paris-Roubaix – 152
  • TSS weekly average in lead up: 1050 (150 daily average)

A session Mat would do was in his garage:

Warm Up:

  • 10min easy
  • 10sec hard @ 105 rpm
  • 1min easy @ 85 rpm
  • 10sec hard @ 105 rpm
  • 1min easy @ 85 rpm
  • 10sec hard @ 105 rpm
  • 3min easy @ 85 rpm

Main Set:

  • 4x 3min moderate effort (85% of FTP) @ 95 rpm, 2min same effort @ 65 rpm
  • 5min easy @ 85 rpm
  • 6x 2min hovering under threshold @ 85 rpm with 20sec surges between each 2min
  • 1min @ 95 rpm @ VO2
  • 5min easy @ 85 rpm
  • 6 x 2min hovering under threshold @ 85 rpm with 20sec surges between each 2min
  • 30sec @ 95 rpm @ VO2
  • 20sec anaerobic
  • 10sec MAX

Cool Down:

  • 10min easy

Kristian Blummenfelt & Gustav Iden Training Program

The Nnorwegian Triathlon Training System

  • Day One: Two threshold sessions + one easy session
  • Day Two: Long easy sessions (5-8 hours in total)
  • Day Three: Two threshold sessions + one easy session
  • Day Four: Very easy training, often around 2hrs of choice.

Threshold Training

They do a lot of double threshold training days. Because triathlon is swim, bike & run, they aim to hit a threshold session on each discipline a minimum of once per cycle. They will sometimes have all day swim, bike, run threshold day but this isn’t done too often.

The goal within these threshold sessions is to stay as close to threshold as possible so coaching staff will take lactate tests between each interval.

With these sessions, there is a lot of variations in the training sessions at threshold.

Craig Alexander’s Ironman Program

Craig Alexander who is talked about as one of the greatest Ironman athlete of all time who won the 2008, 2009 and 2011 Ironman World Championships would train over 40+ hours per week when leading into Kona. This is what a build week would look like for Crowie who would aim to repeat this week 4-5 times in a row.

Kona Build weeks.

Monday:

  • Swim – Squad 3-7km
  • Bike – 4hrs
  • Gym

Tuesday:

  • Swim – Squad 3-7km
  • Bike – 2hrs threshold session, this is often done on the indoor trainer (before Zwift and smart trainers)
  • Gym

Wednesday:

  • Swim – Squad 3-7km
  • Either a race simulation or Bike 5-6hrs + 60-90min brick run (often mile repeats)

Thursday:

  • Swim – Squad 3-7km
  • Bike – 2hrs often motor pacing.
  • Run – Long normally around 100min

Friday:

  • Swim – Squad 3-7km
  • Bike – 4hrs
  • Gym

Saturday:

  • Either a race simulation or Bike 5-6hrs + 60-90min brick run (often mile repeats)
  • Swim – Recovery session

Sunday: (Double run day)

  • Run – Long normally around 2:15hrs
  • Run – Tempo run

Jan Frodeno’s Training Program

Jan’s Program Olympic Program (February 2008)

Monday:

  • Swim 5km (strength with sprints)
  • Bike – 120km with 3x (5x 8sec sprints / 1min rest) All aerobic
  • Run 8km aerobic + drills + 10x (2x 100 hill repeats)

Tuesday:

  • Swim 5km aerobic
  • Bike 45km aerobic + 15km SE @ 60-70rpm
  • Run (Brick) 5km aerobic + 3km threshold + 2km easy
  • Run 10km easy

Wednesday:

  • Bike 80km flat with 3km @ 120 rpm
  • Swim 5km anerobic
  • Run 25km aerobic + drills + 4x strides

Thursday:

  • Swim – 5km aerobic
  • Bike – 80km aerobic
  • Run – 8km easy

Friday:

  • Run 8km aerobic + drills + sprints + 2km easy
  • Swim 5km strength + sprints
  • Run 3km + 10x 400 fast / 200 easy + 2km easy

Saturday:

  • Bike 100km with 3 (5x 8sec sprints)
  • Swim 4km different paces
  • Run 20km aerobic + drills + 4 strides

Sunday:

  • Swim 5km aerobic
  • Bike – 45km aerobic + 15km SE @ 60-70 rpm
  • Run (brick) 3x (2.5km aerobic to build to threshold) + 2km easy
  • Run – 8km aerobic

Maximilian Schwetz Load Week

Maximian Schwetz is a retired German pro triathlete that focus was being one of the worlds best Olympic distance triathletes. Below Maximian’s load week.

Load Week

Monday: Swim 5km + Gym 1hr

Tuesday: Swim 5.4km + Bike 90min + Run 1hr (9x 1km hard efforts)

Wednesday: Bike 3hrs (10x 6min) + Brick run 40min + swim 5km

Thursday: Bike 4hrs aerobic with low carbs + 1:10 easy run

Friday: Swim 4.6km + Gym 1hr

Saturday: Swim 4km + Bike 90min + Run 1hrs

Sunday: Run 90min + Bike 3hrs (7x 8min)

Weekly Summary

Total training hours: 30:24 hrs

Total TSS: 1424

Swim distance: 24400m

Bike duration: 13:22hr

Run duration: 5:37hr (75km)

Strength duration: 3:55 (this also included pre swim/bike/run activations)

Renato Canova


Renato Canova is classed as one of the greatest marathon coaches of all time with coaching more athletes running under 2:05 than any other coach in the world.


To give a quick glance on his training blocks, he structures his athlete’s season in four periods.

  1. Transition Period (4 weeks post Marathon)
  2. General Period (4 weeks duration)
  3. Fundamental Period (6 weeks duration)
  4. Specific Period (10 weeks duration)

To breakdown Conova’s coaching philosophies

• Conova’s training is extraordinarily hard
• It is speed and raw power work in the early phase and longer threshold/tempo running towards races.
• He progressively extends the distance you can run your goal pace over months and years.
• My favourite Canova quote is “What does a 2 hour easy run have to do with the marathon? Nothing”. – Conova doesn’t understand why anyone training to run a fast marathon would do a long easy runs. It is not specific to the marathon.
• You run at the right speed, not the right distance
• You do need a very good base to train his methods
• His fully body strength training is mostly circuit training.

The key elements to the specific phase
• Fast long runs start at around 25km and build to 40km at race pace or close to it. It is that simple.
• Hard long intervals like 4x 6km @ 110% of race pace with 1km floating at 80-90% of race pace.
• Special blocks will be hard race pace runs in the morning (10-16km) and hard threshold runs in the evening (10-16km)
• When it comes to marathon training, the base of everything is mileage, a 10km runner wouldn’t think twice about doing 10x 1km at race pace, for most runners, this hasn’t translated to marathon. This is one of the big issues according to Conova
• Pace is more important than distance
• Extensive workouts require long rest periods and no schedule
• Workouts get slower and not faster as race day approaches

The “Special Block”
The special block is every 3 to 4 weeks and consists of two sessions within the Specific Period. One in the morning and one in the afternoon. The athletes must be careful to arrive well rested.

Sometime Canova will instruct his athletes to drink only water and eat only vegetables between the two workouts in order to force the body to utilise fat as an efficient resource.

Typical Session
Morning: 10km @ 90% of marathon race pace + 20km @ marathon race pace
Afternoon: 10km @ 90% of marathon pace + 20km @ marathon pace

Another Special block day may look like:
Morning 10km @ 90% marathon pace + 10km @102% of marathon pace
Afternoon: 10km @ 90% of marathon pace + 12x 1km @ 105% of marathon pace +1:30 recovery

Tom Danielson Training Program

Retired pro cyclist Tom Danielson who cycled for world tour teams like Discovery Channel, Slipstream-Chipotle developed into a general classification rider (GC) for these teams.

Tom’s preseason training program looked like:

Day One: 4hr ride with 3x 20min efforts on mountains @ sub threshold power (approximately 95% of FTP)

Day Two: 5hr ride with 3x 40min efforts on mountains with a lower cadence @ sub threshold power (approximately 90% of FTP)

Day Three: 6hr aerobic ride with no calories before or during.

Day Four: Same as day one but with 5-10 watts extra

Day Five: Same as day two but with 5-10 watts extra

Day Six: Same as day three

Day Seven: Full rest

Tom trained using the threshold training method. He dedicated a lot of his effort to “power control” with the aim to sit on a set watt and not move from it despite what the weather or terrain was, his goal was to be the best in the world at power control.

Side Notes:

I translated these sessions to FTP to give context to Tom’s training. Tom didn’t do FTP tests, like most pro cyclists everything arrived from lactate field testing and VO2 lab testing.

Tom was also suspended for doping twice in his career.

Cam Wurf’s Training into Ironman Copenhagen

Following on from the past articles I wrote about Cam Wruf’s Ironman Training and how Cam Transformed his Running, the triathlon community started buzzing last weekend when Cam won Ironman Copenhagen with a finish time of 7:46:10 (Swim 49:08 – Bike 4:02:19 – Run 2:49:37).

I thought it would be fun to go back and revisit Cam’s training in the six weeks leading into Ironman Copenhagan and note some differences between the two Ironman builds when he finished top five at Ironman World Championships.

Swim: Cam swims between 5-6 times per week with most sessions being between 3-4km with his longest swim being 5.7km

Bike: Cam rides normally 4 times per week. It is clear that Cam sees little value in riding under 3hrs as just about all rides were over 3hrs with most being very hilly. While I can no longer see Cam’s power data, in the past I never found a interval shorter than 15min in length. Cam does do regular cadence change sessions going from low cadence to high cadence within a structured set.

Run: Cam has been averaging around 100km with 5-6 runs per week. The majority of his run volume is in and around his goal race pace. Even his “moderate effort runs are around 20sec per km slower than race pace. Cam’s faster sessions he does on the track are at 3:25 min per km pace and Cam doesn’t every go much faster than this.

Recovery: The main differences between Cam’s 2019 Kona build and Copenhagen was clearly his rest days. Can took every Sunday off in the lead up to Kona while most weeks (except six and five weeks out and race week), can would train everyday however he would give his legs a full day off most Mondays with just a swim session.

Taper: Cam doesn’t really taper, he just has a few full rest days before the Ironman and he is good to go. This is very uncommon in endurance sports and very few elite athletes would ever consider doing this but it seems to work for Cam.

Cam’s Weekly Training

While Cam’s training week often changed from one week to the next, when looking at everything, his week would often look like this:

Monday: Swim 3km however if Cam took a rest day the week before like he had in week 6, 5 out from Copenhagen, he would also add a 3hr hilly bike with a 12km moderate run

Tuesday: Track run 10x 1mile @ 3:25min per km pace with 200m easy – The total run volume for this would be up to 24km. + Swim 1hr + Afternoon 45min moderate run

Wednesday: Bike 3-4hrs, if he wasn’t with a group, he would do this on his TT bike + Swim 1hr with some weeks an extra 45min run

Thursday: Swim 90min + 4hr ride

Friday: Bike 4-5hrs often hilly and a long run 28-38km @ or just a little over race pace.

Saturday: Swim 60-90min + Bike 3-7hrs and will often add another long run of 19-31km @ or just over race pace.

Sunday: Bike – 3hrs and every 2nd week he will add either a 40min swim or a 40min run

Eliud Kipchoge’s Training Program

Eliud Kipchoge who is undoubtable the fastest marathon runner in history’s keeps his weekly training very similar every week in the lead up to a marathon. This is a typical training week of Kipchoge.

Monday:

AM: 70min moderate run

PM: 40min easy run

Tuesday:

AM: Track 1hr with main set often something like 1200m, 5x 1km, 3x 300m, 2x 200m

PM: Rest

Wednesday:

AM: 70min moderate run

PM: 45min easy run

Thursday:

AM: 40km tempo

PM: Rest

Friday:

AM: 70min moderate run

PM: 40min easy

Saturday:

AM: 80min run with 30x 1min fast, 1min easy as the main set

Sunday:

AM: 80min moderate run

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑