December 17, 2013 | Posted in:Training Plans
And it begins…
As previously mentioned I have recently purchased Ben Greenfields Tri-Ripped Training Plan. I chose to opt for the digital version as this is the way that I prefer to do most things but the hard copy version looks to be of good quality for those who prefer to go that way. This post will obviously be biased towards the digital version as that is the one that I am using.
Purchasing and Downloading
The website is simple enough to use taking you through to a secure check out allowing you to use Debit or Credit Card or Paypal. I did have a little trouble entering my Credit Card details but this was due to the Mastercard Fraud Team finding my payment to the US ‘unusual’. This was resolved with a quick phone call and everything after that was simple enough.
Purchase (of the digital version) is followed by a simple email from Ben with 3 links which you simply click and download, easy as that. One link is to download the training plan itself, one to download the Training Peaks Version of the plan and a final link as a special offer (at the time of writing) which is a 12 months membership to the Inner Circle which includes a Forum, regular Webinars and Bonus Material on all things health and fitness related. I have yet to have a real look at this but will report back when I do.
‘Unboxing’ of the training plan
Once downloaded you get the Training Plan itself, a Training Log and a Supplements Guide all in pdf format and two MP3’s about Recovery and Testosterone. I will concentrate of the plan from now on.
The first impression when you open the pdf of the training plan as you flick through the pages is the detail that each session goes into. Each session appears to be meticulously planned with details of not only what to do in the session but also what the aim of the session is. One criticism that I do have is the fact that it took me to get to page 215 of the plan within the FAQ section until I fully understood how to plan my training year using Phases 1-4 (each of 2 months if you follow the full plan), the Race Maintenance Phase and the Race Week Phase. However, you won’t need to do that as I can now explain below.
Phase One puts the onus on building aerobic and strength fitness during the phase. The phase includes Lactate Threshold (LT) testing during the first week followed by 3 Tri-Ripped (hypertrophy gym sessions), two swim, two bike and two run sessions per week. These sessions are based on hills / power training. The positive of the plan for me in particular is the flexibility it gives you to fit the sessions in wherever you can around your life, as long as you undertake them in the prescribed order. I have also downloaded the plan to Training Peaks which will send me an email each day to prompt me on which sessions to undertake during the day ahead.
Phase Two is tabled as the ‘bridge’ between the aerobic and strength work completed during Phase one and the race specific workouts that will be completed during Phases Three and Four. This phase puts the onus more on to interval training during the week followed by longer endurance sessions at the back of the week (the weekend in my case). Again the week includes 3 Tri-Ripped sessions, with increasing sessions up to 3 each of swim, bike and running sessions.
In Phase Three you get more race specific concentrating of shorter, higher speed intervals early in the week with continued endurance training during the back end of the week. The Tri-Ripped sessions are reduced to two per week concentrating of full body exercises utilising supersets with one injury prevention session added to the training week. As in Phase One there is LT Testing again. I am actually really exciting about seeing my results when I get to this stage in my training.
Phase Four is the final stage before entering the race season (the Race Maintenance Phase). Phase Four puts the focus on increasing power and speed with the continuance of the weekend endurance sessions. Tri-ripped sessions continue as in Phase 3 with two per week with one injury prevention session. The Swim, Bike and Run sessions now need to migrate to outside (if not already). Once this Phase is done you will go into a muscle maintenance phase so if you have more muscle to gain or define now is the time to do so.
After Phase Four you move into the the Race Season Phase (Race Maintenance Phase) which is planned to be followed for anywhere between 3 and 8 months. Tri-Ripped sessions are maintained with one upper and one lower body session per week. Swim, Bike and Run session split between “short and sweet”, form and brick sessions to keep your body “as finely tuned as possible on race day. If you have an ‘A’ or ‘B’ Race coming up you follow the Race week sessions which include ‘power’ sessions for each of the Tri-Ripped, Swim, Bike and Run disciplines.
That is pretty much the Training Plan summed up. At first look I definitely like the look and the feel of the Tri-Ripped Training Plan and like the structure and methodology it utilises without losing the flexibility to adopt the programme to fit around your life, rather than having to plan your life around the plan.
The plan is advertised as an 8 month plan which I think sells it short. The plan can be tweaked and adapted to fit into anyone’s race schedule during a season however long or short. The example used in the FAQ towards the back of the plan shows the plan fitting into the schedule of someone who has 7 months until their race allowing for 3 months of the Race Maintenance Phase. However, I would say (and this is only my opinion) that the bare minimum that this plan would need to be used for is 5 months, or 20 weeks, following one week of each of Phases 1-4 followed by one month of Race Maintenance Phase with the last week of the 5th month following the Race Week plan.
The information in the training plan continues on to outline the Tri-Ripped Diet Plan which is very important to follow if you want to get maximum gains from this plan. However, I will cover this in an additional post once I have had time to fully absorb all of the information provided. This goes for the Tri-Ripped Supplements also.
How I will make this work for me?
My ‘A’ Race is the IMUK 2014 on the 20th July 2014 and my ‘B’ Race at the Cotswold 113 on 15th June 2014 for the upcoming season. On account of this, taking the Xmas period into consideration also, my high level training plan will look like:
January: Phase 1
February: Phase 1
March: Phase 2
April: Phase 3
May: Phase 4
June: Race Maintenance Phase (Race Week plan followed the week of the Cotswold 113
July: Race Maintenance Phase (Race week plan followed the week of the IMUK 2014
This makes the plan a 5 months plan with 2 months maintenance rather than the 8 months as advertised. Again as mentioned previously I think that this undersells the product but only time will tell!!!
Week to Week
So how am I going to use this plan in my preparation for IMUK 2014? As mentioned in a previous post I developed and tried to follow a very structured plan during my preparation for IMUK 2013 but found this very difficult to maintain due to its inflexibility which constantly left me de-motivated. I am however, after looking at the Tri-Ripped plan happy that this will not be the case as I can fit the sessions in around my life and I’m confident that I can undertake the number of required sessions per week in each discipline with the Tri-Ripped sessions being able to be completed during my lunch hour at work.
I am going to try as best I can to religiously follow the Tri-Ripped sessions to the letter as these are the sessions that differentiate this plan from the rest of the Ironman Training Plans out there. This too goes for the Run sessions; I am however going to have to find some hills nearby so I don’t have to annoy my wife by taking the car on the weekend. On the same note only having one household car means that I cycle into work quite often so again the cycle / run sessions may have to be interchanged in order to suit.
The one thing that I am going to change in the plan is the Swimming sessions, which I know this may be doing me a disservice but I feel that I have performed quite well in the previous Ironman events by following one swim drills session and one swim endurance session per week moving to open water as the weather warms up. My swimming sessions for this duration of the programme will involve one drills session at my local triathlon clubs, The Endurance Store, weekly swim session and one indoor rowing session to provide the required endurance for the swim. I have decided this following my research on the use of the Concept2 rower in preparation for an Ironman Triathlon which I have summarised in a previous post.
My weekly work load will therefore look something like this:
3 x Tri-Ripped Sessions
2 x Swim Session (one drills, one indoor rowing session)
2/3 x Bike Sessions as per the Tri-Ripped Plan
2/3 x Run Sessions as per the Tri-Ripped Plan
I will continue to post on my progress on the Tri-Ripped Training Plan and provide further updates on the accompanying diet and supplementation advice. I will also provide an update if I decide to tweak or change the plan as I go along.
Wish me luck.