Ironman Training with TriDot

On July 12 2020 I will start at Ironman Switzerland and to be in the best possible shape I started training with TriDot at September 23 2019. I have chosen TriDot, because I wanted to try something modern. 20 years ago, when I did my first Ironman, it was all “old” school training with high volume at a relative slow speed. So 5-6 hour bike rides followed by a 2 hour run was standard at the weekends in the race preparation face, 12-16 Weeks before a race. At that time this was possible to do, because I was single, but today with wife, kids and a full time job, this would not be possible. I did not want to do it like this anyway, because with over 50 years it takes longer to recover and the training stress would just be to high.

There claims

  • “Your Data + Our Technology = Optimized Training”
  • “Better results” “TriDot users improve an average of 3.2 times more than no-users”
  • “Less Time” “Performance improvements in 30% less time”
  • “Fewer Injuries” “Optimized training reduces injury risk by 2.9”

There different plans

They have four different plans. I list only the main options. The details for each plan can be found on there website Test Drive

  • Life Style US$9.99 /month: 1 Scheduled Race, Weekly Training Optimization
  • Essential US$29.99 /month: 3 Scheduled Races, Continual Training Optimization
  • Complete US$99.99 /month: Unlimited Races, Full Training Optimization
  • Premium US$249.99 /month: All Complete features Plus: Dedicated Coach with Unlimited Communication

Which plan I use and how does it look

For the Ironman Switzerland I have chosen the Life Style plan for US$9.99 /month. This gives me all I need for this one key race in 2020. At the moment I don’t see the need to plan for more long distance races and there is no way that I will have any chance to get a slot for the Ironman World Championship in October 2020. Would be nice thought, but as the training with TriDot and there prediction shows, it would be a miracle if I would achieve it. How does a typical training week with this plan look like.

Day of WeekTraining 1Training 2Description
Swimming (1h)
Warmup with drills, then different kinds of intervals
Cycling (1h)
Running (35min-40min)
Threshold intervalls (Zone 4) on the bike and running in Zone 2
Running (50min)
Drills, followed by threshold intervalls in Zone 4
Cycling (1h)
All Endurance Zone 2
Swimming (1h)
Warmup with drills, then different kinds of intervals
Cycling (1h-1:40h)
directly after cycling
Running (20min) off the bike
Threshold intervalls, followed by a transition run
Running (50min-1h)
Drills, followed by threshold intervalls in Zone 4

There is no rest day in the plan and this is intentional. In a best case scenario this would be the most beneficial plan according to TriDot. Life is not always predictable and so it is maybe not possible to do all the sessions in a given week. Sessions can be moved around in the calendar and the systems adapts the plan. But best is to stick to the plan and try to do the quality sessions, with the threshold parts and skip rather a day with an easy Zone 2 training, if necessary.

The Different Phases

There are two phases. The Development Phase and the Race Prep Phase. I’m currently in the Development Phase with lower volumes, but many shorter threshold repetitions to build power. Training is between 7-8+h a week. 16 Weeks prior the Ironman, the Race Prep Phase will begin and I expect longer hours with lower intensity to build stamina for the race itself. Actually the TriDot podcast has a great episode to explain their training system in regards of power and stamina . In the past I trained completely different. It was all about building stamina. This meant going out for long rides, followed by long runs. In swimming I just jumped in a swam as long as I could. No structure. With the TriDot system the goal is to push up your threshold and then building stamina in the Race Prep Phase. At least that is what I learnt so far. Actually there is no ride longer than 1:40h and no run longer than 1h.


Regularly, mostly all 4 weeks, there are assessments in all three disciplines.

Swimming400 m and 200 mSome warm up and then all out with 10 min rest between the 400 m and the 200 m test
Cycling20 min10 min warm up then 20 min all out
Running5 km10 min warm up and then 5 km all out

The assessments are always all out, which is a nice change in the training, but they are hard, no doubt. The goal is clear, beating your last assessment result. This is not the only goal. Keeping a constant pace is key to learn how your body reacts to such “race” simulations. The results are taken into the planning of the next training weeks by the TriDot system and to determine the training zones (heart rate, power, pace).

Train X Score

To see how good the training execution is, TriDot invented the Train X Score. It is a value between 0-100, which tells you, how well a training was executed. Below are three examples from my last training sessions.

Cycling Session

In the above picture is a well executed bike ride. I have no power meter on the bike, so only the heart rate is taken into account. Z4 (treshold) in this case is between 146-159 bpm. Z3 (tempo) is between 127 -145 bpm and Z2 (endurance) between 104 – 126 bpm.

Running Session

In the above running session I got only 60 points. The reason was, I didn’t felt well to run 3 x 9 min at the threshold, so I just did an easy run in Z1. On the bike I have only heart rate for TriDot, but in running heart rate and pace is taken into account. This means in Z1 (easy) and Z2 (endurance) the systems values heart rate more than pace, because the goal is to get a better endurance and this can’t be achieved with a to high heart rate. All training in zones over Z2 are more for develop the threshold or speed and then pace is more taken into account. Basically I got 60 points for showing up in this case.

Running execution

With swimming it is all about intervals and drills.

Swimming Session
Swimming Zones

To see how well the training is executed a weekly, 4 weeks and 8 weeks Train X Score is calculated and displayed on the training website.

Personally I find the Train X Score a great tool. It motivates me to execute the sessions as best as possible and it gives me afterwards an easy feedback how I performed and when I have to look into the data to see what was not so good. But it is clear that it is nearly impossible to reach all the time 100 points. I’m not a machine, I’m a human being with good and bad days. So for me consistency is the key here, not 100 % perfection.

Race X Prediction

Race X is an other tool from TriDot. It gives a prediction of the times I could achieve on race day for the Ironman Switzerland. This values changes with the ongoing training and at the moment they look like this.

Race X Prediction from 07 March 2020 for Ironman Switzerland 12 July 2020

How accurate they are can only show the future, but I’m sure that they are more accurate than a look into a magic crystal ball. Why, because they have all my data and the data from thousand other athletes to compare with. We will see how it will work out. First priority is to cross the finish line, then I can check the times.


So far I’m super happy with TriDot and the training sessions they have for me. It never gets boring. Even if they claim that it is possible to get the same performance improvements with 30% less training compared to other training plans, this is still very demanding. Especially all the threshold repetitions are quite hard, if you are not used to them and I was not and still struggle sometimes. Okay it is an Ironman training plan, not a plan for walking the dog in a park, so this could be expected. Less injuries is another of there claims and I had no one so far. Knocking on wood.

What I really miss is the upload possibility of the training sessions to my Garmin Forerunner 935. My experience with TrainAsOne shows, that it is possible to upload the data directly to the Forerunner. Which is nice. Here every evening I have to enter the training data into the Garmin Connect App, which can be quite complex, when you look for example at a swim session. On the other hand this gives me the opportunity to prepare myself mentally for the session. Another minor thing is that all the swim sessions are for 25 m pools, but I go to a 50 m on Monday and a 25 m on Friday. So I have to change the Monday plan accordingly, which is not too complicated, but when forgotten, this gave me already some confusion in the pool.

I’m glad that I have chosen TriDot for my Ironman preparation. I trust the process and look confident forward to the Race Prep Phase, which will soon start and then to the race itself. This will be great.

7 thoughts on “Ironman Training with TriDot

  1. For anyone reading this review, it is an excellent overview that is representative of my experience with TriDot as well.

    As an update, TriDot can now push your workout to Garmin for runs and rides. You will have the option of what intensity metric you use during the workout (pace, power, or heart rate). Still no ability to push swim workouts to your device.

    1. Thanks Les. Yes I had to “program” my Tridot swim workouts into Garmin Connect. Maybe this feature will come some day.

  2. Hey Andy, I really appreciated this post. I’m a very newbie triathlon enthusiast, I used to run for 2 years (around 30Km/week), and after having runners’ knee syndrome, I started to swim last year (around 5k/week), I have a road bike too, in the cycling season I do a bunch of cyclings (maybe 2 times per week, around 20K each). Last week I saw a TriDot ad in Instagram for a14 days off trial + 2 months free of their top premium “ALLEN MARK Edition” plan, for a research program. I registered and they let me in. I just signed up and apparently, I’ll receive my plan in a few days or so.
    I have a Garmin watch too and I believe the Tridots workouts can be pushed to the watch. I wanted to know your experience with Tridot since this post. Are you still using their system ? How is your feedback ?

    1. Hi Sadegh, thanks for your comment. Tridot is a very good choice and now with Mark Allen on board it will be even better. I stopped using Tridot, because I’m on a quest to try different training systems. But I still think the Tridot system is outstanding and probably it will get even better with more and more accumulated data. You are right, the workouts can be synced with the Garmin system, which worked really well. At the moment I use a plan from for my next Ironman race in Frankfurt. I wish you all the best for your training and I’m sure you will enjoy the “ride” with Tridot. Cheers Andy.

  3. How do know which tridot zones you are in as garmin only has 5 and tridot uses 6? I ran yesterday at zone 2 in my garmin yet tridot registers it as zone 1

    1. Hi Angi, I actually adjusted the lower zones on garmin to the tridot zones and didn’t bother with the higher zones, because my heart rate doesn’t go up that high any more. But it would be nice if the both companies find a good solution for this. Cheers Andy

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