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The following training plan is provided by our The Dirty Mitten sponsor, Kari Stuart with Stuart Coaching:

The training plans I’ve developed for this event provide a very simplistic and minimalistic approach to training for a race.  The plans build slowly and safely, with a recovery week and taper, ensuring you are recovered, and ready for race day. If you are able, I’d recommend that you start training earlier to build base mileage and get a jump start. 

What pace should you train? 

Wait, what?!  You mean I need to change my pace from time to time?  Yep! 

The majority of the time you spend training should be done at an easy, aerobic pace. This is a “conversational pace” where you could have a pleasant chat with your training partner (this will likely be about what you are going to eat after your workout). Keeping most of the time you spend training at a lower intensity reduces your risk for injury and burnout.  

Speed and Strength Sessions

You will see intervals included in your plan.  For instance, Tuesdays are scheduled as either a speed or hill running workout, Wednesdays are dedicated to swim speed and you’ll also see either sweet spot tempo rides or hard efforts on the bike – all intended to increase strength and improve speed.  

Racing on trails and gravel requires strength. So, it’s important that we train for the terrain as well as the distance.  

Remember to always warm-up and cool-down, which should be at least 5-10 minutes for each discipline. 

Sweet Spot Tempo Sessions

You will see “SS tempo ride” on the half plan. Tempo efforts are steady and moderately prolonged intervals at a challenging but manageable effort level. These are uncomfortable but not draining.  They are easy enough that you hang out here for a while, but hard enough to build resilience and mental stamina. If you have trained in zones, these are the high end of zone three or 88-94% FTP and 93-96% of lactate threshold heart rate. If that last sentence blew your mind… just ignore it and ride hard but not too hard.   

Endurance Sessions

The long stuff is where your body adapts to go the distance. Progressively longer distances will build mental toughness and serve as a great simulation for race day. Endurance sessions provide the opportunity to experiment with nutrition and hydration, anti-chafing products, shoes, gear, etc. 

I’d recommend doing your longer sessions on a terrain that matches that of race day – so gravel riding, trail running and open water swimming! 

Rest days

This program includes one rest day.  However, you may move a swim session to be on the same day as a bike and run and give yourself a second rest day. For more experienced athletes, one of those rest days can be used as a low impact cross training day. One day should be 100% rest.  In short: for the love of all things, do not skip your rest day.

Strength Training and Cross Training 

I highly recommend strength training and cross training for all athletes to prevent injury and maintain a balanced body. This plan does not include specific strength and cross training activities, but both are encouraged.  If you have questions about strength training, please feel free to inquire about our coaching services.

Additional Help with Training 

If you decide you want more specific help, Stuart Coaching would be more than happy to discuss one-on-one coaching to give you a more customized approach and support to reach your goals.  

We also have more detailed training plans for these distances which will sync to TrainingPeaks, and provide workouts directly on most training devices!  Your plan can be purchased here and includes a 15-minute consultation with Kari Stuart of Stuart Coaching. 

Click here to download The Dirty Mitten Gravel Tri training plans. These plans are available for Sprint, Olympic and Half-Distance courses.


The following training plan is designed for educational purposes only and is not a prescribed training plan for any particular individual. I am a certified V-DOT running coach and IRONMAN certified coach and have created this training plan with safety in mind, but you should understand that there is always the possibility of injury with physical activity. Participation in this training program is at your own risk. As a voluntary participant in these activities, you assume all risk of injury to yourself. You should consult your physician or other health care professional before starting this or any other fitness program.