In order to take your racing to the next level, your training plan needs to develop all aspects of your athleticism with progression and consistency.

Race your fastest this season with this focused training plan.

In order to take your racing to the next level, your training plan needs to develop all aspects of your athleticism with progression and consistency. My philosophy as a coach is to create an environment that enables athletes to understand their tendencies while developing them to be their best. If you want to be a complete, well-rounded athlete, you have to train the full range of all your systems.

This program is designed for intermediate athletes training for an Olympic-distance triathlon. An athlete taking on this eight-week program should have a background of successfully completing and sustaining eight weeks worth of training with a base of at least six hours per week. The key is consistency and adhering to the training zones described here. With the right focus and hard work, you’re bound to race your best Olympic this season!

Training Zones

Easy: 4/10 effort level
This is very low intensity training that promotes increased oxygen absorption and can aid in injury prevention and recovery. No fueling is required in this zone, and all your warm-up and cool- down time surrounding workouts should be spent here.

Aerobic: 6/10 effort level
The majority of your training each week should be dedicated to this zone, which is moderate in intensity and increases your ability to tolerate higher workloads. Very little concentration is needed, and you should be able to carry on a complete conversation.

Tempo: 7/10 effort level
When conversation becomes difficult and you take your first deep breath—that’s when you’ve reached the tempo zone. Your concentration at this effort should start to switch on.

Threshold: 8/10 effort level
A large portion of your training should be spent here, as it develops the ability of your fast-twitch muscle fibers and improves your body’s ability to process lactate. Threshold requires solid concentration, and breathing should be labored but manageable.

VO2 max: 9/10 effort level
Your Vo2 max work is where high speed gains are made. Recovery from this zone takes the longest, and training at this intensity is also higher risk—warm-ups and cool-downs are essential.

Conditioning-specific strength endurance: 7/10 effort level
The effort for this type of training is similar to the tempo zone, but while working with a high load of resistance or using max torque to build strength.

Neuromuscular quickness:
Keep the load extremely light in this zone, with a focus on a high, smooth turnover. For experienced athletes, this session can aid in recovery. High coordination is required.

Week 1

Monday:
Swim 1000
• 200 easy
• 4×50 as 25 scull drill/25 swim
• 4×50 25 fingertip drag drill/25 swim • 4×25 paddle on right hand only
• 4×25 paddle on left hand only
• 4×50 swim, descend the pace 1–4
• 200 freestyle/backstroke

Gym Core routine

Tuesday:
Bike 45 min
• Warm-up: 20 min easy
• 4x[30 sec right leg only/30 sec both legs/30 sec left leg only]
Tip: When single-leg pedaling, let the unclipped leg just hang unsupported, and keep smooth circles with the pedaling leg.
In an easy gear with no tension:
• 2 min at 90 RPM
• 1:30 at 95 RPM
• 1 min at 100 RPM • 45 sec at 105 RPM
• 30 sec at 110 RPM • 45 sec at 100 RPM • 1 min at 95 RPM
• 1:30 at 95 RPM
• 2 min at 90 RPM
• Cool down easy to reach total time
This session’s goal is neuromuscular quickness under a very light load with easy gearing. HR should stay low. Power is low. Efficient, smooth pedaling is the focus. If you start to bounce on the saddle or move around a lot, you need to smooth out the pedal stroke.

Run 30 min, easy with drills
4×15 meters of each drill
• Butt kicks
• High knees
• Monster walk
• Side-to-side shuffle

Wednesday: 
Run 40 min
• Easy run with 8×30 sec hill strides with easy jog back down

Gym Core routine

Thursday:
Gym Core routine

Run 45 min
• Include 6×90 sec uphill
• Slow jog back down for recovery
• Hill reps should be done on a sufficient grade but not a steep hill. Efforts should be strong but not full speed.

Friday:
Swim 1800
4×150 as:
1. Pull with buoy
2. 50 pull with buoy, 100 free
3. 50 head up drill, 100 free
4. 50 scull, 100 free
• 4×100 descend pace 1–4
• 4×100 ascend pace 1–4 (start out fast) • 2×200 as 50 catch-up drill/50 swim

Saturday:
Bike 2:00 Aerobic, easy ride

Sunday: 
Run 50 min Easy run

Week 2

Monday:
Swim 1900

• 200 warm-up
• 4×50 single-arm swimming with fins (right arm for 25/left arm for 25)
• 200 pull
• 4×50 scull
• 200 pull
• 4×50 fingertip drag drill
• 200 pull
• 200 steady swim
• 4×50 kick fast
• 100 easy

Gym Core routine

Tuesday: 
Bike 1:00
• Warm-up: 10 min easy
• 6x[30 sec right leg only/30 sec both legs/30 sec left leg only]
In an easy gear and no tension, do this twice through: • 2 min at 100 RPM
• 1:30 at 105 RPM
• 1 min at 110 RPM
• 45 sec at 115 RPM
• 30 sec at 120 RPM
• 45 sec at 115 RPM
• 1 min at 110 RPM
• 1:30 at 105 RPM
• 2 min at 100 RPM
Take 10 min easy between sets.
• Cool down easy to reach total time

Run 45 min
Easy run with drills and strides
Include:
• 6×20 sec strides/40 sec easy jog
4×15 meter of each drill:
• Butt kicks
• High knees
• Bounding
• Monster walk
• Side-to-side shuffle

Wednesday:
Swim 2100
• 3×200 as 1 swim/1 pull/1 swim
• 8×50 as 2 drill/swim, 2 build, 25 fast/25 easy
• 6×50 build to fast, 15 sec rest
• 7×100 steady to strong effort, 10 sec rest
• 100 easy cool-down

Bike 1:00
• Warm-up: 10 min
• 4 min, single-leg work: [1 min right leg/1 min left leg/1 min both legs]
10 min high cadence work:
• 1 min at 100 RPM
• 1 min at 110 RPM
• 1 min 90–95 RPM
• Repeat to total 10 min
• Light gear smooth pedaling
• 20 min big gear work (use 95 RPM as base)
• 1 min base, 1 min at 85 RPM
• 2 min base, 2 min at 80 RPM
• 3 min base, 3 min at 75 RPM
• 4 min base, 4 min at 70 RPM
• 30 sec base, 30 sec at 65 RPM
• 30 sec base, 30 sec at 60 RPM
• 30 sec base, 30 sec at 55 RPM
• Cool down 10 min

Thursday: 
Gym Core routine

Run 45 min
• Jog easy for 10–15 min on flat terrain
• 5×1 min steady-strong uphill, focus on good form. Jog back to the bottom for recovery.
• 5×1 min on a slight downhill or flat road, building cadence throughout the 1 min
• 1 min easy jog between each
• Cool down 10 min jog

Friday:
Swim 2300
• 4×100 as 25 swim/25 choice drill/25 build effort/25 easy, 10 sec rest
• 8×200 pull with optional gear (band, buoy, paddles), 10 sec rest
• 8×25 kick fast, 15 sec rest
• 100 easy

Saturday: 
Bike 1:30
• 10 min easy spin
• 5 min build to steady
• 5 min easy
• For the remaining hour, continuously repeat: 6 min big
gear 60–65 RPM, 4 min spin, 90+ RPM
• Cool down 10 min easy spin RUN 30 min
Easy run

Sunday:
Run 50 min
• 15 min of easy aerobic warm-up
• Then do a “ladder” for 10 min, where you go from walking to tempo pace, increasing your step pace every minute. Power walk for a couple minutes.
Main Set
• 16 min total
• 1 min on at tempo pace/1 min off at 50% of VO2 max Key things:
• If you lose form then you are either going too fast, or you have done enough repeats. It’s easy to tell when form is gone on treadmill because you’ll start pounding the deck!
• Cool down to reach total time

Week 3

Monday: 
Swim 2100

• 150 swim/50 kick, 150 pull/50 kick
• 10×50 swim steady
• 100 easy
• 10×50 swim strong
• 100 easy
• 10×50 at 80–85%
• 200 cool-down

Gym Core routine

Tuesday: 
Brick 1:00
Bike 40 min
Include 12×15 sec fast, 45 sec easy
Run 20 min
Easy run off the bike

Wednesday: 
Swim 2500
• 500 warm-up
• 20×25 as fast as you can/rest for the equal time as it took your 25
• 500 easy pull
• 20×25 fast as you can/equal rest
• 500 easy pull

Bike 1:00
Warm-up choice
Main Set
3×16 min as:
• 4 min tempo choice cadence
• 4 min tempo, 60 RPM
• 4 min stand, choice cadence and effort
• 4 min tempo, 92 RPM
• Insert two min easy spin recovery between each • Cool down easy to reach total time

Thursday: 
Gym Core routine

Run 45 min
• Include 6×90 sec uphill
• Slow jog back down for recovery
• Hill reps should be done on a sufficient grade but not a steep hill. These efforts should be strong but not full speed.

Friday:
Swim 2300
Goal of the entire workout is to swim the second 1000 faster than the first
• 200 easy and relaxed on 15 sec rest
• 4×75 steady with the middle 25 fast on 10 sec rest
• 100 easy
• 1000 start easy and build to steady effort (note time)
• 100 easy and relaxed
• 1000 swim faster than the first one (note change in effort required to swim faster)
• 100 cool-down
These long swims are an essential part of building up the mental skill required for success in open water. The two that are important: (a) a relaxed start and (b) the capacity to be strong at the end.

Saturday:
Bike 1:30
Warm-up 10 min
• 4×9 min big gear, 55–65 RPM, 4 min easy spin between each
• 5 min easy
• 3×10 min tempo, 6–7/10 effort, 5 min easy between each
• Cool down to reach total time

Run 45 min
Include 6×20 sec strides/40 sec easy jog 4x15m of each drill:
• Butt kicks
• Monster walks
• Side-to-side shuffle

Sunday:
Run 1:00
Warm-up easy 10 min
• 4x(2 min tempo/1 min easy/2 min tempo/1 min easy)
• Tempo is at 75%, easy is 60%
• Cool down 10–15 min

Week 4

Monday:
Swim 2000
• 100 easy
• 4×25 kick, 10 sec rest
• 4×25 head up drill, 10 sec rest
• 5×100 swim, descending 1–5, 15 sec rest
• 50 easy kick
• 5×100 buoy and band, descending 1–5, 10 sec rest
• 50 easy swim
• 5×100 swim target race effort, 15 sec rest
• 100 easy cool-down

Gym Core routine

Tuesday: 
Brick
Bike 1:00
Warm-up 10 min easy:
• 5x[45 sec right leg only/15 sec both legs/45 sec left leg only/15 sec both]
• 1 min easy
• 5 min, build the 5 min to tempo, 5 min easy
• 15×1 min, alternating power* 1 min /1 min easy spinning 90+ RPM
• Cool-down 10 min
*Power minute: Goal is to hold strong power in a hard gear. Because the gearing is hard, you might start the minute in a lower RPM and ramp it up throughout.

Run 30 min
Run off the bike with a steady effort. Insert 1 min walking into each 10 min block, ending with 6×75 meter strides on 30 sec walking recovery.

Wednesday: 
Swim 2500
• 100 swim, 100 drill/swim, 100 kick
• 10×200 band/bouy/paddles on 15 sec rest
• 200 cool-down

Bike 1:30
Warm-up 10 min easy
• 5 min, build to tempo
• 3x[1 min strong/1 min easy]
• 5 min easy
3×10 min in race position (aerobars if riding a tri bike)
• Cadence of 85–95 RPM
• Take 5 min between efforts
• Cool down 15–20 min

Thursday: 
Gym Core routine

Run 1:00, track
• Warm-up 10 min jog
• 4x15m of each drill:
• Butt kicks
• Monster walks
• Side-to-side shuffle
• 10×200/200 easy
• Focus is 90+ cadence and keeping the stride short. Think quick feet!
• Jog to cool down.

Friday: 
Swim 2000
• 100 swim, 100 kick, 100 drill
Twice through the following: (Round 1 swim/Round 2 use fins)
• 100 fast/100 easy
• 2x(75 fast/25 easy)
• 2x(50 fast/50 easy)
• 2x(25 fast/75 easy)
• 1 min rest between rounds
• 100 cool-down

Saturday: 
Bike 2:00
• Warm-up 10 min
• 5×15 min tempo in race position at 90–95 RPM, 5 min easy between each
• Cool down 10 min

Sunday: 
Run 1:00
Main Set
• 3×10 min, start relaxed and end at tempo pace. Easy 2 min jog between.
• End with 6×20 sec strides/40 sec walk. Jog to reach total time.

Week 5

Monday:
Swim 1400

• 200 choice
• 4×25 build to fast, 10 sec rest
• 100 easy
• 400 time trial: Best possible effort today.
• 3×200 pull buoy/band/paddles aerobic, 10 sec rest BIKE 1:00 easy

Tuesday:
Brick
Bike
• Warm-up 10 min easy
• 4x(30 sec right leg only/30 sec both legs/30 sec left leg only/30 sec both legs)
• 2 min spin easy
• 5×30 sec hard/30 sec easy
• 5×1 min hard/1 min easy
• 5×2 min hard/2 min easy
• 5×1 min hard/1 min easy
• 5×30 sec hard/30 sec easy
• Easy 5 min

Run 40 min
• 10 min at target race pace
• 10×1 min slightly above race pace/30 sec race pace
• Cool down easy to reach total time

Wednesday:
Swim 2600
• 200 warm-up
• 4×50 descending pace 1–4, 10 sec rest
• Pull (buoy, band, paddles): 4x(100 fast, 300 mid race pace effort, 100 easy), 15 sec rest
• 200 easy

Bike 1:00
Warm-up, then:
• 6×5 min big gear (cadence 50–60 RPM)
• Take 5 min recovery at a cadence of 100 RPM between each interval
• Cool down 15 min
*Note: Effort on the 5 min is strength focused—hard tension, big gear, strong legs in TT position.

Thursday:
Rest Day

Friday:
Swim 2500
• 400 choice warm-up
Main Set (40×50)
• 16×50 as 1 fast, 3 steady (x4), all on 5 sec rest
• 12×50 as 1 fast, 2 steady (x4), all on 10 sec rest
• 8×50 as 1 fast, 1 steady (x4), all on 15 sec rest
• 4×50 all fast, 20 sec rest
• Do the first 16 with buoy and band (if you have band experience). Do the next 12 with no gear. Do the next 8 with small paddles.
• Cool-down as needed

Run 50 min, track
• Warm-up 10 min jog
• 4x strides
• 3×600 at 80%, 200 jog
• 2 min rest
• 6×200 at 85–90%, 200 jog
• Cool down jog and stretch

Saturday:
Bike 2:30
After a warm-up, include:
• 2x(3×15 min TT position at tempo effort, 5 min easy between, 80–90 RPM)

Sunday:
Run 1:10
On flat road or treadmill
• Warm-up 10–15 min
• 10×3 min tempo, build to threshold, 90 sec easy between
• Cool down 10 min easy

Week 6

Monday:
Swim 3300
• 100 swim, 4×50 build on 1:00
• 8×100 steady on 10 sec rest
• 200 easy
• 8×100 at race effort, 15 sec rest
• 200 easy
• 8×100 above race effort, 20 sec rest
• 200 easy

Bike 1:00
• 10×1 min RPM 105 light gear, 30 sec easy between
• 4×5 min 50–60 RPM, 2 min easy between
• Cool down easy to reach total time

Tuesday:
Brick
Bike 1:30
• Include 2×10 min tempo effort in race position, 4 min easy between
• 8×1 min hard, 2 min easy between
Run 30 min
• Include 5 min very easy, 5×2 min at race effort, 90 sec easy between
• Cool down easy to reach total time

Wednesday:
Swim 2000
• Continuous and relaxed—if you’re feeling good, the last 1000 should alternate fast/easy by 100

Bike 1:00
• Warm-up 15 min easy
• 30 min progressive big gear
• Start in a gear where you are pushing 70 RPM
• Work your way to bigger gears each 5–10 min, until the last 5 min (of the 30 min) you are pushing 50 RPM
• Do this on a flat road in race position.
• 15 min easy spin to finish

Thursday:
Rest Day

Friday:
Swim 1850
• 200 swim, 200 kick, 200 buoy only, 4×50 right hand paddle for 2/left hand paddle for 2
• 4×25 build to fast on :30
• 2×75 as 25 sprint/50 steady, 15 sec rest
• 100 max effort right into 100 steady
• 2×75 pull, 5 sec rest
• 3×50 descend 1–3 10 sec rest
• 4×25 sprint/equal rest
• 200 easy pull

Run 20 min
• 10×400 at threshold effort, 200 easy jog/walk between
• Cool down 5–10 min

Saturday:
Bike 2:00
• Warm up 5–10 min
• 2x(30 sec right leg only/1 min both legs/30 sec left leg only)
• 5 min progressive: Start in a gear that puts you at about 60% effort. Each min, click up one gear harder to work
your way to 80% by the end of the 5 min.
• 2 min easy Main Set
• TT best effort
• Build throughout the rep to best effort. This should be challenging! Go by feel to get your best possible TT effort today.
• 2×6 min TT effort/2 min easy
• 5 min recovery
• 2×6 min TT effort/2 min easy
• 5 min recovery
• 2×6 min/2 min easy
• Cool down easy to reach total time

Sunday:
Run 1:00
Split the run into thirds:
• Easy effort for first third
• Tempo effort second third
• Hold your tempo pace in final third, effort may increase a bit to threshold
Always start at an effort that leaves you room to finish strong. This is an endurance session, keep the effort comfortably aerobic at all times. If you find that you have to raise HR by more than 5% to hold steady pace, it is best to dial down the middle pace so you don’t have to “race” at the end of the workout.

Week 7

Monday:
Swim 3025
• 3×200 as 1 swim, 1 pull, 1 kick w/fins
• 15×100 as 1 relaxed on 10 sec rest, 2 steady on 5 sec rest, 2 faster on 5 sec rest, repeat.
• 100 easy
• 25×25 fast on 10 sec rest
• 200 cool-down

Tuesday:
Brick
Bike 1:30
30 min easy, 8×3 min TT at threshold, 85–95 RPM, 3 min easy between, spin easy to finish up

Run 30 min
10 min easy/10 min at target race pace/10 min easy

Wednesday:
Swim 2200
• 200 warm-up
• 4×50 single arm swimming with fins on. Right arm for 25/left arm for 25
• 200 pull
• 4×50 scull
• 200 pull
• 4×50 finger tip drag drill
• 200 pull
• 4×50 using a kick board as your buoy like a shark fin
• 200 pull
• 4×50 kick fast
• 200 pull

Bike 1:30
Include the following:
• 3x8min big gear on a slight incline (2–3%),cadence 50–60 RPM
• Recovery is 4 min, 100 RPM

Thursday:
Rest Day

Friday:
Swim 1500
• 200 swim, 8×50 descend 1–4 on 10 sec rest, 100 kick
• 2x(10×25 fast with fins/equal rest, 200 swim relaxed)
• 4×75 as 25 drill/50 swim non-free

Run 1:00, track
• Warm-up 15–20 min
• 6 strides, light stretching
• 1200/800/600/400/200 (just over 10K pace), 200 jog (1 min) between each
• 800/600/400/200 (at 10K pace), 400 jog (2 min) between each
• 600/400/200 (at 5K pace), 400 jog (2 min) between each

Saturday:
Bike 1:30
• Include 2x(3×4 min at threshold, 2 min easy between in TT position at 85–95 RPM) 5 min easy between rounds

Run 30 min, easy

Sunday:
Run 45 min
• Warm up exactly like race day. Then practice your first three miles exactly like you want to run on race day. End with 6x strides with walking recoveries.

Week 8

Monday:
Swim 2600
Threshold focus:
• Warm up 200 choice, 6×50 as descending 1–3, 15 sec rest, 100 easy
• Main Set
• 2 rounds of 8×100 at race pace, 10 sec rest
• 100 easy between rounds. Pace consistently across the set.
• Cool-down: 200 pull/paddles cruise, 200 kick/swim easy

Tuesday:
Brick
Bike 45 min
• Warm-up: 10 min
• 3×2 min, build to 85% of race effort, 2 min between each interval
• 10 min easy
• 5 min at tempo
• Cool down easy to reach total time

Run 10 min
• Off the bike as 3 min at race pace, 5×30 sec fast/30 sec walk, 2 min jog to finish

Wednesday:
Swim 1200
• 100 swim, 100 back, 100 scull
• 3×200 buoy only, 10 sec rest
• 8×25 kick build to fast, 15 sec rest • 100easy

Bike 45 min, easy

Thursday:
Rest Day
Today is a good day for a pre-race massage!

Friday:
Pre-Race Workouts
Run
• Pre-race: 10 min easy, include 4×30 sec strides (con- trolled, smooth, faster than race pace, but not forced). Full recovery between strides, 2 min jog.
Bike
• On the race course: Warm-up for 15 min easy, then ride 5 min progressive build to a comfortable but steady effort around race pace. Ride 5 min easy, then 4×30 sec faster than race pace with 90 sec easy between each. Cool down with 10 min easy.
Swim
• On the race course: Warm up 100 mixed strokes, easy. Then do a progressive build effort for 100, followed by 50 easy. Practice 2–3 race starts with 10 strokes fast followed by easy swimming back to the start in between. Finish with 100 easy, mixed strokes.
• Have a look at sighting markers, the entry and exit paths to/from transition, and for any currents in the water.

Saturday:
Race Day
• Warm-up: Jog 3 min very easy, 2×1 min build to race effort, 30 sec walk, 3 min jog.
• If possible, get in the water to do 2–3 10 stroke pick-ups with full recovery followed by a couple easy minutes.
• Alternatively, try the swim cord routine at Triathlete. com/swimcordwarmup.

Sunday:
CELEBRATE!

Download a PDF version of this training plan here.

Marilyn Chychota is a former elite cyclist and triathlete who coaches for Endurance Corner.