This swim-focused training plan is designed for beginner to intermediate triathletes.

This swim-focused training plan is designed for beginner to intermediate triathletes. It will prepare a novice triathlete for his or her first international distance race or help an experienced athlete be more confident in the swim.

This plan requires about 8–12 hours of training per week, so even the busiest athletes can complete the entire program.
Based on your swim endurance and available time in the pool, complete the main set once or twice. Cycling and run training can be adjusted or moved around to fit your life schedule. Try to be diligent with the “little things” like stretching, yoga, icing and hydration. See the plan below, or download the PDF version here.

Swim Notes

Choose one of these warm-up and cool-down sets or use a similar version of your own. The main set can be completed twice based on the level of the individual swimmer.

Warm-up options:
❚ 400 swim
❚ 6×50 w/ :15 rest (kick/drill by 25)
❚ 6×50 swim w/ :15 rest (de- scend 1–3)
❚ 200 swim/200 pull/200 kick/200 swim
❚ 8×25 w/ :15 rest (3 FAST!, 1 easy)
❚ 400 swim/300 pull/200 kick/100 Tarzan Drill
❚ 600 (100 free/50 non-free, repeat)
❚ 6×75 w/ :15 rest (25 FAST kick, 50 swim)

Cool-down options:
❚ 200 easy swim
❚ 300 (50 kick/100 swim, repeat)
❚ 4×50 w/ :10 rest (25 non- free/25 free)
❚ 200 w/ board (50 kick/50 Sailboat Drill)

DrillS

Tarzan Drill: Swim freestyle with your head out of the water. Look forward as if you were sighting a buoy or landmark in open water. Keep your head out of the water for the entire 25 to strengthen your neck muscles for triathlon swimming!

Sailboat Drill: Hold a kick-board between your thighs. Make sure half of the board is sticking below your body when you swim freestyle. Use your core muscles to control your hip rotation (while the board tries to prevent rota- tion).

Run/Bike Effort Levels

Easy: comfortable pace; you can enjoy the scenery and chat with training partners
Moderate: On the bike, 40K race pace; on the run, 10K pace; limited communication, heavy breathing is present
Hard: Strong pace, the maxi- mum effort that you can sustain for 5–10 min

Strength and Stretching

I highly recommend following a structured program written by a personal trainer. Attend yoga class or stretch on your own for 30–60 min once or twice per week.

Week 1: Build Week

Monday
Swim
❚ 5×100 swim w/ :15 rest (descend 1–5)
❚ 5×100 pull w/ :15 rest (descend 1–5)

Gym & Strength
30–45 min

Tuesday
Run
30 min easy

Yoga and Stretching
30–60 min

Wednesday
Swim
❚ 2×50 swim w/ :10 rest (FAST!)
❚ 400 pull (breathe every 5 strokes)
❚ 5×100 w/ :15 rest (25 non- free/75 free)

Gym & Strength
30–45 min

Thursday
Run
30 min as 10 min easy, 15 min moderate, 5 min easy

Yoga & Strength
30–60 min

Friday
Rest day or optional swim

Optional Swim
❚ 12×50 swim w/ :10 rest (3 strong, 1 easy)
❚ 2×200 pull w/ :20 rest

Saturday
Bike
90 min, easy to moderate effort

Swim
*Test Set*: 4×300 w/ :20 rest (Swim strong and try to hit similar times on all four. Record your times for future reference.)

Sunday
Bike
60 min, include 5×2 min hill climbs

Run (Off The Bike)
20 min, easy

Week 2: Speed Week

Monday
Swim
❚ 4×100 swim w/ :15 rest (descend 1-4)
❚ 4×100 pull w/ :15 rest (descend 1-4)
❚ 4×100 swim w/ :15 rest (descend 1-4) G 30–45 min

Tuesday
Run
45 min, easy

Yoga & Stretching
30–60 min

Wednesday
Swim
❚ 4×25 swim w/ :10 rest (FAST!)
❚ 4×200 swim w/ :20 rest (strong)
❚ 2×150 w/ :20 (50 non-free/50 free/50 kick)

Gym & Strength
30–45 min

Thursday
Run 
30min as 10 min easy, 4×2 min hard with 2 min easy between each, 5 min easy

Yoga & Stretching
30–60 min

Friday
Rest day or optional swim

Optional Swim
❚ 10×75 pull w/ :15 rest (descend 1–5, 6–10)
❚ 400 swim (25 Tarzan Drill/75 swim, repeat)

Saturday
Bike
2 hrs as 45 min easy warm-up, 4×4 min hard effort with 4 min easy between each, 45 min easy cool-down

Optional Swim
Make up any swim workout you have missed

Sunday
Bike
75 min as 30 min warm-up, 2×10 min moderate with 5 min easy between, 20 min cool-down

Run (Off the Bike)
20 min as 5 min hard, 15 min cool-down

Week 3: Recovery Week

Monday
Swim

❚ 3×200 swim w/ :30 rest (descend 1-3)
❚ 3×200 pull w/ :30 rest (descend 1–3)

Gym & Strength
30–45 min

Tuesday
Run
40 min easy

Yoga & Strength
30-60 min

Wednesday

Swim
❚ 4×75 swim w/ :15 rest (25 FAST!/50 smooth)
❚ 4×150 swim w/ :20 rest (strong)
❚ 300 (25 FAST kick/50 swim, repeat)

Gym & Strength
30–45 min

Thursday
Run
30 min 10 min easy warm-up, 10 min moderate, 10 min easy

Yoga & Strength
30–60 min

Friday
Rest day or optional swim

Optional Swim
❚ 6×100 swim w/ :15 rest (No walls)
❚ 4×150 pull
w/ :20 rest (descend by 50)

Saturday
Bike
90 min as 30 min easy warm- up, 30 min moderte, 30 min easy cool-down

Swim
*Test Set*: 4×300 w/ :20 rest (Swim strong and try to hold similar times on all four. Record your times for future reference.)

Sunday
Bike
60 min as 30 min easy warm-up, 20 min moderate, 10 min hard

R (Off the Bike)
30 min easy

Week 4: Build Week

Monday
Swim
❚ 4×100 swim
w/ :15 rest (descend 1–4)
❚ 6×100 pull
w/ :15 rest (descend 1–3, 4–6)
❚ 4×100 swim w/ :15 rest (descend 1–4) G 30–45 min

Tuesday
Run

60 min easy

Yoga & Stretching
30-60 min

Wednesday
Swim
2x through:
❚ 4×50 swim w/ :15 rest
(25 FAST/25 easy)
❚ 300 pull (breathe every
5 strokes)
❚ 200 swim
(50 non-free/50 free, repeat)

Gym & Strength
30–45 min

Thursday
Run
30 min as 10 min easy warm- up, 2×7 min moderate with 2 min easy between each, 4 min easy cool-down

Yoga & Stretching
30–60 min

Friday
Rest day or optional swim

Optional S
wim
❚ 8×50 swim w/ :15 kick on wall between each
❚ 1000 swim (nonstop)

Saturday
Bike
2 hours as 40 min easy warm-up, 2×20 min moderate with 10 min easy between each, 30 min easy cool- down

Optional Swim
Make up any swim workout you have missed

Sunday
Bike
60 min, include 8×2 min hill climbs

Run (Off the Bike)
30 min: 5 min hard, 5 min easy, 5 min hard, 15 min cool-down

Week 5: Speed Week


Swim

❚ 5×100 swim w/ :15 rest (descend 1–5)
❚ 5×100 pull w/ :15 rest (descend 1–5)
❚ 5×100 swim w/ :15 rest (descend 1–5)

Gym & Strength
30–45 min

Tuesday
Run
45 min easy

Yoga & Stretching
30-60 min

Wednesday
Swim
❚ 12×25 w/ :10 rest (2 FAST!/1 non-free, repeat)
❚ 4×150 pull w/ :20 rest (breathe every 5)
❚ 3×200 w/ : 20 rest (25 kick/75 swim, repeat)

Gym & Strength
30–45 min

Thursday
Run
30 min as 10 min easy warm- up, 3×3 min hard with 2 min easy between each, 7 min cool-down

Yoga & Stretching
30–60 min

Friday
Rest day or optional swim

Optional S
wim
❚ 12×25 w/ :10 rest (2 FAST!/1 non-free, repeat)
❚ 4×150 pull w/ :20 rest (breathe every 5)
❚ 3×200 w/ :20 rest (25 kick/75 swim, repeat)

Saturday
Bike
2 hours as 45 min easy warm-up, 5×5 min hard effort with 5 min easy between each, 30 min easy cool-down

Swim
*Test Set*: 4×300 w/ :20 rest (Swim strong 
and try to hold similar times on all 4. Record your times for future reference.)

Sunday
Bike

60 min as 15 min easy warm-up, 15 min moderate, 15 min easy, 15 min moderate

Run (Off the Bike)
30 min as 15 moderate, 15 easy cool-down

Week 6: Taper Week

Monday
Swim

❚ 4×100 pull w/ :20 rest (descend 1–4)
❚ 4×100 swim w/ :20 rest (descend 1–4)

Tuesday
Run
20 min easy

Yoga & Stretching
30 min

Wednesday
Swim

❚ 2×50 swim
w/ :20 rest (FAST!)
❚ 400 pull w/ :30 rest (smooth/ easy)
❚ 3×100 w/ :20 rest (25 non-free/75 free)

Thursday
Rest day

Optional Yoga & Stretching
30 min

Friday
Swim
❚ 6×50 swim
w/ :20 rest
(3 strong, 1 easy)
❚ 3×150 pull
w/ :30 rest (easy/smooth)

Saturday
Bike

20–30 min easy, bike the run course if possible

Sunday
RACE DAY

Good luck and have fun!

Downlaod a printable version of the training plan here