Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

How to Get Race-Ready In Six Weeks

It looks like your race is likely going to happen, but you only have about six weeks to get ready for the start. This plan from coach Ryan Bolton is for you.


Member Exclusive

Become a member to unlock this story and receive other great perks.

Join

Already a member?

Sign In

While 2020 was the season of cancellations, 2021 is the season of hoping your race actually happens. But what do you do when you discover your race is really going to take place and now you only have six weeks to go from being a steady-state diesel engine to a race-ready machine? We teamed up with Olympian and coach Ryan Bolton, who works with pro triathletes like Ben Hoffman, Heather Jackson, and Sam Long, to get his insights on getting ready for that start line. 

Coach Bolton has written a full six-week race-ready training program, which includes detailed swim, bike, and run workouts, that you can find detailed below. 

Bolton’s advice and plan is targeted at those racing the 70.3 distance who already have a solid aerobic foundation—you’ve been training consistently throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and have a history of racing—and you can dedicate about 15-20 hours/week to training. To properly transition into a race preparation focus like this, you should already be swimming three times a week (covering 10K+), riding three times a week (~100 miles), and running three to four times a week (with a consistent weekly base of ~25 miles). While you will not need to have done many specific interval workouts in each, you’ll need to at least have base mileage and have done some strength too.

For those who are newer to racing or don’t have this foundation, Bolton advises scaling everything back by at least 20%. 

“Over the first three weeks you want to hit higher volume and really advance your fitness,” he said. “Including some VO2 max work will help you get some bang for your buck, as well as some sports-specific strength, such as running hills.”

However, with just six weeks, you want to then quickly move to race-specific work, and drop the volume at the start of week four to let you freshen up from the load. Then ramp up again heading into the weekend of week four before starting to sharpen for race day.

Throughout the plan below, workouts are prescribed using training zones. In addition, functional threshold power (FTP) is used for many bike workouts, while threshold pace is used for some swim workouts. Bolton said: “These are all markers of fitness that this plan assumes you already have in place in your training having undertaken benchmark testing across all three disciplines.” You can check out our Fitter & Faster podcast, Everything Triathletes Need to Know about Training Zones, which includes an interview with Coach Bolton talking about how to implement benchmark testing and use training zones to maximize your workouts.

Zone 1 >> Aerobic/Recovery
Zone 2 >> Endurance
Zone 3 >> Intensive Endurance
Zone 4 >> Sub-Threshold
Zone 5 >> (a) Threshold (b) Anaerobic Endurance (c) Power

Related: How to Establish Triathlon Training Zones

Get Race Ready: Six-Week Plan

Week 1

Day Workout Title Workout Type Workout Description
Monday 1,2,3,5 Pyramid with Kicks Swim, 65 min. Rest intervals in parentheses
Warm up: 4 x 200 (20)
1: Swim
2: Stroke (anything but free)
3: Kick
4: Pull
8 x 50 drill (15)
Main Set: All swims should be at 5 seconds per 100 slower than threshold pace: 100 swim (no rest after each swim); 50 kick (20); 200 swim; 50 kick (20); 300 swim; 50 kick (20); 500 pull (20); 300 swim; 50 kick (20); 200 swim; 50 kick (20); 100 swim; 50 kick (20)
200 easy cool down
(3400)
Core and Mobility Work Strength 30 min. program of your choice
Tuesday Torque Intervals (8 x 5 min. at 55 rpm) Bike, 2hr 10 Warm-up: 30 min. in Z1/2.
On flat to slightly uphill terrain do 8 x 5 min. at 55 rpm in Z4 with steady, constant pressure on the pedals. 5 min. spin between each interval.
Ride in Z1 + Z2 for the last 20 min. of the ride.
Off the Bike Run 20 min. Z1/2. Just find your legs and hold steady. Relaxed and in control.
Wednesday Hill Repeats (Long) Run, 75 min. Warm-up: 15 min. in Z1/2.
Run 8 x 800 meter hills. The hill should be at a 4% to 6% grade. Focus on driving legs and arms up the hill. Build heart rate into high Z4 on each one. Jog down 400 meters between each one (get heart rate to zone 2 or lower). Push hard!
10 min. cool down.
Anaerobic Endurance Swim, 1 hr. Warm-up: 300 swim; 100 kick; 200 pull; 8 x 50 drill (10)
Main Set: 4 x 200 at threshold +5 seconds per 100 (15); 4 x 150 at Threshold +5 seconds per 100 (15); 4 x 100 at Threshold +5 seconds per 100 (15); 4 x 50 Fast! (30)
Cool-down: 200 choice
(3200)
Thursday Aerobic Base Bike, 90 min. Relatively easy ride. Base and aerobic building. Keep the cadence high. Z1/2.
Core and Mobility Work Strength 30 min. program of your choice
Friday Aerobic Base Run, 40 min. Aerobic run at a conversational pace, Z1/2. Light and easy with good form and good cadence (90+ foot strikes a minute (per foot)).
200, 300, 400 x2 Swim, 75 min. Warm-up: 200 swim; 100 kick; 200 swim; 100 kick; 8 x 50 drill or stroke (no free) (10)
Main Set: 2 x rounds of: [200 Fast (10); 300 Swim (Steady) (15); 400 Pull (30)] 200 Easy Kick 6 x 50 fast (30)
Cool-down: 200 easy
(3700)
Saturday Endurance Intervals Bike, 3hr 10. Warm-up: 45 min. Z1 + 2.
6 x 1 minute "primer" repeats in Z4 with 2 min. recovery between each in Z1.
After the last one, go into 5 x 15 min. repeats in Z3. This should feel smooth and steady. Ride in the higher ends of the zone if feeling good. Lock in the pace and hold.
5 minute recovery intervals in Z1 after each.
Cool-down: 25 min. easy spin.
Off the Bike Run, 30 min. Z1/2. Just get your legs and hold steady. Relaxed and in control.
Sunday Long Run: 3 Tiered Progression Run, 2hr. 3 loop (or three sectioned) long run: 1st loop is warm-up; 2nd loop is moderate/steady in Z3; 3rd loop is strong (Z4, race pace). Aim for 5 miles per loop/section or adapt based on fitness/ability. Walk to cool down.
Drills Swim, 40 min. Warm-up: 800 meters choice.
8 x 50 drills for your technique limiter (20) 6x50 fast form (30).
Cool-down: 500 easy
(2000)

Week 2

Day Workout Title Workout Type Workout Description
Monday 5,4,3,2,1 with 5x100 Threshold Swim, 70 min. Warm-up: 200 swim; 100 kick; 200 pull; 100 kick; 8 x 50 drill (10)
Main Set: At threshold +5 seconds per 100:
500 Free (20); 400 Pull (20); 300 Free (15); 200 I.M. (15); 100 Free (fast)
1 minute rest
5 x 100 at threshold (10)
200 kick
Cool-down: 200 swim
(3400)
Core and Mobility Work Strength 30 min. program of your choice
Tuesday Tempo with Anaerobic Capacity Intervals Bike, 2hr. Warm-up: 30 min. in Z1 with high cadence (100+ RPM).
Ride 1 hour steady in zone 3 (76%-90% FTP). This won't feel super easy, so concentrate on keeping the power up. Immediately go into 4 x 2 minutes (with 3 min. recovery) in power zone 6 (120%-150% FTP). These will be a good push.
Cool-down: Spin easy in Z1 + 2
Off the bike Run, 20 min. Z1 + 2. Just get your legs and hold steady. Relaxed and in control.
Wednesday Pyramid Tempo Mid-Distance Run, 75 min. Warm-up: 15 min. Z1 + 2.
Then: 15 min. Steady Z3; 15 min. Z4; 15 min. Steady Z3; 15 min. Z1-2.
400 Free, 200 Pull, 200 Kick (x3) Swim, 65 min. Warm-up: 200 swim; 100 kick; 200 pull; 6 x 50 drill or stroke (no free) (10)
Main Set: 3 x [400 free (5 seconds per 100 slower than threshold) (20); 200 pull (aerobic, focus on form) (20); 200 kick (steady) (30)]
Cool-down: 200 easy
(3400)
Thursday Aerobic Base Bike, 90 min. Relatively easy ride. Base and aerobic building. Keep the cadence high and stay in Z1/2.
Core and Mobility Work Strength 30 min. Program of your choice
Friday Neuromuscular Run Run, 45 min. Warm-up: Run for about 35 min. in Z1/2.
Then run 6 x 30 left-foot steps on grass or a soft surface. Goal = 19-20 seconds. Walk recovery between each stride (approximately 1 min.) Aim for perfect form!
Z1 cool-down for 5 min.
200 fast, 12 x 100, 200 fast Swim, 75 min. Warm-up: 300 swim; 200 kick; 200 pull; 8 x 50 drill (10)
Main Set: 200 (fast) (10); 12 x 100 (threshold) (10) 200 (fast) 2 min. rest 3 x 300 pull (20) 100 Kick easy
200 Cool-down
(3900)
Saturday Long Run: 1 "on"/1 "off" Run, 2hr 15 min. Warm up for 4 miles.
Then run 1 mile "on", 1 mile "off". Don't run too slow for the offs (this is important). Repeat for a total of 5 times. After the last one, run one mile very fast!
1 mile cool down.
Form and Drill Work Swim, 40 min. Swim several long, easy sets. For example, 6 x 200 or 4 x 300, each with 30 seconds recovery. Focus on form and keep it very aerobic. Then, do 6 x 50 drill for your technique limiter with 30 sec. recovery after each. Finish with 300 swimming and kicking.
(1800)
Sunday Hilly Ride with Elevated Efforts Bike, 4hr Ride 30 min. Z1/2.
Then ride 3 hr. on hilly terrain, mostly in Z2/3, with 30 min. of it in higher Z4, which can be sustained or cumulative.
Spin home for 30 min.
Off the Bike Run, 30 min. Gradually build to Z3 and hold steady. Pay close attention to breathing and effort level. Fast, but very much in control.

Week 3

Day Workout Title Workout Type Workout Description
Monday 1000, 500, 10 x 100 Swim, 70 min. Warm-up: 200 choice; 5x100 descend 1 to 5 (30)
Main set: 1000, steady with good form, all aerobic (30) 500: 75 easy, 25 fast (1:00) 10x100: At race pace/threshold) (15)
Cool-down: 300 easy
(3500)
Core and Mobility Work Strength 30 min. Program of your choice
Tuesday 40:20s Bike, 2hr 5 min. Warm-up: 30 min. Z1/2.
3 x 15 min. As 40 sec. Hard, 20 sec. Spin easy. Repeat. After each 15 min. set do 10 min. recovery spin.
Cool-down: 20 min. Easy spin.
Off the bike Run, 30 min. Z1/2. Just find your legs and hold steady. Relaxed and in control.
Wednesday Fartlek Run (1-5-1 Pyramid) Run, 75 min. Warm-up: 20 min.
Then do the following pyramid straight through:
1 min. "on"
30 sec. "off"
2 min. "on"
1 min. "off"
3 min. "on"
1.5 min. "off"
4 min. "on"
2 min. "off"
5 min. "on"
2.5 min. "off"
4 min. "on"
2 min. "off"
3 min. "on"
1.5 min. "off"
2 min. "on"
1 min. "off"
1 min. "on"
30 sec. "off"
Ons should be at faster than race pace and offs should be at 1:00 slower per mile than race pace (not too slow).
Cool-down: 15 min. easy
Descending 300s Swim, 70 min. Warm-up: 100 swim easy; 50 kick easy; 100 swim easy; 50 kick moderate; 100 swim moderate.
Main Set: Start slow and decrease times for each 300. 4 x 300 (30) at aerobic effort (5 seconds per 100 slower than threshold pace).
Kick 50 easy.
3 x 300 (30) at aerobic effort (5 seconds slower per 100 than threshold pace).
Kick 50 easy.
2 x 300 (30) at aerobic effort (5 seconds slower per 100 than threshold pace).
Cool-down: 100 drill of your choice, 300 swim (3500)
Thursday Aerobic Base Bike, 90 min. Relatively easy ride, Z1/2. Base and aerobic building. Keep the cadence high.
Core and Mobility Work Strength 30 min. Program of your choice
Friday Aerobic Base Run, 45 min. All aerobic run at a conversational pace, Z1/2. Light and easy with good form and good cadence (90+ foot strikes a minute (per foot)).
400s with fast starts Swim, 70 min. Warm up 800 choice.
Main Set: 4 x 400, first 200 ALL OUT, second 200 try to maintain a steady pace. Rest 3 min. between each. 400 pull, easy.
Cool-down: 200 very easy
(3000)
Saturday 10/2 intervals Bike, 3hr 10 min. Warm-up: 30 min. Z1/2.
Then, 10 min. high Z3, 5 min. spin, 2 min. Z5 - push! 10 min. spin. Repeat for a total of 5 times.
Cool-down: 30 min.
Drills Swim, 40 min. Warm-up: 800 choice
8 x 50 drills for your technique limiter (20)
6 x 50 fast form (30)
Cool-down: 500 easy
(2000)
Sunday Tempo Finish Bike with Quality Long Run Brick, 3hr. Ride for 1.5 hr. steady Z1-3. Lock in a good pace and hold steady. Near the end of the ride, be sure to be in Z3 for at least 30 min. going into transition. Transition to a 1.5hr run in Z1-4 on rolling terrain. Let your heart-rate rise. Try to get 30 min. of running in Z4 (tempo, near race pace). The last 15 min.should be a cool-down. Focus on nutrition!

Week 4

Day Workout Title Workout Type Workout Description
Monday 4x250, 2x500 Swim, 1hr. Warm-up: 200 swim (30); 100 kick (30); 200 pull; (30); 6x50 drill (15)
Main Set: 4 x 250 as swim 100 moderate, 50 fast, 100 moderate (20)
2 x 500: Swim 2nd 250 10 seconds faster than 1st (30)
Cool-down: 200 easy
(3000)
Core and Mobility Work Strength 30 min. Program of your choice
Tuesday Spin Ups Bike, 90 min. Ride for 50 minutes in Z1/2. Then do 8 x spin ups where you spin up to a high cadence. When you start bouncing in your seat, back off and recover for 2 min. Then repeat. Don't push a big gear on the spin ups. Focus on a good pedal stroke.
Off the Bike Run, 15 min. Z1/2. Just get your legs and hold steady. Relaxed and in control.
Wednesday Moderate Run with 100 Meter Sprints Run, 1hr. Run easy/moderate in Z1-3. Near the end do 10 x 100 meter sprints with 1.5 min. easy jog/rest after each. These should be very quick, but in control! Focus on turnover. Allow for 5 min. of easy cool down running after the last sprint.
Aerobic descending intervals: 300s. Swim, 45 min. Warm-up: 100 swim easy, 50 kick easy, 100 swim moderate, 50 kick moderate, 100 swim build speed, 50 kick build speed, 50 swim fast! Swim this straight through.
Main Set: 4 x 300 (20). Start aerobic and get 10 seconds faster each 300. The last one should be at threshold pace.
Kick 300 steady
Swim 6 x 50 fast! (30)
Cool-down: 200 easy (2500)
Thursday Recovery Spin Bike, 1hr. Very easy spin in Z1. Take it really easy.
Core and Mobility Work Strength 30 min. Program of your choice
Friday Variably paced 75s Swim, 75 min.
Warm-up: 300 swim (30), 100 kick (30), 300 pull (30), 100 kick Main Set: 4 x 75 (10) as 25 fast, 25 slow, 25 fast. 1 min. rest
4 x 75 (10) as 25 fast, 25 slow, 25 fast. 1 min. rest
4 x 75 (10) as 25 fast, 25 slow, 25 fast. 1 min. rest
4 x 75 (10): 25 fast, 25 slow, 25 fast. 1 min. rest
8 x 25 fast (30)
Cool-down: 500 easy with a focus on form
(2700)
Aerobic Recovery Run Run, 30 min. Very light and easy. Z1. Controlled, smooth and relaxed.
Saturday 20 Min. 70.3 Repeats Bike, 3hr. Warm-up: 30 min. Z1/2.
Then do 5 x 1 minute "primer" repeats in high zone 4 with 2 min. recovery spins in Z1 between each. After the last one, do 5 x 20 min. repeats at 70.3 race power with 3 min. recovery spins in Z1 between each.
Cool-down: 20 min.
Off the Bike Run, 20 min. Gradually build to Z3 and hold steady. Pay close attention to breathing and effort level. Fast, but very much in control.
Sunday Long Run: Quick Start with Tempo Run, 1hr 55 min. 1 mile warm-up. Then run 1 mile at race pace. Fall directly into 10 miles at 30-60 seconds per mile slower than race pace. Then speed up and run 1 mile at race pace again. Finish with 1 mile aerobic run in Z1/2.
Form and Drill Work Swim, 40 min. Swim several long, easy sets. For example, 6 x 200 or 4 x 300, each with 30 seconds recovery. Focus on form and keep it very aerobic. Then, do 6 x 50 drill for your technique limiter with 30 sec. recovery after each. Finish with 300 swimming and kicking (1800)

Week 5

Day Workout Title Workout Type Workout Description
Monday Descending Intervals Swim, 70 min. Warm-up: 400 swim, 200 kick, 200 pull, 8 x 50 drill (15)
Main Set: 300 Swim (15), 300 Pull (15), 100 Swim (fast!)
(1 min. rest)
200 Swim (15), 200 Pull (15), 100 Swim (fast!) (1 min. rest)
100 Swim (15), 100 Pull (15), 100 Swim (fast!) (1 min. rest) 3 x 100 Kick (15)
Cool-down: 300 choice (3300)
Core and Mobility Work Strength 30 min. Program of your choice
Tuesday 6 min. Time Trials with Tempo Bike, 2hr. 15 min. Warm-up: 20 min. in Z1/2.
Then do 5 x 6 min. high Z4 to low Z5 with 5 min. Z1 recovery intervals between.
After the last interval go into a 20-min. effort at mid to high Z3. If feeling good, push the high end. Finish with 30 min. easy riding.
Wednesday Tempo Bike with 1K Run Repeats Brick, 2hr. 30 min. Bike: Warm up for 30 min. Z1/2. Then ride 45 min. steady in Z3 (76%-90% FTP).
Transition immediately to run: Get your legs under you for 10 min. by running in Z1/2. Then, go directly into 6 x 1000 meter repeats at projected race pace. These should feel hard, but in total control. 1.5 min. easy jog between each. 10 min. cool down.
300, 200, 100 x3 (3000) Swim, 1hr. Warm-up: 200 swim (30); 100 Kick (30); 200 Pull (30); 8 x 50 drill (10)
Main Set - Repeat 3x rounds with 1 min. rest after each round: 300 swim (5 seconds per 100 slower than threshold) (20)
200 swim steady (5 seconds per 100 slower than threshold ) (15)
100 swim fast
100 kick
200 Cool-down
(3000)
Thursday Aerobic Base Bike, 75 min. Relatively easy ride in Z1/2. Keep cadence high.
Core and Mobility Work Strength 30 min. Program of your choice
Friday Strides Run, 40 min. Run for about 30 min. in Z1/2.
Then run 6 x 30 left-foot steps on grass or a soft surface. Goal = 19-20 sec. Walk recovery between each stride (approximately 1 min.) Aim for perfect form!
Cool-down: Z1 for 5 min.
200, 100, 50, 25 Swim, 50 min. Warm-up: 200 swim, 100 kick, 200 pull, 4 x 50 drill (10) 4 x 50 descend 1-4 (15)
Main Set: All near max. effort, but with good form: 2 x 200 fast (1:30), 100 very easy swim, 4 x 100 fast (1:30), 100 very easy swim, 4 x 50 fast (1:00), 100 very easy swim, 4 x 25 fast (1:00)
Cool-down: 200 easy (2500)
Saturday Pyramid Brick Brick, 2.5 hr. Ride 30 min. to warm up Then do a pyramid:
1 min. (Z5)
3 min. (Z4)
6 min. (high Z3)
12 min. (mid-Z3)
6 min. (high Z3)
3 min. (Z4)
1 min. (Z%)
Take equal ratio recovery to work intervals, e.g. 1 min Z5, 1 min. Easy.
Spin down for the last 30 min.
Transition to a 45 min. steady run. Build to Z3 and hold steady.
Sunday Moderate run with 200 strides Run, 1hr. Moderate run in Z1-3. Near the end, do 6 x 200 meter strides where you build from slow to fast within each one. 200 jog recovery between each. Allow for 5 min. of cool down after the last one.
Drills Swim, 40 min. Warm-up: 800 meters choice.
8 x 50 drills for your technique limiter (20)
6 x 50 fast form (30)
500 easy cool down.
(2000)

Week 6

Day Workout Title Workout Type Workout Description
Monday Variable pace 200s Swim, 1hr. Warm-up: Build effort on each rep. 100 swim, 100 kick, 100 swim, 100 kick, 100 swim.
Main Set: Each numbered set is done non-stop as a 200.
#1—100 easy, 50 mod, 50 fast (10).
#2—50 easy, 100 mod, 50 fast (20).
#3—50 easy, 50 mod, 100 fast (30).
#4—100 fast, 50 easy, 50 mod (20).
#5—50 fast, 100 easy, 50 mod (10).
#6—50 fast, 50 easy, 100 mod (60).
Repeat the entire set (#1-#6).
Cool-down: 200 easy
(3100)
Tuesday Accelerations Bike, 90 min. Spin for 45 min. as a warm up. Then do 6 x 90 sec. accelerations building to Z5. Recover for 3 min. after each. Spin easy home.
Off the Bike Run, 15 min. Z1/2. Just get your legs and hold steady. Relaxed and in control.
Wednesday 1-min. accelerations Run, 1hr. 50 min. run in Z1/2 with 8 x 1-min. efforts at just under race pace in the latter part of the run (after the 21 min. mark). Recover jog for 2 min. between each. Allow for 5 min. of cool down after the last acceleration.
150s, 75s, 25s (2700) Swim, 50 min. Warm up: 200 swim (30), 100 kick (30), 200 pull (30), 4 x 50 drill
Main Set: 8 x 150 aerobic (easier than threshold) (10) 1 min. Rest
6 x 75 aerobic (easier than threshold) (10) 1 min. rest
4 x 25 (Fast) (30)
50 kick easy
200 choice cool-down
(2700)
Thursday Recovery Spin Bike, 1hr. Very easy spin, Z1. Take it really easy.
Core and Mobility Work Strength 30 min. Program of your choice
Friday Strides Run, 30 min. Run for about 30 min. in Z1/2.
Then run 6 x 30 left-foot steps on grass or a soft surface. Goal = 19-20 sec. Walk recovery between each stride (approximately 1 min.) Aim for perfect form!
Cool-down: Z1 for 5 min.
Fast 50s and 25s Swim, 40 min. Warm-up: 300 Choice, 4 x 50 drill (10), 4 x 50 descend 1-4 (15)
Main Set: 8 x 25: Odds fast, evens easy (30) 
100 swim easy
4 x 50: First 25 all out, 2nd 25 easy (30)
100 swim easy
4 x 50: Very fast (1 min.)
100 swim easy
4 x 25: Very fast (1 min.)
Cool-down: 200 very easy
(1900)
Saturday Course Preview Swim, 15 min. Do several (6 to 10) very short accelerations (25 to 50 meters) at race pace. Easy swimming between each for 30 sec. Be sure to check out the start and finish area. This is best done in the morning near race time.
Pre-race; Bike 30, Run 15 with accelerations Brick, 45 min. Pre-race brick. Bike about 30 min., run about 15 min. on the race course if possible. Include 4 short race efforts of 1 min. on each with 2 min. rest between each effort. 5 min. of easy aerobic spin/jog at the end of each respective workout.
Sunday Race Day! Let's go!