Training

12 Weeks to Your Olympic Triathlon PR

This plan from top coach Jim Vance is ideal for the triathlete who struggles to translate their training successes on race day.

This Olympic triathlon training schedule and plan is for someone who had done triathlon before, but struggles to get the stress/rest balance right. If you struggle to translate your training success to race day, then this plan will help you solve that. This plan will help athletes to progress workouts properly, and show up to the start line healthy and ready to perform.

Meet Your Coach

Jim Vance is a San Diego-based coach and author of Triathlon 2.0 and Run with Power. He’s also the head coach for Formula Endurance, a USA Triathlon High Performance Team that focuses on junior development.

NOTE: If an athlete doesn’t show consistent improvement in this Olympic triathlon training schedule, a full day of recovery should be included each week.

Key

Swim Base: Aerobic interval, can complete the distance and still have about 3-5 secs of recovery for every 100 yards in the interval’s distance
Pull: Use pull buoy and/or paddles
Moderate: A mostly aerobic effort
Aerobic: An effort which can be sustained for many hours
Steady: Continuous effort, not broken up
Tempo: An effort which is higher than Aerobic, but sustainable for over an hour
Transition Run: A run to be completed immediately following a bike effort SR: Seconds Rest
MR: Minutes Rest

Olympic Triathlon Training Schedule

Week 1: Race Specific
Total Hours: 9:45

Monday

SWIM
30 mins., Easy continuous swim, 10 mins. pull

Tuesday

BIKE
60 mins., FTP Test

Wednesday

SWIM
45 mins., Aerobic
MS: 3 x 400 easy, aerobic effort 20-30 SR
5 x 100 descend 1-5 20-30 SR

RUN
30 mins., Easy
MS: Run 4mins., walk 1min.

Thursday

RUN
30 mins., Easy
MS: Run 4 mins., walk 1min.

Friday

BIKE
2 hrs., Endurance
Easy to moderate

Saturday

SWIM
45 mins., Swim test
MS: 15 mins. best possible distance

RUN
45 mins., Run test
MS: 30 mins. best possible distance

Sunday

RUN
40 mins., Easy
MS: Run 4 mins., walk 1min.

Week 2: Race Specific

Monday

SWIM
30 mins., Easy
Continuous swim, 10 mins. pull

Tuesday

BIKE
90 mins., Cadence
MS: 6 x (5 mins. at 60-70 rpm 5 mins. at 80-90 rpm 5 mins. at 110 – 120 rpm)

Wednesday

SWIM
60 mins., Aerobic
MS: 3 x 500 easy, aerobic effort 20-30 SR 5 x 100 descend 1-5 20-30 SR

RUN
40 mins., Easy
MS: Run 4 mins., walk 1 min.

Thursday

RUN
40 mins., Easy
MS: Run 4 mins., walk 1min.

Friday

BIKE
2:30, Endurance
Easy to moderate

Saturday

SWIM
45 mins., Easy
MS: 15 x 100 easy to mod. 30 SR

RUN
40 mins., Easy
MS: Run 4 mins., walk 1min.

Sunday

RUN
40 mins., Easy
MS: Run 4 mins., walk 1min.

Week 3: Race Specific

Monday

SWIM
40 mins., Easy
Continuous swim, 10 mins. pull

Tuesday

BIKE
60 mins., Tempo
MS: 3 x 10 mins. be- low race pace 2 MR

Wednesday

SWIM
60 mins., Aerobic
MS: 3 x 600 easy, aerobic effort 20-30 SR
5 x 100 descend 1-5 20-30 SR

RUN
40 mins., Easy
MS: Run 4 mins., walk 1min.

Thursday

RUN
40 mins., Easy
MS: Run 4 mins., walk 1min.

Friday

Brick
3:15 total

BIKE
3 hrs., Endurance
Easy to moderate

RUN OFF THE BIKE
15 mins. as 10 mins. of 30 secs. easy/30 secs. fast 5 mins. build

Saturday

SWIM
45 mins., Easy
MS: 15 x 100 easy to mod. 30 SR

RUN
50 mins., Easy
MS: Run 4 mins., walk 1min.

Sunday

REST DAY

Week 4: Race Specific

Monday

SWIM
30 mins., Easy
Continuous swim, 10 mins. pull

RUN
30 mins., Easy
MS: Run 4 mins., walk 1min.

Tuesday

BIKE
90 mins., Cadence
MS: 6 x (5 mins. at 60-70 rpm 5 mins. at 80-90 rpm 5 mins. at 110 – 120 rpm)

Wednesday

SWIM
45 mins., Aerobic
MS: 3 x 400 easy, aerobic effort 20-30 SR
5 x 100 descend 1-5 20-30 SR

RUN
30 mins., Easy
MS: Run 4 mins., walk 1min.

Thursday

RUN
40 mins., Easy
MS: Run 4 mins., walk 1min.

Friday

Brick: 2:30 total

BIKE
2 hrs., Endurance
Easy to moderate

RUN OFF THE BIKE
30 mins., build

Saturday

SWIM
45 mins., Easy
MS: 15 x 100 easy to mod. 30 SR

RUN
50 mins., Easy
MS: Run 4 mins., walk 1min.

Sunday

RUN
40 mins., Easy
MS: Run 4 mins., walk 1min.

Week 5: Recovery

Monday

SWIM
40 mins., Easy
Continuous swim, 10 mins. pull

Tuesday

Brick: 1:30 total

BIKE
60 mins., Tempo
MS: 4 x 10 mins. below race pace 2 MR

RUN OFF THE BIKE
15 mins. as 10 mins. of 30 secs. easy/30 secs. fast 5 mins. build to fast last 1 min.

Wednesday

SWIM
60 mins., Aerobic
MS: 3 x 600 easy, aerobic effort 20- 30 SR
5 x 100 descend 1-5 20-30 SR

RUN
40 mins., Tempo
MS: 3 mins. fast, 30 secs. walk, 90 secs. jog, 2 mins. fast, 30 secs. walk, 90 secs. jog, 1 min. fast, 30 secs. walk, 90 secs. jog, 10 mins. build to strong

Thursday

RUN
40 mins. Easy
MS: Run 4 mins., walk 1min.

Friday

Brick: 1:50 total
BIKE
1:20 Aero race effort
MS: 3 x 8 mins. at race effort, 2 MR 30 mins. steady

RUN OFF THE BIKE
30 mins., build
Mile 1: Aerobic
Mile 2 Threshold
Mile 3: Fast

Saturday

SWIM
45 mins., Easy
MS: 15 x 100 easy to mod. 30 SR

RUN
60 mins., Easy
MS: Run 4 mins., walk 1min.

Sunday

RUN
40 mins., Easy
MS: Run 4 mins., walk 1min.

Week 6: Sharpen

Monday

SWIM
40 mins., Easy
Continuous swim, 10 mins. pull

Tuesday

BIKE
60 mins., Tempo
MS: 4 x 10 mins. below race pace 2 MR

Wednesday

SWIM
60 mins., Race pace
MS: 3 x 200 at race intensity 15 SR 800 pull

RUN
60 mins., Tempo
MS: 2 x
(3 mins. fast, 30 secs. walk, 90 secs. jog 2 mins. fast, 30 secs. walk, 90 secs. jog 1min. fast, 30 secs. walk, 90 secs. jog) 10 mins. build to strong

Thursday

SWIM
45 mins., Optional recovery
MS: 4 x 500 easy, slight build to #4

RUN
40 mins., Easy
MS: Run 4 mins., walk 1min.

Friday

Brick: 2 hrs. total
BIKE
1:30 Aero race effort
MS: 4 x 8 mins. at race effort, 2 MR
30 mins. steady

RUN OFF THE BIKE
30 mins., build
Mile 1: Aerobic
Mile 2: Threshold
Mile 3: Fast

Saturday

SWIM
45 mins., Moderate
MS: 15 x 100 moderate 30 SR

RUN
60 mins., Easy
MS: Run 4 mins., walk 1min.

Sunday

REST DAY

Week 7: Race Specific

Monday

SWIM
40 mins., Easy
Continuous swim, 10 mins. pull

Tuesday

Brick: 1:15 total
BIKE
60 mins., Tempo
MS: 3 x 10 mins. below race pace 2 MR

RUN OFF THE BIKE
15 mins. easy

Wednesday

SWIM
60 mins., Race pace
MS: 2 x (3 x 200 at race intensity 15 SR) 800 pull

RUN
60 mins., Tempo
MS: 3 mins. fast, 30 secs. walk, 90 secs. jog 2 mins. fast, 30 secs. walk, 90 secs. jog 1 min. fast, 30 secs. walk, 90 secs. jog 10 mins. build to strong

Thursday

SWIM
45 mins., Optional recovery
MS: 4 x 500 easy, slight build to #4

RUN
40 mins., Easy
MS: Run 4 mins., walk 1min.

Friday

Brick: 2 hrs. total

BIKE
1:30 Aero race effort
MS: 4 x 8 mins. at race effort, 2 MR 30 mins. steady

RUN OFF THE BIKE
30 mins., easy

Saturday

SWIM
45 mins., Moderate
MS: 15 x 100 moderate. 30 SR

RUN
60 mins., Surges build
Every 4th minute, surge
Build every 10 mins.

Sunday

RUN
40 mins., Easy
MS: Run 4 mins., walk 1min.

Week 8: Race Specific

Monday

SWIM
50 mins., Easy
Continuous swim, 20 mins. pull

Tuesday

Brick: 1:30 total
BIKE
60 mins., Tempo
MS: 4 x 10 mins. below race pace 2 MR

RUN OFF THE BIKE
30 mins., Tempo
Repeat: 1min. fast 1min. walk 1min. easy

Wednesday

SWIM
60 mins., Race pace
MS: 3 x (3 x 200 at race intensity 15 SR) 800 pull

RUN
60 mins., Tempo
MS: 2 x (3 mins. fast, 30 secs. walk, 90 secs. jog 2 mins. fast, 30 secs. walk, 90 secs. jog 1 min. fast, 30 secs. walk, 90 secs. jog) 10 mins. build to strong

Thursday

SWIM
45 mins., Optional recovery
MS: 5 x 500 easy, slight build to #5

RUN
40 mins., Easy
MS: Run 4 mins., walk 1min.

Friday

Brick: 2 hrs. total
BIKE
1:30 Aero race effort
MS: 5 x 8 mins. at race effort, 2 MR
30 mins. steady

RUN OFF THE BIKE:
30 mins. build

Saturday

SWIM
45 mins., Moderate
MS: 15 x 100 HARD. 30 SR

RUN
60 mins., Surges build
Every 4th minute, surge
Build every 10 mins.

Sunday

RUN
40 mins., Easy
MS: Run 4 mins., walk 1min.

Week 9: Race Specific

Monday

SWIM
50 mins., Easy
Continuous swim, 20 mins. pull

Tuesday

Brick: 1:45 total
BIKE
1:15, Tempo
MS: 5 x 10 mins. below race pace 2 MR

RUN OFF THE BIKE
30 mins., Tempo
Repeat: 1min. fast 1min. walk 1min. easy

Wednesday

SWIM
60 mins., Race pace
MS: 3 x (3 x 200 at race intensity 15 SR) 800 pull

RUN
60 mins., Tempo
MS: 2 x
(3 mins. fast, 30 secs. walk, 90 secs. jog 2 mins. fast, 30 secs. walk, 90 secs. jog 1min. fast, 30 secs. walk, 90 sec. jog) 10 mins. build to strong

Thursday

SWIM
45 mins., Optional recovery
MS: 5 x 500 easy, slight build to #5

RUN
40 mins., Easy
MS: Run 4 mins., walk 1min.

Friday

Brick: 2:15 total
BIKE
1:45 Aero race effort
MS: 6 x 8 mins. at race effort, 2 MR 30 mins. steady

RUN OFF THE BIKE
2 x 15 mins. build

Saturday

SWIM
45 mins., Moderate
MS: 15 x 100 HARD. 30 SR

RUN
60 mins., Tempo
MS: 3 x
(8 mins. at half marathon pace 1min. walk 1min. easy jog)

Sunday

REST DAY

Week 10: Race Specific

Monday

SWIM
50 mins., Easy
Continuous swim, 20 mins. pull

RUN
40 mins., Easy
MS: Run 4 mins., walk 1min.

Tuesday

BIKE
60 mins., FTPTest

Wednesday

SWIM
60 mins., Race pace
MS: 2 x (3 x 200 at race intensity 15 SR) 800 pull

RUN
60 mins., Tempo
MS: 2 x
(3 mins. fast, 30 secs. walk, 90 secs. jog, 2 mins. fast, 30 secs. walk, 90 secs. jog 1 min. fast, 30 secs. walk, 90 secs. jog) 10 mins. build to strong

Thursday

SWIM
45 mins., Optional recovery
MS: 5 x 500 easy, slight build to #5

RUN
40 mins., Easy
MS: Run 4 mins., walk 1min.

Friday

Brick: 2 hrs. total

BIKE
1:30 Aero race effort
MS: 4 x 8 mins. at race effort, 2 MR 30 mins. steady

RUN OFF THE BIKE
2 x 15 mins. build

Saturday

SWIM
45 mins., Swim test
MS: 15 mins. best possible distance

RUN
60 mins., Tempo
MS: 3 x
(8 mins. at half marathon pace 1min. walk 1min. easy jog)

Sunday

REST DAY

Week 11: Recovery

Monday

SWIM
60 mins., Easy
Continuous swim, 30 mins. pull

RUN
40 mins., Easy
MS: Run 4 mins., walk 1min.

Tuesday

BIKE
60 mins., Intervals
MS: 3 x
(3 mins. hard, 3 MR 2 mins. hard, 2 MR 1min. hard, 1 MR)
Increase cadence each set

Wednesday

SWIM
60 mins., Race pace
MS: 100 Base, 4 x 50 desc. 1-4
200 base, 4 x 50 base
300 base, 4 x 50 desc. 1-4
400 base, 4 x 50 IM

RUN
40 mins., Easy
MS: Run 4 mins., walk 1min.

Thursday

RUN
40 mins., Easy
MS: Run 4 mins., walk 1min.

Friday

Brick: 2:15 total
BIKE
1:45 Aero race effort
MS: 6 x 8 mins. at race effort, 2 MR 30 mins. steady

RUN OFF THE BIKE
2 x 15 mins. build

Saturday

SWIM
45 mins., Moderate
MS: 15 x 100 HARD. 30 SR

RUN
60 mins., Moderate
4 x (14 mins. moderate, 1min. walk)

Sunday

REST DAY

Week 12: Sharpen

Monday

SWIM
60 mins., Easy
Continuous swim, 30 mins. pull

RUN
45 mins., Tempo
MS: 3 mins. fast, 30 secs. walk, 90 secs. jog, 2 mins. fast, 30 secs. walk, 90 secs. jog, 1min. fast, 30 secs. walk, 90 secs. jog

Tuesday

BIKE
60 mins., Easy

Wednesday

SWIM
45 mins., Race pace
MS: 100 Base, 4 x 50 desc. 1-4
200 base, 4 x 50 base 300 base, 4 x 50 desc. 1-4
400 base, 4 x 50 IM

RUN
30 mins., Easy
MS: Run 4 mins., walk 1min.

Thursday

REST DAY

Friday

Brick: 1:05 total
SWIM
15-20 mins.

BIKE
30 mins.

RUN OFF THE BIKE
15 mins. 3-4 short efforts on each

Saturday

RACE DAY

Sunday

CELEBRATE