Race Simulation Workouts for Olympic Distance Triathlons

  

The Olympic distance triathlon is a great test for any triathlete. It can be used as a good first event of the year, a goal race to set a new PR, or as a stepping stone to longer events. No matter what your goal is, the Olympic distance will challenge you.

Racing this event hard takes solid preparation and a willingness to push your limits. Here are a few of my favorite Olympic distances race simulations. If you can, go from swim, to bike to run since that is the best way to simulate race day conditions.

I’ve ranked these workouts from easiest to hardest and I’ve given them a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the hardest.

1. The Warm Up – 6 out of 10

Pool:

  • 300 warm up, 100 kick, 6×50 on 20” rest.
  • 8×200 on 20” rest. Descend the 200s.
  • Easy 500 cool down.

Bike:

  • 20’ warm up, then 5×1’ at 100 rpms, with 1’ recovery.
  • Then right into 5×8’ at FTP (100 percent of threshold), with 2’ recovery and ending your session at the track.

Run:

  • A short 1 mile warm up is good off the bike with 4×50 meters of drills to get the run legs going.
  • Then run 4x100m strides at goal 400 effort and pace.
  • Main set: 16×400 at 10k pace minus 20” per mile. If your open 10k pace is 8 minutes per mile, your pace for this workout is 7:40, and therefore your 400s are 1:55 pace.
  • Recovery is a 200m jog.

2. Getting Warmer – 8 out of 10

Pool:

  • 300 warm up, 100 kick, 6×50 on 20” rest.
  • 20×100 on 15” rest. Descend the 100s, in groups of 5.
  • Easy 500 cool down.

Bike:

  • 10×5’ at FTP, with 2’ recovery and ending your session at the track.

Run:

  • A short 1 mile warm up is good off the bike.
  • 10×800 at 10k pace minus 20” per mile. If your open 10k pace is 8 minutes per mile, your pace for this workout is 7:40, and therefore your 800s are 3:50 pace.
  • Recovery is a 200m jog.

3. Ready to Race – 9 out of 10

I’ve been told this workout is harder than race day. The way it should be!

Pool:

  • 300 warm up, 100 kick, 6×50 on 20” rest.
  • 4×400 on 10” rest. Keep the 400s the same pace, but don’t let the time vary by more than 5”!
  • Easy 500 cool down.

Bike:

  • 2×25’ – the first 20 minutes are at FTP and the last 5’ are at sprint effort – upping the effort another 5 percent.
  • You’ll start the 20’ effort with 4×1’ standing at a very hard effort with 1’ recovery, for a total of 8’.
  • Then you’ll TT as best you can for the remaining 12’, until you get to the last 5’ of the interval.
  • The last 5′ is as hard as you can go.
  • Easy 5’ recovery between each 25’ effort.
  • End your session at the track.

Run:

  • A short 1 mile warm up is good off the bike.
  • 6×1 mile on 45” rest at open 10k pace. If your open 10k pace is 8 minutes per mile, your goal is 8 minutes per mile.
  • Recovery is 45” to get a swig of water and to get ready for the next one.

These workouts will challenge you and push your limits, just like on race day. Remember to fuel up before the workouts, and to carry fluids and calories during the workouts. A proper recovery is important post workout as well. These workouts are done in a progression and are probably best done over 5-6 weeks. The last simulation would be best done 1-2 weeks before your actual Olympic distance race.

About the Author

Mike Ricci

Mike Ricci is a Level III USAT Certified Coach and was honored as the USAT Coach of the Year. He is the founder and head coach of D3 Multisport. The three D’s, Desire, Determination and Discipline are the cornerstone for his coaching philosophies. The D3 coaches use evidence-based training science, technology and wisdom to guide athletes toward their multisport goals. D3 inspires others through their community of athletes who are great ambassadors of the sport.

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