20 Weeks to your First Half Distance Triathlon!

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20 Weeks to your First Half Distance Triathlon!


Nadia Sullivan

All plans by this Coach


20 Weeks

Typical Week

1 Other, 3 Swim, 2 Strength, 3 Run, 3 Bike

Longest Workout

1:00 hrs swim
4:00 hrs bike
2:00 hrs run

Plan Specs

triathlon half ironman beginner hr based pace based

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Includes Structured Workouts

Structured Workouts automatically sync with compatible devices and guide you through workouts in real time.

Learn More about Structured Workouts.

So you've signed up for your very first Half Distance Triathlon - now what!?! Don't panic, prepare!

This plan is for the beginner who may not be very comfortable swimming and doesn't have much running or cycling training. This plan starts with frequent, short pool workouts to help you get comfortable with the fundamentals of swimming including breathing and body posture. Then the bike rides start to ramp up with skills work as well as aerobic fitness training to make you a stronger and more confident cyclist. Running workouts include drills to help you engage your glutes and improve your running posture.

As your swim technique and bike endurance progress, you'll get into a steadier pattern of 2-3 swims, 2-3 runs, and 2-3 rides per week. The time and efforts of the workouts will progress so by the time you're ready to pack your gear for your race, you will feel confident that you can go the distance on race day! "Brick" workouts will teach your legs to handle the quick change between sports and testing weeks will help you keep your training on track while you giving you a chance to see how much your fitness has improved.

This plan includes tons of tips and pointers for getting 100% prepared for your race including a gear checklist, basic nutrition guide, and pacing tips, because the small details can make or break your event! There's even transition "workouts" to make sure you know exactly how you're going to progress from each sport to the other on race day. Because knowing whether or not you will wear socks on the bike & how quickly you can put them on while wet & anxious is important to know! Plus, there's all the details you need to be a healthy, complete athlete including 60 days of FREE YogaGLO membership, foundation exercises with videos, and strength activation work with videos.

Additionally, all of the workouts can be exported to your TrainingPeaks compatible training device(s) such as a Garmin Forerunner 935 XT or Wahoo KickR smart trainer (please see trainingPeaks for a complete list of compatible devices and apps as it is often updated). This means you can export your interval targets to your training device & ride or run along at the correct effort to get the most out of your training! And coupon codes for 30 days of FREE Premium TrainingPeaks membership will give you access to in-depth views of your training data after you've uploaded it post-workout.

This plan is for the average 9-5er who has about an hour to 90 minutes to train on weekdays and more time on the weekends. The weekend workouts will increase in duration as race day gets closer with a maximum of 4.5 hours on the longest day. You'll progress to a race simulation across 3 days in week 18 where you'll go through swim, bike, and run efforts similar to what you will experience in your race. Then you'll recover & taper down to the big day at the end of 20 weeks!


Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Breakdown
Average Weekly Training Hours: 06:17
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours: 06:17
Average Weekly Breakdown

Nadia Sullivan

FasCat Coaching

USA Cycling Coach, USA Triathlon Coach, Serotta & Retul Certified Bike Fit Specialist

Monthly Personalized Coaching-Silver: includes a premium TP.com account, Monthly training plan, weekly data review, limited phone (1x per month)/email (1x per week) communication-Gold: includes a premium TP.com account, Weekly training plan, power file review as uploaded & unlimited phone/email communication.

For more Coaching options see http://www.fascatcoaching.com/compare.html

Sample Day 1

Breathing Focus 1

3 x Sink Downs : In the deepest part of the pool (10ft or more if possible), sink yourself down to the bottom by exhaling your air in a controlled manner. Feel how your buoyancy changes as you exhale.

4 x 50 "Bubble-Bubble-Breathe" : swim 50 focusing on your breath. You can think "Bubble, bubble" as your face is in the water, then "Breathe" as you turn your head to the side for a breath. To get the timing for the breath, pick 1 side and touch your chin to your shoulder on that side. As your arm moves behind you, your shoulder will pull back and your face will turn up for a breath. As soon as your faces turns back into the water, you should begin exhaling in a controlled manner.

3 x Sink Downs, just like before!

200 swim, focus on exhaling bubbles and reaching forward with your stroke, "Spearing" your hand into the water as if striking a fish in front of you!

4 x 25 Head Position:
Swim 25 with your head high in the water so the water line is at your nose/mouth but your eyes/goggles are out of the water.
Swim another 25 with the water line just above the top of your goggles.
Swim a 3rd 25 with the water line at the top of your forehead.
On the last 25, let the water line hit your head where it felt the easiest of all of those positions!

200 Swim: now with head position in the easiest place and focus again on "Bubble, Bubble, Breathe."

100 Kick on your Back : if you have a kickboard, hold it in both hands so it sits on the top of the water over your knees. Hold good posture so your hips stay up while you are on your back. It helps to look straight up at the ceiling and pretend that there is a string pulling your belly button up! Do flutter kick while trying to keep your knees straight so they do not hit the kickboard. Keep your ankles are like a fish tail- floppy!

100 Easy swim - relax and enjoy the water!

Sample Day 1

REVO Strength & Conditioning :: Skate & Hydrant

Standing Activation
Hydrant :: Hold 30- 45 seconds and perform 10 reps immediately after, both sides
Skate :: same as above
Couch stretch ::Hold 2 min, every day!

Sample Day 2

Catch 1

150 easy swim

1 minute treading water: focus on hand position and motion. Rest on the wall for 30 seconds and do another minute of treading

100 easy swim, focus on exhaling "Bubble, Bubble, Breathe."

4 x 50 as 25 swim/25 kick on back. Don't use a kickboard but don't let your knees come out of the water either! Rest about 10 sec after each 50.

6 x 50 steady swim on 20 SR (seconds rest). Feel where the water hits your head and how your hands enter the water. Don't forget to breathe!

100 easy swim cool down

Sample Day 2

Form Focused Run

Do not worry about speed or heart rate, just go for an easy run and feel your posture and foot landing under your center of gravity. Break it into a walk/run if needed to re-set your form.

Sample Day 3

Hill Sprints 6 x 20sec

Warm up with 10min easy jogging. Then run 6 x 20sec uphill sprints, easy jog back down to the start. Finish out time at easy running pace, focusing on good form with feet landing underneath you.

Sample Day 4


100 easy swim warm up

4 x 50 kick with kickboard as 25 easy/25 fast! on 15SR

6 x 50 swim, focus on exhaling! on 15SR

1min treading water, rest 30sec

3 x 30sec vertical kick in the deep end, 30sec recovery on the wall

2 x 100 steady swim on 20SR

Sample Day 5

EN: Endurance Zone 2 1.5hr

Zone 2 is your all day pace - the foundation of your aerobic engine. Choose flat roads for consistent pedaling (avoid prolonged downhill sections and sustained climbs)
For More Information, please Read:
Zone 2 = 56 - 75% of your FTP & 69 - 83% of your Threshold Heart Rate

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