12 week Half Distance Triathlon - Specific Preparation - Week Day Constrained


Gordo Byrn


12 Weeks

Typical Week

2 Swim, 1 Strength, 3 Run, 3 Bike

Longest Workout

1:15 hrs swim
4:00 hrs bike
1:45 hrs run

Plan Specs

triathlon half ironman beginner intermediate advanced

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This plan has been modified so the weekday training is held to no more than 90 minutes per day. The weekends have training on both days and there are a few overload weekends with long rides on both days.

This plan assumes that you have completed one of my Base modules and have established your endurance.

While the average training load is 11 hours per week, this plan is challenging because the key workouts are very specific to your needs. Where appropriate, I have explained how experienced athletes can beef up the plan a bit.

Strength training is not emphasized but I have placed one strength session per week into the plan.

There is an important race simulation workout that falls six weeks out from your goal race. You can substitute a B-, or C-, priority event for this race. An Olympic Distance race would be the most appropriate choice. If you are new to Half Distance racing then, I believe, you will get the most benefit from following my race simulation workout that weekend.

The swimming program is focused on distance freestyle improvement with main set distance capped around 3000 meters (3300 yards). Where appropriate, I have explained how to dial the program up, or down.

The plan is appropriate for athletes racing all distances with weekly volume ranging from 8 to 13 hours per week.

Swim - up to 3,300 yards / 3,000 meters

Bike - up to 40 miles / 65 kilometers

Run - up to 10 miles / 16 kilometers

I hope you enjoy,



Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Breakdown
Average Weekly Training Hours: 10:20
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours: 10:20
Average Weekly Breakdown

Back to Plan Details

Sample Day 1

SC PC 200s

Pace Change 200s
12x50 all on 10s rest with this pattern
• Steady
• Mod-Hard
• Fast
• Easy
4x200 Steady on 10s rest
3x200 Mod-hard on 10s rest
2x200 Fast on 10s rest
200 Max
This swim can be shortened by dropping the 4x200 line.
Cool Down

Sample Day 1

Light Strength

Lighter today.

Sample Day 2

Tempo Run (60 Min Main Set)

Warm-up with 10 minutes easy running that builds to Steady
Then do 6x 75 meter Strides with walking recoveries
Main Set is 6 x 10 minutes
Pattern is 2/4/3/1
• Steady
• Mod-Hard
• Steady
• Walk
Moderate your fast running so that you are able to recover while running Steady, not Easy
Watch how your mind will tempt you to hammer once your heart rate rises
Learn how to manage your pace effectively

Sample Day 3

Aerobic Ride (60min)

Choose one (or more) of the following and insert them into your ride:
• 1-3 x 8 minutes at 92-94 cadence, take 2 minutes relaxed between if you are doing more than one interval
• 5-10 x 1/1/1 minutes – 1 minute left leg, 1 minute right leg, 1 minute both legs
• 3-10 x 3 minutes as 30 seconds super fast cadence (keep effort/HR moderate, make sure that your hips are stable and you are not rocking wildly!), 2:30 normal cadence
• 2-5 x 5/5 minutes – 5 minutes at 92-94 rpm and 5 minutes at 65-70 rpm
Single leg work only done indoors. Don’t one-leg-it down the road outside.
Overall, aim for a steady effort – avoid your Mod-Hard zone.

Sample Day 4

Aerobic Run, Steady/Mod-Hard

This workout is scheduled for an hour but what counts is getting about 20-40 minutes worth of training around the bottom of your Steady Zone. I'm going to lay out a main set but the main thing is getting out the door! So if it feels like work to get started then ease into the session. You might surprise yourself once you've warmed up. Start with ten minutes of easy running. The main set is 5x8 minutes continuous: if everything goes well you'll have each eight-minute interval done slightly faster. However, I do this workout 2-3 times a week and I only get it "right" a couple times per month! So... 5x8 minutes, or 5x a distance that will take about 8 minutes. If you subscribe to my Twitter Feed (endurancecorner) then you'll see that I run laps of a local lake. For me, each lap is 1,850 meters so I can check pace. The name of the game is: Lap 1 - Easy pace Laps 2 & Laps 3 - Steady pace Laps 4 & 5 - Sit just under the top of your Mod-Hard HR zone While I track pace, I don't worry about it. In other words, you can spike your HR if you are worried. So relax, accept pace and get the work done.

Sample Day 5

Big Gear (5x8 Main Set)

Warm Up with 10 minutes Easy cycling
(10x) Alternate 30s Fast with 30s Easy
10 minutes Steady
5 minutes Easy
(5x) 8 min Big Gear (65 to 75 rpm), Mod-hard effort on 2 min Recovery
5 min Easy

NOTE: If you have extra time then you can extend this workout by placing 15-30 minutes of slightly easier then Steady effort/watts following the last Big Gear interval.

POWER USERS: Mod-hard effort (with low cadence) should roughly equate to slightly UNDER FT power. I recommend that you stay under FTP for this session.

Sample Day 6

Build Up Swim

This entire swim is Easy to Steady effort on 10-15s rest
2x25, 100
2x25, 200
2x25, 300
2x25, 400
2x25, 500
2x25, 350
2x25, 250
2x25, 150
Focus on relaxed swimming with three-stroke breathing.
Swim can be extended by inserting “2x25, 450” immediately after the 500.

12 week Half Distance Triathlon - Specific Preparation - Week Day Constrained

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