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16 weeks long distance Triathlon base phase

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16 weeks long distance Triathlon base phase


Nick Harris British Triathlon Federation level 3 Coach, Training Bible Master endurance coach

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16 Weeks

Plan Description

This base training long distance triathlon plan will provide you with the foundations of the aerobic training period, which is characterised by increasing volume, performed at relatively low intensities. This phase has a strong emphasis on general conditioning, and physical, mental and technical skills such as working on your swim technique, improving your cycling efficiency, or working on running cadence or technique

Reasons for base aerobic training over the winter months

We're going to be going over the physiological adaptations from training aerobically in zones 1 in this article:

Zone 1 Improvements:

Lung capacity and breathing frequency
Stroke volume of heart increases
Cardiac output increases
Heart size increases
Plasma volume expands
Blood flow distribution (shunting)
Heart rate decreases (average)
Inspiratory muscle oxygen cost reduced
Systolic blood pressure reduced
Capillary density increased
Fuel use (favours fat metabolism)
Mitochondrial size and number
Muscle fibre type shifts to type 1
Increase in muscle fibre cross sectional area. Plasma free fatty acid use increases as duration increases

Are you working on all of these areas in your base training period? If not then you could well do with a coach

What are the benefits of training in zone 2 to build your aerobic engine and base fitness?

Zone 2 heart rate power or pace is the intensity that builds aerobic endurance. Go higher than zone 2 and you start to develop anaerobic endurance systems . Go lower than this and you are not working hard enough to challenge the aerobic systems

By the end of the base period you should swim bike and run faster than you did at the start of the base period.

Mark Allen (6x hawaii world champs winner) used a hr as the upper limit of 155 bpm of his running intensity - that's his zone 2! When he first started he was running an 8:15 per mile pace (5:09/ km).

Within a year he was running 5:20 per min mile (3:20 per km) wow! at the same heart rate. He had become 35 per cent faster without working any harder.

Level 3 British Triathlon Coach
Training Bible Master Endurance Coach
Training Peaks Level 1 Coach
Level 3 Personal Trainer
TRX Instructor

This plan is designed by Nick Harris Head coach for Speedy Swimming, (BTF level 3, STA level 2 swim teacher, Master endurance coach Training Bible UK) who specialise in teaching triathletes and swimmers. This plan encapsulates all of Nicks training, racing and coaching experience of many open water triathlons, long triathlon events, his swim skills and drills teaching methods and from completing the Dart 10km Swim in Devon.

How it Works

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Training Plan Sample Week


Average Weekly Breakdown

Workouts Weekly Average Longest Workout
Bike x4
06:21:00 05:00:00
Run x3
02:46:00 02:00:00
Swim x3
02:52:00 01:30:00
Strength x1
00:49:00 01:00:00
Day Off x1
—— ——
Workouts Per Week Weekly Average Longest Workout
06:21:00 05:00:00
02:46:00 02:00:00
02:52:00 01:30:00
00:49:00 01:00:00
Day Off
—— ——

Training Load By Week

This plan works best with the following fitness devices:

  • Heart Rate Monitor
  • GPS

All supported devices

Nick de Meyer

Speedy Swimming

Nick has been a Level 3 British Triathlon Coach for 14 years, and has been a master endurance coach with Training Bible Coaching UK in that time. He is also a Training Peaks Level 2 Accredited Coach, and has worked as a Regional Development Coach for the South East region for British Triathlon.

Alongside his online coaching business, Nick also runs Speedy Swimming which specialise in 1-2-1 front crawl technique lessons, endless pool swim video analysis, swim clinics and group swim sessions

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Refund Policy

This plan is protected by our Refund Policy and may, with the author's approval, be exchanged for a plan of equal value from the same author.

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