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Joe Friel

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12 Weeks

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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.

Plan Description

This 12-week long-distance triathlon (S-4k/B-180k, R-42.2k) Build-Peak-Race period training plan was designed by Joe Friel based on the principles described in The Triathlete's Training Bible. It may be used by either over-50 or under-50 athletes. Start this plan exactly 12 weeks before your race weekend (race week is the 12th week of the plan). Following this plan will prepare you for your race by including the most important elements used by Joe in training long-course triathletes. Note that this is a challenging training plan for the intermediate to advanced triathlete with most weeks of 15 to 17 hours (but also note that recovery weeks every third week and pre-race taper weeks are considerably less demanding).

To start this plan you should have completed at least one Iron-distance race and have a goal of improving your personal best race time or finishing strongly.

You must have a heart rate monitor for bike and run workouts. Swim workout intensities are based on T-times (pace per 100) or perceived exertion. Your training zones should be established before starting this plan. (For detailed description of how to set your zones for heart rate, power or pace go to

This plan is simple to follow and is written in every day triathlon language as you can see in the PREVIEW. Suggestions are made throughout to guide you in making training and race planning decisions.

The plan was created using the TrainingPeaks "Workout Builder" format. That means the workouts may be uploaded to a device (power meter, heart rate monitor, indoor trainer, etc) or app to help you follow it precisely. For more information on compatible devices and apps and how to export the workouts from this plan to them go to (It's not necessary to upload the workouts in order to use this plan.)

When purchasing this plan if you check the box to share your email address with Joe Friel when prompted you will receive two follow-up emails from him with more information about your plan and you will also be able to contact him should you run into a problem. Your email address won't be used for anything else. Also, after your event please provide feedback on how this plan worked out for you.

NOTE: If in the first two (2) weeks after buying this plan you decide it isn’t the right one for you, contact Joe Friel ( and he will help you make the right choice and a swap - at no cost to you (assuming they are the same price) or a full refund.

Thanks again for your interest in my training plans. I hope your training and racing go very well this season.


Average Weekly Breakdown

Workouts Weekly Average Longest Workout
6:52 hrs 5:00 hrs
3:22 hrs 2:00 hrs
2:49 hrs 1:15 hrs
0:27 hrs 0:30 hrs
Workouts Per Week Weekly Average Longest Workout
6:52 hrs 5:00 hrs
3:22 hrs 2:00 hrs
2:49 hrs 1:15 hrs
0:27 hrs 0:30 hrs

Training Load By Week

This plan works best with the following fitness devices:

  • Heart Rate Monitor
  • GPS

All supported devices

Joe Friel

Joe Friel Coaching

An endurance coach since 1980, Joe Friel has worked with triathletes, cyclists, and runners around the globe. He trains coaches and assists various national federations and national Olympic team staff. He also consults with professional athletes and sports-related businesses. Coach Friel occasionally offers personal camps and seminars for clubs and teams. He has authored 17 books on training including the best-selling Training Bible series. For more info, go to his blog at

Sample Day 1

Strength Maintenance.

Strength Maintenance: Warm-up 5-10 minutes. Then do 2 sets of Strength Maintenance (SM) weight lifting. First set is light (12 reps with 15 repetition-max "RM" load). Second set is heavy (3-6 reps with 6RM load). Cool down 5-10 minutes spinning on a stationary bike in easy gear or resistance at high rpm. This should be a very brief workout. For details turn to Chapter 13 in The Triathlete's Training Bible.

Sample Day 2

ME1. Down Ladder at T-time 1900.

Down Ladder at T-time (Short Set).
You may substitute a masters swim session for this workout.

WU: 100 swim, 50 drill (your choice), 100 swim, 50 drill.
350 at T-time.
50 easy.
300 at T-time.
50 east.
250 at T-time.
50 easy.
200 at T-time.
50 easy.
150 at T-time.
50 easy.
100 swim good form.

Sample Day 2

ME1. Tempo Intervals 1h (4x6min) HR.

Tempo Intervals.
BT: Tempo intervals. Warm up about 10 minutes in HR zone 1 and 2. Then run 3-4 x 6 minute intervals on a fairly flat course. Do 4 if feeling good--3 if not. Build to zone 3 heart rate on each. Note your pace. Take a 90-second recovery jog/walk after each. Relaxed form! Listen to breathing. Run easily and walk to cool down for a few minutes to complete the planned workout duration. The first interval should be the slowest. (This is best outdoors but may be done on a treadmill).

Sample Day 3

AE1. Easy Ride 1h HR..

Ride in heart rate zones 1-2, but mostly 1 zone. Flat course or indoor trainer. Low effort--light on pedals. Comfortably high rpm.

Sample Day 4

ME2. Short ints/recoveries 2700.

(You may substitute a masters swim workout.) WU:
200 free, 100 drill (your choice).
4 x 100 done as 25 freestyle, 25 R arm only, 25 L arm only, 25 free.
6 x 100 Odds (1,3,5): 25 drill, 25 R arm only, 25 L arm only, 25 free. Evens (2,4,6): 25 swim, 25 drill, 25 pull, 25 swim.
MS: Try to make the times for these as consistent as possible. Recoveries are in seconds within parentheses.
8 x 100 @ T-pace (10sec rest after each).
8 x 50 @ T-pace (10sec rest after each).
CD: 200 easy.

Sample Day 4

ME1. Steady Tempo 1h HR (brick).

BT: Steady Tempo Brick. Warm-up 20-30 minutes. Then ride 25-30 minutes steady in heart rate zone 3. Steady effort. Flat to gently rolling course on your time trial set-up in aero position. Try to time this so that the tempo portion ends immediately before starting the run. Transition to the accompanying run workout.

Sample Day 4

AE2. Aerobic Threshold (AeT) 15min HR (Brick).

After a quick transition following the bike, run on a mostly flat course run 15 minutes at 30 bpm (+/-2bpm) below your 5a zone (FTHR). Focus on good form with a comfortably high cadence and somewhat flat footstrike (not on heavily on heels or toes). Cool down by walking a few minutes. If using a GPS device (recommended), afterwards determine your 30-minute Efficiency Factor (EF). EF should gradually increase over several weeks. (EF is shown on the analysis feature of TrainingPeaks for this workout.)

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