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ironguides "The Method": 20-Week Iron-Distance Triathlon Training Plan (Beginner)


ironguides Coaching

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21 Weeks

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Plan Description

This training plan is designed to prepare you for Triathlon with Iron-distance using The Method, the innovative training protocol, from ironguides, that enables you to make the most out of limited training time.

You’ll see that your training plan adjusts moderately from one four-week period to the next, with guidelines for progressing during each four-week phase. This helps you build familiarity with your training structure and sessions and your responses to them, helping you to:

Improve motor skills: By repeating certain specific sessions using widely available equipment, you program sport-specific motion into your muscle memory

Train concentration skills: Repetition encourages you to develop greater levels of focus and concentration that will help you in racing and increase effectiveness of ensuing workouts

Develop intuitive understanding: Develop your ability to literally feel how you are doing on any given day.

Better anticipate training: A predictable, structured routine helps you organize and removes uncertainty from your program.

Track performance: Your training sessions are your benchmarks – until you begin setting new ones at the races!

Accurately gauge fatigue: By comparing your performance across familiar sessions, you can quickly determine if you are truly tired or perhaps fighting illness.

Build consistency: By learning to accurately interpret your body's signals over time you can train more effectively and maintain your training consistency.


Try to follow the order of the training sessions as they are set up in your plan. If you miss a workout consider it “lost” and carry on with the training as on your plan.

Don’t try to “plan ahead” and cram multiple days of training sessions into a few days because you know you won’t have time later in the week. Avoid swapping sessions too often unless it can’t be helped. If you’re reasonably well rest or recovered and it means the difference between not training or training, then by all means swap the sessions. A rested body will benefit from training more than from not!

I - First Workout Ideally this is your first workout of the day. If you cannot do this sport at this time of the day, then it’s OK to flip the workouts. Remember: Work with what you have – this includes the daily routine available to you. The suggested order is optimal, but not mandatory!

II - Second Workout Your second workout of the day – see comments above.


If you are feeling tired and have gone out the door to "test drive" your body and you don't feel better, but you don't feel worse – aim to lightly stimulate the System you are meant to train that day.

Initially your training plan will have scheduled rest days. As you progress into your program, however, you will notice that there are less and less scheduled Rest Days.

Unless otherwise indicated, your rest days are to be taken when you really need them, or if circumstances demand it (such as a travel day, if you or family members are ill, and other life events as they occur).

In this way you ensure more consistency and you rest when your body is really telling you to instead of when the plan says. No matter what anyone tells you, no training plan can predict the many factors in your life. If you really need a rest from training – take it!

Week 1-4: Building a Routine
Week 5-9: Toughening your Constitution
Week 10-14: Learning to Endure
Week 15-18: The Final Prep
Week 19-20: Taper & Recovery


Average Weekly Breakdown

Workouts Weekly Average Longest Workout
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Workouts Per Week Weekly Average Longest Workout
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Sample Day 1

Bike - Week 1-4 Building a Routine

On stationary bike, do:
20min easy w/u
20x POWER Intervals
[1min at 40-50 cadence HARD RESISTANCE / with 1min
VERY EASY recovery]
10min EASY c/d
Make each effort ALL OUT against VERY HIGH resistance!
The cadence should be low (40-50 rpm per leg per
minute) because you can’t push any harder because the
resistance is so high! We are aiming for rubbery legs.

Week 1: 60 min easy cycling on a stationary or outside
Week 2: 30 min easy w/u + 10x Power + c/d
Week 3: 30 min easy w/u + 15x Power +c/d
Week 4: Full session

Sample Day 2

Swim - Week 1-4 Building a Routine

w/u: 4x100m easy (15sec rest after each)
3x the following (use pb + small paddles)
[16x25m as
• First 3 are swum EASY (20sec rest)
• Every 4th 25m effort ALL OUT (20sec rest)
• After the 25’s, swim 200m ALL OUT
(no pull buoy or paddle)
• Take 4min total rest (no swimming) ]
• Repeat the above as indicated
c/d: 4x 100m easy (with paddle/pb)

Week 1: w/u + c/d + 1x [25’s + 200m] (no paddles/pb)
Week 2: w/u + c/d + 2x [25’s + 200m] (no paddles/pb)
Week 3: Full session! (no paddles/pb)
Week 4: Full session! (paddles/pb for one set)

Sample Day 3

Bike - Week 1-4 Building a Routine

60min on road or stationary, as:
20min easy w/u
• INTERVALS as indicated
• Ride these in a big gear, cadence 70-80
• Easy gear for VERY EASY Recovery
20min easy c/d

Week 1: 60min easy cycling on stationary or outside
Week 2: 75min moderate cycling on stationary or outside
Week 3: 6x [3min FAST / 2min easy]
Week 4: 6x [5min FAST / 1min easy]

Sample Day 4

Swim - Week 1-4 Building a Routine

50x50m, swum as:
• First 6 easy w/u
• Last 6 easy c/d
• The rest ALL SAME SPLIT (meaning: Start easy and hold
the same pace for each)
• Maximum SUSTAINABLE pace
• NEVER burning lungs
• Aiming for DEAD ARMS
• Using small paddles + pb
• 5sec rest after each
Don't aim to destroy yourself aerobically on these!! The
point is to swim steady, not to set best times -- but to hold
the best time that is sustainable for ALL of these, for the
entire set!!! So the LAST 50m should be the same pace as
the FIRST!!!

Week 1: 30x50m, all easy
Week 2: 40x50m, all easy – last 20 with paddles and pb
Week 3: Full session!
Week 4: 30x50m, all easy

Sample Day 4

Run - Week 1-4 Building a Routine

40min on a flat treadmill (optionally you can run
these on a very slight 1% downhill gradient, too):
15min easy w/u
• 60sec rest, standing off to the side (keep
treadmill running)
• Stride rate always at or greater than 96 steps
per leg, per minute!
10min easy c/d

Week 1: 30min easy run on land
Week 2: 30min easy run on treadmill
Week 3: Full session!
Week 4: Full session!

Sample Day 5

Day Off

Sample Day 6

Bike - Week 1-4 Building a Routine

Long Bike, building over time:
• We’ll be adding a run to this later
• You’ll be pushing harder in this workout in following
• Push a bigger gear and keep your muscle tension high
– but not maxed out!
• Aim for cadence around 70-80 – this will mean pushing
quite hard at times.

Week 1: 120 easy and flat
Week 2: 120 easy and flat
Week 3: 180min easy
Week 4: 180min as 120min easy / 60min moderate

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