Intermediate 26-Wk Full-Distance Triathlon Training Plan

Average Weekly Breakdown
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Breakdown
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours: 09:03

This is an intermediate training plan for an athlete interested in competing in a full-distance triathlon (2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26.2-mile run). This training plan is geared towards the individual that has completed at least one or two full-distance triathlons and is interested in setting a personal best or being more competitive within their age group in a full-distance race. This training plan is prescribed and individualized based on pace, heart rate, and Rating of Perceived Exertion (1-10 scale) and assumes that an athlete has the equipment necessary to swim, bike, and run. This training plan includes a mixture of pool swimming and open water swimming, as well as road running and road cycling, and resistance training performed in a gym. An athlete should have a basic level of fitness and at least 6-12 months of triathlon experience in which they trained specifically for triathlon. If the athlete is looking to improve their specific swim mechanics or their specific cycling and/or run skills, it is recommended that they also seek out personal and individual coaching from a sport-specific coach.

Note: When viewing the average weekly hours within the Training Plan Preview, total swim hours are not counted in this total as swim sessions are prescribed in terms of yards and do not have a time associated with them.

This training plan comes with a few documents/resources that will prove useful to athletes while following. along to the prescribed plan:
1. Instructional Booklet - Contains basic educational and background material that will help the athlete successfully complete the training plan and learn about the training process
2. Exercise Technique Guidebook - Contains pictures and descriptions of over 80 exercises that will help the athlete successfully complete training sessions prescribed within the plan
3. Training & Racing Zones Chart - This will be useful in documenting your swim, bike, and run pace/heart rate zones to be used during training and racing; these zones will bet set by performing tests regularly throughout the training plan

Basic equipment needed to successfully complete the swim sessions within this training plan include:
-swimsuit
-goggles
-wetsuit (if swimming in colder open water venues during training or racing)
-kickboard
-fins
-snorkel

Basic equipment needed to successfully complete the bike sessions within this training plan include:
-bike (standard road bike or triathlon-specific bike are ideal)
-bike helmet
-tire pump
-proper cycling clothes and attire (cycling shoes if desired and cycling shorts and jerseys)
-flat kit (can be kept in saddle bag or in jersey pockets while riding)
-heart rate monitor

Basic equipment needed to successfully complete the run sessions within this training plan include:
-running shoes
-proper run clothing and attire
-heart rate monitor

Sample Day 1
0:30:00
Bike-Specific Threshold Heart Rate Test

Threshold Heart Rate (THR) is typically defined as the maximal heart rate that can be maintained for ~60 min, and it is closely related to your lactate threshold. Threshold speed (TS) is the best average speed you can maintain on flat ground for ~60 min.

Lactate is a by-product of anaerobic energy metabolism during exercise, and lactate threshold is the point at which lactate accumulates in the blood at an exponential rate during exercise, leading to fatigue if that effort is sustained much longer. The following video describes lactate threshold, as well as VO2 max, in a little more detail:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O__oZjw8Ljc

Determining THR and TS is important for a) understanding where your threshold effort lies and b) tracking progress over time by repeating this test. This test, unless you have an indoor trainer that can sync with Zwift or another virtual indoor riding application, should be performed outdoors on a quiet road with minimal or no stop lights or traffic. You want to find a location you can ride in loops for 20 min and capture your best average speed and your best average HR. Although, for the purposes of this test, HR is the number we want to capture for training zone calculation. Speed is a number we can use in future tests to compare for tracking of improvement over time. If you do have a power meter, you can also capture power as well here and use power track improvement over time. Note that this training plan does not prescribe bike sessions with power, but a power meter can still be used with this training plan in addition to rating of perceived exertion and heart rate.

In order to determine THR, perform the following:

1. Warm-up for 5-10 min, building speed slowly until you get close to your estimated threshold effort.

2. Perform a 20-minute time trial in which you aim to achieve the fastest speed possible over those 20 minutes
*Your average heart rate for the 20-minute time trial multiplied by 0.95 is your bike-specific THR

3. Perform a 5-10 min easy cool-down, spinning at a very easy pace

After performing this test, please review the document entitled "Training & Racing Zones_Blank" to set your zones based on your test results. Note, for your bike-specific THR, you will not use it to determine your training zones manually. In fact, you only need THR to track changes in this metric over time and to have an understanding of where your threshold lies. Begin by determining your run-specific heart rate training zines, followed by your bike-specific heart rate training zones, and finally, your swim-specific heart rate training zones. Save this document when you are done to your computer as you will need to use this document again for other tests and in the future as you update these numbers.

Finally, you will need to go into your profile setting on Training Peaks and enter in your training zones manually based on the zones you just calculated. If you are not sure how to do this, click on the following link to learn how: https://help.trainingpeaks.com/hc/en-us/articles/204073584-How-to-Set-your-Thresholds-and-Calculate-your-Zones

Sample Day 1
0:20:00
Critical Swim Speed (CSS) Test

Critical Swim Speed (CSS) is used as a proxy for your threshold swim pace. To learn more about CSS so that you understand the purpose of this test, please review the following video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wooLaOhLg6U

CSS is approximately the fastest pace that you can hold for 60 minutes. Determining CSS is important for a) setting training zones and b) tracking progress over time by repeating this test. In order to determine CSS, perform the following

1. Warm-up for 5-10 min, building speed slowly until you get close to your estimated CSS swim pace

2. Perform a 400 meter/400 yard time-trial as fast as you can. Record your time.

3. Rest for 5-10 min and perform some light swimming to help recover.

4. Perform a 200 meter/200 yard time-trial as fast as you can. Record your time.

5. Perform a 5-10 min cool-down, swimming or kicking at a very easy pace

6. Plug your times into the calculator at the following website:
http://www.swimsmooth.com/improve/intermediate/swim-smooth-css-calculator

After performing this test, open up the "Training & Racing Zones" spreadsheet you saved after performing the Bike-Specific Threshold Heart Rate Test. Calculate your swim zones based on the CSS that you calculated from this test.

Finally, update your training zones in Training Peaks by going to your profile settings. If you are not sure how to do this, click on the following link to learn how: https://help.trainingpeaks.com/hc/en-us/articles/204073584-How-to-Set-your-Thresholds-and-Calculate-your-Zones

Sample Day 2
0:45:00
40.8TSS
Easy Recovery Bike

This is an easy recovery session @ RPE 3-5 to help you recover from yesterday's tests. This recovery session will help prepare you for the final test tomorrow, a threshold run test. 

For bike training sessions in this plan, you will notice that they are prescribed to you based on Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE). However, it will be useful for you to look at your heart rate profile after completing bike workouts to make sure that you maintained an average heart rate or spent most of your time at a heart rate that is associated with the purpose of the session. For example, in a recovery session, you would want to see your heart rate for the session stay in the recovery zone that was established in your Training Peaks profile after performing your bike test yesterday. For a long, slow distance bike, you would want to see that you maintained a heart rate in the aerobic zone. Looking at your heart rate profile after a session can be a useful way to see if adjustments to intensity or effort level need to be made.

Sample Day 3
0:30:00
Run-Specific Threshold Pace (TP) and Heart Rate (THR) Test

Threshold Pace (TP) is typically defined as the maximal pace that can be maintained for ~60 min, and it is closely related to lactate threshold. Threshold heart rate (THR) is the maximum heart rate you can sustain for ~60 minutes and is also related to your lactate threshold.

Lactate is a by-product of anaerobic energy metabolism during exercise, and lactate threshold is the point at which lactate accumulates in the blood at an exponential rate during exercise, leading to fatigue if that effort is sustained much longer. The following video describes lactate threshold, as well as VO2 max, in a little more detail:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O__oZjw8Ljc

Determining TP/THR is important for a) setting heart rate training zones and b) tracking progress over time by repeating this test. In order to determine TP/THR, perform the following

1. Warm-up for 5-10 min, building speed slowly until you get close to your estimated threshold run pace

2. Perform a 20-minute time trial in which you aim to achieve the fastest possible pace or furthest possible distance over the 20 minutes
*Your average speed for the 20-minute time trial multiplied by 0.95 is your run-specific TP. Your average heart rate for the 20-minute time trial multiplied by 0.95 is your run-specific THR.

3. Perform a 5-10 min cool-down, running at a very easy pace, walking if you need to

After performing this test, open up the "Training & Racing Zones" spreadsheet you saved after performing the Bike-Specific Threshold Heart Rate Test. Calculate your TP & THR zones based on the results of this test.

Finally, update your training zones in Training Peaks by going to your profile settings. If you are not sure how to do this, click on the following link to learn how: https://help.trainingpeaks.com/hc/en-us/articles/204073584-How-to-Set-your-Thresholds-and-Calculate-your-Zones

Sample Day 4
0:30:00
25.2TSS
Easy Recovery Run

This is an easy recovery session @ RPE 3-5 to help you recover from yesterday's test.

For run training sessions in this plan, you will notice that they are prescribed to you based on Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) or with a pace range in min/mile. However, it will be useful for you to look at your heart rate profile after completing run workouts to make sure that you maintained an average heart rate or spent most of your time at a heart rate that is associated with the purpose of the session. For example, in a recovery session, you would want to see your heart rate for the session stay in the recovery zone that was established in your Training Peaks profile after performing your run test yesterday. For a long, slow distance run, you would want to see that you maintained a heart rate in the aerobic zone. Looking at your heart rate profile after a session can be a useful way to see if adjustments to intensity or effort level need to be made.

Sample Day 4
0:45:00
Total-Body Strength Training - Endurance Focus - Intermediate 1

The purpose of this session is to build basic movement patterns, build muscular endurance, and to provide a foundation of strength upon which to build on in more advanced sessions as you progress to a focus of muscular strength and power.

Warm-Up
-5 min light aerobic activity (walking, light jog, etc.)
-your choice of 5-6 dynamic stretching exercises (see Exercise Technique Guidebook)

Main Set
Perform the following exercises in circuit fashion (one after the other in succession) for a total of 3 rounds and rest for 1-2 min after each round:

-Barbell (BB) deadlift x 15 reps
-push-ups x 15 reps
-Bent-over BB row x 15 reps
-Dumbbell (DB) single-leg stiff-leg deadlift x 15 reps e/ leg
-DB lateral raises x 15 reps
-Single-leg glute bridges x 15 reps e/ leg
-prone plank x 60-90 sec
-side plank x 45-60 sec e/ side

Cool-Down
-your choice of 5-6 static stretching exercises, hold each for 1 set of 30-60 sec

Sample Day 5
1:15:00
84.2TSS
LSD Bike

Keep this bike steady and conversational at an LSD pace.

Ryan Eckert, MS, CSCS
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Peak Endurance Solutions, LLC

Peak Endurance Solutions is a company dedicated to providing endurance athletes with a premier coaching service through individualized, one-on-one coaching. Peak Endurance Solutions provides personalized coaching as well as pre-set, customized training plans available for purchase.