Kona Qualifier Specific Prep - 11 Weeks

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Kona Qualifier Specific Prep - 11 Weeks


Gordo Byrn


11 Weeks

Typical Week

3 Swim, 3 Bike, 4 Run, 1 Other, 1 Race

Longest Workout

1:45 hrs swim
6:00 hrs bike
2:15 hrs run

Plan Specs

triathlon ironman intermediate advanced

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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This plan assumes that you've successfully completed my Full Distance Specific Prep Block and have Kona-Qualifer Fitness.

This is an advanced program for very experienced athletes.


Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Breakdown
Average Weekly Training Hours: 13:11
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours: 13:11
Average Weekly Breakdown

Sample Day 1

PC 400s

This is a very challenging swim. Make sure that your “Easy” is easy.
200 Easy on 20s rest
3x100 Descend on 15s rest
4x50 Descend on 10s rest
8x400, repeat the following pattern twice
• #1 Easy on 10s rest
• #2 Steady on 10s rest
• #3 Mod-hard effort on 15s rest
• #4 Fast on 5s rest
Compare 1-4 with 5-8. Aim to have 5-8 slightly faster than 1-4.
Take more time if you need it. Goal is to complete the set. This main set gives a very clear view on your capacity to control effort as well as your true early swim pacing.
Cool Down

Sample Day 2

Aerobic Ride (90min)

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 2

Advanced Run Test

Warm up with 15-20 minutes of Recovery effort running or cycling
Perform this test at a track (1 lap = 400 meters or ¼ of a mile)
Total test distance is 10-12K (continuous)
Run Increasing 2000m Repeats
Start first 2K at 20 bpm below the bottom of your Steady zone
Increase effort by 10 bpm for each successive 2K interval
Track your average pace and max/average HR for each 1000m leg
Continue until 2K beyond Functional Threshold Heart Rate
If you have access to lactate testing then you can take lactates at the end of each 2K stage. If you are taking lactates then baseline lactate (before starting the test) needs to be under 1.5 mmol. If lactate is elevated then continue EASY warm-up for a further ten minutes and test again. If still over 1.5 mmol then you'll have to try another time to get your lactates.
If most of your steps would take longer than ten minutes then drop the interval duration to 1600K
If most of your steps would take longer than twelve minutes then drop the interval duration to 1200K

Sample Day 3

Easy Spin Before Dinner

This is an easy ride to promote blood flow and recovery. Keep your heart rate below your Steady zone.

Sample Day 3

Easy Run

A very easy paced run to promote blood flow. Keep heart rate down.
You will find that increasing your mileage through frequent running is the safest way to build the strength, and durability, required to run well off the bike.

Sample Day 4

Progressive Bike Test

NOTE - if you do not have access to power then the best way to do this test is to start 10 bpm below the bottom of your Steady HR zone and track distance per step. Use 5bpm as your step height and continue until one step past FTHR.

First up, you'll need a rough estimate of your Function Threshold Power (FTP).

Warm-Up -- warm-up for 20-30 minutes with your power remaining under 50% of FTP. Before and after the warm-up take a baseline lactate reading - to get a valid test you'll want the reading to be less than 1.5 mmol.

Start Point -- the test should start at 50% of FTP. This is a very easy intensity on purpose. In order to get a clear reading on your aerobic zones and breakpoints, you need to start quite low. The #1 mistake we see in benchmarking, racing and training is "the fast start" -- it skews the data.

Step Height -- this is the amount that you will increase your power each step. If your FTP is less than 125w then use 10w steps. From 125-175w use 15w steps. From 175-250w use 20w steps. From 250-350w use 25w steps and for 350w+ use 30w steps. Step height is another area where you can skew your data. If the steps heights are too large then you could pass right through an important breakpoint or training zone. So it is better to use smaller steps if you are unsure.

Heart Rate -- record HR at 1 minute intervals.

Step Duration -- each step should last for 5 minutes. If you are taking lactates then sample at 3.5 minutes. In case you get a suspect reading, you will have another chance to sample before the step increases (most portable readers take 60s to review the sample).

How far to take it?
That really depends on you! There are benefits of taking the test all the way to failure: checking for fatigue; seeing maximal lactate production; seeing top end HRs -- however, these aspects do not need to be tested often. If you plan on doing the test often then you only need to go to failure once per quarter. The rest of the time, build to slightly past FTP.

What you are looking for?
The main things that you want to track is heart rate, power, lactate and effort (how it feels) -- these are most important within your likely race power range. While being able to bust-it-out at the top end and produce double digit lactates might make for great conversation... it won't do a whole lot for your race performance.

Sample Day 4

Aerobic Run, Descending To MAP

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 eightminute 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. 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 on your Max Aerobic Heart Rate

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.

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