ironguides "The Method": 12-Week Olympic Distance Triathlon Training Plan (Beginner)
This training plan is designed to prepare you for Triathlon with Olympic 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.
ADJUSTING A WORKOUT
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.
If for example the session calls for multiple repetitions of a longer duration at a high intensity, instead of stressing your aerobic system keep the intensity somewhat lower, and very short. You could opt to run multiple 20-second repeats instead of a session of 3-minute repeats, for example. This stimulates the fast twitch fibers and keeps that System engaged for the week, without unduly stressing your aerobic system that may be indicating a bit of overload to you.
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!
Average Weekly Breakdown
|Workouts||Weekly Average||Longest Workout|
|Workouts Per Week||Weekly Average||Longest Workout|
Sample Day 1
SWIM w/u: 4x50m easy (15sec rest after each)
2x the following (use pb + small paddles) [8x25m as
• First THREE are swum EASY (20sec rest)
• Every FOURTH 25m effort ALL OUT (20sec rest)
• After the 8x25’s, swim 100m ALL OUT (no pull buoy or paddle)
• Take 4min total rest (no swimming) ]
• Repeat the above as indicated c/d: 4x 50m easy (with paddle/pb)
week 1: w/u + c/d + 1x [25’s + 100m] (no paddles/pb)
week 2: w/u + c/d + 2x [25’s + 100m] (no paddles/pb)
week3: Swim the full set with paddles/pb for first set
NOTES: SWIM: This swim set will teach you to push hard while holding good form for the hard efforts. The rest is long enough to enable you to recover fully from each effort. Make sure you swim the easy efforts VERY easy, the hard efforts ALL OUT (not "almost“ all out!). Intervals are short to enable you to swim without your technique breaking down during the easy efforts, so that you can work all out on the hard efforts. Track your 100m times and watch them improve over the next 12 weeks. This set is a staple of your program and tracking the effort gives you something to aim for each week.
Sample Day 2
On stationary bike, you will work up to begin the following in Week 3:
20min easy w/u
15x POWER Intervals: [45sec at 55 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 (55 rpm per leg per minute) because you can’t push any harder because the resistance is so high! We are aiming for “wobbly legs.”
Week 1: 45min easy cycling on stationary or outside
Week 2: 45min moderate cycling on stationary or outside
Week 3: 30min easy bike + 6x POWER + c/d
NOTES: BIKE: You can also do this interval set on a steep hill, seated on your bike with a very gentle touch of the brakes to stop forward momentum. This session works your cycling-specific strength without stressing your aerobic system too hard – so it’s important that you make each effort count! If you find your knees are sore after this, raise your bike seat slightly and ensure you use ice (see http://www.ironguides.net/all-about-ice/) and keep your muscles loose between sessions with gentle stretching and easy self-massage or a treatment from a masseur.
Sample Day 3
1300m, swum as:
• 4x50m easy w/u (10sec rest after each)
• Intervals as below:
• 8 x25m easy c/d (10sec rest)
• Using small paddles + pb starting in week 3
Week 1: 2x [6x50m (10sec rest) / 6x25m (15sec rest)] • Every 3rd 50m and 3rd 25m ALL OUT
Week 2: 2x [6x50m (10sec rest) / 6x25m (10sec rest)] • swim 50’s as 1 easy, 1 fast
Week 3: 2x [4x50m (10sec rest) / 10x25m (5sec rest)] • swim 25’s as 1 easy, 1 fast
NOTES: SWIM: Keeping the intervals short, we’re building you up to handle longer distances while working power and strength using the paddles and pb.
Sample Day 4
On flat land or on a flat treadmill: 20min w/u
10x [ALL OUT intervals as indicated / 60sec very very easy recovery]
15min very easy cool down STRIDE RATE ALWAYS OVER 96!
Week 1: 30 minutes Easy Jog
Week 2: Off
Week 3: w/u + 6x 10 secs Fast + c/d
Notes: Here you will be learning to recruit fast twitch fibers and teach your legs to run at a high stride rate “underduress!” Aim for 96 steps per leg per minute, always! See the ironguides.net forum for an explanation of how this helps.
Sample Day 5
2500: 25x100m, swum as:
• First 4 easy warmup
• Last 3 easy cooldown
• The rest ALL SAME SPLIT (meaning: Start easy and hold the split)
• Maximum SUSTAINABLE pace
• NEVER burning lungs
• Aiming for DEAD ARMS 10sec rest after each
Week 1: w/u + 8x100m + c/d
Week 2: w/u + 10x100m + c/d
Week 3: w/u + 12x100m + c/d
Notes: This swim simulates the longer distance you will be swimming on race day, without forcing you to swim the entire distance non-stop. The short rest gives your muscles a rest so that you can swim with a better stroke, while you still get the full aerobic training you need to go the distance on race day
Sample Day 6
Long Run, alternating weeks on land or treadmill / hills:
You will be building up to the following: (1) Flat Treadmill or Land one week 10min w/u
-15min at moderate (0.5 – 1 mph faster)
-15min at comfortably uncomfortable (0.5 – 1 mph faster again)
-10min easy c/d
--- alternating with –- (2) Hill Run the following week
-15min easy w/u
-30min of hills as described
-10min easy c/d
Week 1: 30min easy run on land
Week 2: 40min easy run on treadmill or land
Week 3: 40min hilly run, all easy to moderate
Notes: We’re building up your long run here, but using your training time to help build strength via the hill running, and to help build stride rate and learn negative splitting via the flat land or treadmill running. You get your endurance training and you get more specific training at the same time.
Sample Day 7
Endurance Bike, building to 120min by next phase:
• You’ll be pushing harder in this workout in following weeks.
• Push a bigger gear and keep your muscle tension high.
• Aim for cadence around 70-80 – this will mean pushing quite hard at times!
In strong head winds, increase your cadence and move into a smaller gear.
• Optionally, you can do these workouts on a stationary bike.
Off-the-bike, building to 40min eventually
• Optionally, you can do these runs on the treadmill…this helps develop a faster stride rate off to run off the bike with tired legs
Week 1: 60min Easy and Flat/ no run
Week 2: 75min easy and flat/ 20min easy jog
Week 3: 90min rolling terrain, easy/ 30min easy jog
BIKE: Your long bike session builds endurance. By working hard at the end of the bike you will be teaching yourself to warm up properly and to negative split, working harder and harder towards the end of the bike. Key Point: Try to work a larger gear, giving you a cadence of roughly 70-80rpm, with firm muscle tone but without “blowing up” your legs.
RUN: Running off the bike, we’ll focus on teaching you to “run faster than you think.” Key point: As with all of your run sessions, focus on running with a stride rate greater than 96! This is going to be hardest today, after your long bike – so focus hard on doing this!