INTERMEDIATE OLYMPIC Triathlon: 12-week plan (Power and pace based)

Average Weekly Training Hours 08:00
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours 08:00
Training Load By Week

Unique benefits of this plan (that few, if any, other plans have):
-Sessions ccategorised as A, B, and C sessions to help you decide which workout to skip if life gets in the way
-In addition to tips for the actual workouts, the plan contains tips on what your focus points should be on a weekly level, what the purpose of each week is, and tips on planning your race, how to stay healthy and injury-free, and more.
-Plenty of links and additional resources. Not sure how to sight in open water swimming? No problem, this plan links to the best instructional video on the topic, and the same goes for other topics like foam-rolling, etc.

This plan will help intermediate triathletes race their fastest Olympic distance triathlon ever in 12 weeks. The structured and specific progression of the workouts in the plan will see to that. If you typically finish between the top-20% and top-75% of your age-group this plan will suit you well.

The plan is simple and easy-to-follow. It is based on pace (for running) and power (for cycling). You don't need any prior knowledge about structured training endurance sports to be able to follow it. Everything is clearly explained in the plan.

There is on average 8 hours of training per week, over 6-8 workouts. The lightest week is 5 hours, and the hardest has 10 hours of training.

This plan is also available as versions based on bike heart rate instead of power and based on run power instead of pace to guide intensity. See https://www.trainingpeaks.com/coach/mikael-eriksson.

Sample Day 2
0:45:00
1300m
50TSS
CSS-test (Critical Swim Speed)

The CSS test involves two time trial swims - a 400m and a 200m. Before attempting these swims perform a thorough warmup that will get you ready for the time trial, but that won't make you too tired to perform the time trials optimally.

Warm-up
-300 very easy swim
-4 x 50 build / 20 sec

CSS-test
-Do the 400 m time trial
-Recover completely for 10-15 minutes with a fair bit of rest and a few laps of very easy swimming
-Do the 200 m time trial

Cool-down
-200m mixed strokes

Sample Day 4
0:45:00
59.6TSS
20 min Time Trial - Establish training zones (Pace and HR)

Use a flat course that you can repeat this test on at a later date. Wear your heart rate monitor and GPS-watch.

Warm-up (20 minutes total)
10 minutes easy jogging
3 x (30 seconds moderate to hard effort, 30 seconds walk)
2 minutes easy jog
5 more minutes of very easy jogging and 2-3 x 20-second strides (smooth accelerations to 90-95% of max speed, but stay relaxed)

20 min Time Trial
Hit lap button on your watch and run for 20 minutes as fast as you can. Be careful not to go off too fast. After 20 minutes, hit the lap button again. Use manual lapping only on your watch so the entire time trial is in one single lap.

Cool down
Jog-walk for 5 minutes.

Sample Day 7
1:15:00
95.9TSS
Endurance run (hills) - Pace/HR/RPE

Easy endurance run in Z2.

If possible, include as much running up and down hills as possible to further work on your muscular strength and endurance. The more elevation gain you can accumulate, the better!

On hills, use RPE and heart rate to ensure you stay in Z2 (low Z3 is also ok occasionally) rather than pace.

Sample Day 26
1:15:00
3100m
90TSS
Swim Speed - 100s, 75s, and 50s

Warm-up:
-5 x 200 m / 30 sec recoveries as:
1. Single-arm drill, alternate right and left arm every 25 m
2. 2 x ( 25 m doggy paddle, 25 m front scull, 25 m doggy paddle, 25 m swim)
3. Swim with tennis balls in hands (or clenched fists
2. 2 x (25 m front scull, 25 m doggy paddle, 25 m front scull, 25 m swim)
5. Single-arm drill, alternate right and left arm every 25 m
Snorkel and pull buoy optional in this set.

Floating start set - for these 50s, don't push off from the wall, but start from a "race start position" in the water 5 m from the wall, ready to go on the (imaginary) gun:
-3 x 50 as (20 sprint + 25 very easy) w/ fins / 30 sec rest
-3 x 50 as (20 sprint + 25 very easy) w/ fins + paddles / 30 sec rest
-2 x 50 as (15 m water polo, no touching the wall but "round the buoy" to turn around, very easy on the way back) / 30 sec rest

Main set - all intervals are absolute maximum efforts!
2 x (
-100 leaving on 2'30" (if you swim the 100 in 1'30" you get 1' rest)
-2 x 75 on 2'10"
-3 x 50 on 1'30"
-2 x 50 on 1'15"
-200 very easy recovery
-Rest as needed before starting the next set
)

Pull set:
-4 x 50 technique-focused w/ paddles + pull buoy / 10 sec
-4 x 25 technique-focused w/ paddles + pull buoy + ankle strap / 10 sec

MORE INFORMATION:
Warm-up:
-Don't make yourself tired during the warm up by swimming it too hard. Save all hard strokes for the main set. In today's warm up we focus on stroke mechanics through various drills. Be present and focused in the drills, and take them with you into the normal swim segments.

Floating start set:
This set will get your muscles primed and ready for hard swimming, but the short bouts of hard swimming means you will recover completely for the main set. This set is also a great way to practise floating starts, so (for certain races), it is very race-specific.

Main set:
-Don't be fooled by the long recovery times in this set. Done hard enough, this workout is ridiculously hard! You need to pace yourself a little bit, but we're looking for an absolute maximum effort as the overall outcome of this set. You shouldn't have anything left after completing it.

Pull set:
-Swim with ankle strap (and pull buoy only if you really need it) https://youtu.be/0prPd6gjQqc

DRILLS:
-Scull #1 (front scull) https://youtu.be/f96EqH0mdc0
-Doggy paddle https://youtu.be/PqwN2l_HWrc
-Single-arm https://youtu.be/MhD3S1mJPTM
-Swim with tennis balls https://youtu.be/Y04aJw_O50s

Sample Day 39
0:45:00
1300m
50TSS
CSS-test (Critical Swim Speed)

The CSS test involves two time trial swims - a 400m and a 200m. Before attempting these swims perform a thorough warmup that will get you ready for the time trial, but that won't make you too tired to perform the time trials optimally.

Warm-up
-300 very easy swim
-4 x 50 build / 20 sec

CSS-test
-Do the 400 m time trial
-Recover completely for 10-15 minutes with a fair bit of rest and a few laps of very easy swimming
-Do the 200 m time trial

Cool-down
-200m mixed strokes

Sample Day 42
0:45:00
59.6TSS
20 min Time Trial - Establish training zones (Pace and HR)

Use a flat course that you can repeat this test on at a later date. Wear your heart rate monitor and GPS-watch.

Warm-up (20 minutes total)
10 minutes easy jogging
3 x (30 seconds moderate to hard effort, 30 seconds walk)
2 minutes easy jog
5 more minutes of very easy jogging and 2-3 x 20-second strides (smooth accelerations to 90-95% of max speed, but stay relaxed)

20 min Time Trial
Hit lap button on your watch and run for 20 minutes as fast as you can. Be careful not to go off too fast. After 20 minutes, hit the lap button again. Use manual lapping only on your watch so the entire time trial is in one single lap.

Cool down
Jog-walk for 5 minutes.

Sample Day 83
0:15:00
Pre-race open water swim

If you can, get in the open water (ideally at or near the race course) and do the following workout.

Warm-up:
5 min easy, gradually increasing to moderate. Focus on technique and efficiency

5 x (20-25 strokes accelerating to race pace, 2 minutes (110-130 strokes) easy swim ) / 15 sec rest

Mikael Eriksson - Founder of Scientific Triathlon, Podcaster at That Triathlon Show
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Scientific Triathlon

With all the athletes I coach, I have three goals:

-Improve the athlete's performance
-Increase the motivation and enjoyment the athlete gets from the sport
-Provide 100% personalized feedback, mentoring and support. Essentially, teach my athletes to be able to self-coach, should they so desire.

I have coached complete beginners to finish their first sprint and Olympic triathlons, and helped intermediate/advanced athletes qualify for World Championships and reach age group wins and podiums.