ironguides "The Method": 12-Week Olympic Distance Triathlon Training Plan - Intermediate Athletes

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.


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!

Sample Day 1
Swim - Week 1-3 Building a Routine

SWIM w/u: 4x100m easy (15sec rest after each) 2x the following (use pb + small paddles) [24x25m as
• First 3 are swum EASY (20sec rest)
• Every 4th 25m effort ALL OUT (20sec rest)
• After the 24x25’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: Swim the full set with paddles/pb for first set

Sample Day 2
Bike - Week 1-3 Building a Routine

BIKE On stationary bike, you will work up to begin the following in Week 3: 20min easy w/u 20x POWER Intervals [1min at 45-55 cadence HARD RESISTANCE / with 1min VERY EASY recovery] Make each effort ALL OUT against VERY HIGH resistance! The cadence should be low (40-45 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 + 10x POWER

Sample Day 3
Swim - Week 1-3 Building a Routine

SWIM 2200m, swum as:
• 4x50m easy w/u (10sec rest after each)
• Intervals as below
• 8 x25m easy c/d (10sec rest)
• Using small paddles + pb

Week 1: 4x [6x50m (10sec rest) / 6x25m (15sec rest)]
• Every 3rd 50m and 3rd 25m ALL OUT
Week 2: 4x [6x50m (10sec rest) / 6x25m (10sec rest)]
• swim 50’s as 1 easy, 1 fast
Week 3: 4x [4x50m (10sec rest) / 10x25m (5sec rest)]
• swim 25’s as 1 easy, 1 fast

Sample Day 3
Run - Week 1-3 Building a Routine

RUN Easy run

Week 1: 20min easy run on land
Week 2: 30min easy run on treadmill
Week 3: 30min moderate on land

Sample Day 4
Bike - Week 1-3 Building a Routine

BIKE: 60min on road or stationary, as: 15min easy w/u INTERVALS as below
• Ride these in a big gear, cadence 75-85
• Easy gear for Recovery
15min easy c/d

Week 1: 60mineasy
Week 2: 75min moderate
Week 3: w/u + 6x [2min hard / 3min easy] + c/d

Sample Day 5
Swim - Week 1-3 Building a Routine

SWIM 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 + 10x100 + c/d
Week 2: w/u + 14x100 + c/d
Week 3: w/u + 18x100 + c/d

Sample Day 6
Run - Week 1-3 Building a Routine

RUN 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 easy 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 / 10min easy c/d

Week 1: 40min easy run on land
Week 2: 50min easy run on treadmill
Week 3: 50min hilly run, land, all easy to moderate