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Triathlon: Olympic Distance Triathlon, Beginner Plan: 5.25 to 8 (or 10) hrs/wk


Gale Bernhardt

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3.75 (4)


12 Weeks

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Plan Description

You might be a beginning triathlete or maybe you have a couple of races under your belt from previous seasons. In either case you are fit and are NOT a beginning athlete. Before beginning Week 1 of the plan you are capable of riding a bike 30 to 60 minutes two days a week and completing a long ride around two hours on a third day. You can swim 100 yards (or meters) nonstop and swimming for 30 minutes a couple of times per week is easy. You can run two days per week, one 30-minute run and a longer run of 45 minutes.

With the profile in mind, have a look at the plan preview. If the first couple of weeks of training look like training loads you can handle, this is your plan. Weekly training hours range from 5:15 to a maximum between 8:15 and 10:00. There is some flexibility built into the plan to accommodate individual differences. For example there is no time posted for the swim workouts. Obviously there can be big differences in swimming abilities between people with a competitive swim background and those just getting into swimming. Some of the run and bike workouts also have ranges built into the workouts.

The plan has a general pattern of cycling and strength training on Monday and Wednesday, heading to only

Mondays as the plan progresses. Strength training is optional in this plan. If you decide not to strength train, you can replace the strength training time with more time on the bike on those days. If you are currently strength training, you can keep your current routine. Be aware and notice if strength training is taking too much energy away from your swimming, cycling and running. If this is the case, consider reducing the exercises, sets or repetitions to allow higher quality workouts during the aerobic sessions.

Swimming is shown on Tuesday, Thursday and some Saturdays. Running workouts are typically on Tuesday, some Thursdays and Saturdays. Long rides are on Sundays.

Friday is always a day off. If it works better for you to have a different schedule and move the workouts around, it can be done. Try to keep similar workouts 48 hours apart. In other words, it is preferable to swim on Tuesday and Thursday instead of Tuesday and Wednesday.

By Week 10 you are doing a training day that includes a morning swim followed by a 2:45 brick. The brick includes race-pace work.

Find the supporting documents you need to help you with this plan at this link.

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Training Plan Sample Week


Average Weekly Breakdown

Workouts Weekly Average Longest Workout
Bike x3
3:01 hrs 2:30 hrs
Swim x3
—— ——
Run x3
1:31 hrs 1:15 hrs
Strength x1
0:37 hrs 0:30 hrs
Day Off x1
—— ——
Workouts Per Week Weekly Average Longest Workout
3:01 hrs 2:30 hrs
—— ——
1:31 hrs 1:15 hrs
0:37 hrs 0:30 hrs
Day Off
—— ——

Training Load By Week

This plan works best with the following fitness devices:

  • Heart Rate Monitor

All supported devices

Gale Bernhardt

Gale Bernhardt Consulting Inc.

I offer one-on-one, completely personalized coaching for athletes that want customized training.

For athletes that enjoy self-coaching, but need a bit of help, I offer phone consulting services.

You can find more information about these services on my website

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