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Suunto - 8 Week Olympic Distance Triathlon Plan


Susanne Davis - Suunto Multisport team Athlete & Coach

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8 Weeks

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Plan Description

This program is designed for the intermediate triathlete who has done a triathlon, but never followed a steady plan. My philosophy as a coach is to develop workouts that help you experience physically and mentally what your body and mind will feel on race day! Learning your zones and training with specific intervals, intensities and duration will help you reach your best potential and maximize the time you put into your training. Establish a goal, commit to the plan, organize your week on Sunday so you know how much time to carve out of your day around work, family and life. You can move a workout to accommodate life, but remember to not pile workouts into the next week because you didn't have time. Those workouts are gone and you shouldn't try to play catch up.

This program will help the triathlete who has some experience with triathlon or has raced individually in swimming, biking or running events and wants to be their best at competing in a Triathlon!

In order to take your racing to the next level or compete with confidence in an Olympic Distance Triathlon your training plan needs to focus on progression, intensity and consistency. Triathlon is a lifestyle sport. You can always learn something to improve upon. Here is a program to help guide you. Keep it fun, push hard, stay positive and enjoy this 8 week journey to a stronger fitness level and racing your best this season!

I suggest you keep a log detailing how you felt during the main set in a perceived level of effort along with what pace/mph/watts you were able to hold and the nutrition you used. It's important to learn what works for you and see a pattern.

- Zone 1 feels like a efflort/pain level 5 out of 10 or very easy. This low intensity training promotes increased oxygen absorption and used for recovery between intervals or during your warm ups and cool down.
- Zone 2 is Aerobic and easy to moderate feels like a 6 effort level. This increases your ability to tolerate higher volume and loads during training.
- Zone 3 is above aerobic threshold called tempo. You feel just on the edge of your comfort zone but in control. It feels like a 7 to 7.9 where you need to concentrate on maintaining a strong longer effort in pace.
- Zone 4 is Threshold which is out of your comfort zone. You are working hard which feels like a 8 to 8.9 out of 10 on the pain level. Time spent here develops the ability to process lactic acid at a quicker rate and develops your ability to use fast twitch fibers and the ability to hold your best pace for a longer period of time as you develop this in training!
- Zone 5 is above an-aerobic threshold and called your VO2 Max efforts which feels like a 9 to 9.9 out of 10 where you might just hit the wall. High power and speed gains are made here in training and efforts are usually short and require a longer rest period to hit your best effort here. This effort should only be done when you are very warmed up, have great form and not prone to injury.

To get your Zones you can Run a 5K and on the Bike you can do an FTP test.
Training Peaks and Suunto can also calculate your Zones based on your age and weight.

When using the training plan with Suunto watch, remember to do few things:
- Setup your watch intensity zones
- Set heart rate, pace and power zones (if you have a powermeter) from watch training settings
- Set the zones specific for running and cycling as the heart rate zone will differ depending of the sport
- Set the target zone prior the start of you run or ride, this makes it easier to follow the training intensity. You are able to also follow the duration you have accumulated in each intensity while working out
- When the workout has a interval, just input these prior the start in interval settings i.e. 10 repetitions of 5 minute interval with 30s recovery. After the workout you will get summary of the interval i.e. 10x with 260 watt/avg 155 heart rate and max heart rate of 160


Average Weekly Breakdown

Workouts Weekly Average Longest Workout
2:12 hrs 1:20 hrs
1:46 hrs 1:00 hrs
2:59 hrs 2:00 hrs
Workouts Per Week Weekly Average Longest Workout
2:12 hrs 1:20 hrs
1:46 hrs 1:00 hrs
2:59 hrs 2:00 hrs

Training Load By Week

This plan works best with the following fitness devices:

  • GPS

All supported devices

Sample Day 1


Warm up 15 min easy.

Main Set:
4x 4:30 with:
- 2 mins @85% z4
- 2 mins @90% z4/z5
- 30 sec sprint z5

easy 3 mins between.

10 min climb at 60-65rpm at z3.
easy 3 mins z2,

3 x 1:30 build every 30 sec from z3/z4/z5,
easy 1:00,

end with 10 min flat time trial at 90 rpm at z3.

Cool down easy to get time.

Sample Day 1

Run (straight after the bike)

Easy run off the bike.
Focus on form and leg turnover at 90rpm.

Sample Day 2

Light fartlek

Warm up 100 easy.

Main Set:
2x150 (75fast/75easy),
4x25 Kick (12.5 fast/12.5 easy),
2x150 (75fast/75easy),
4x25 Kick (12.5 fast/12.5 easy),
4x75 (25fast/50easy).
Rest 15 sec between each interval.

Cool down 100 easy

Sample Day 4


Warm up 30 mins easy z2 then

4x 4 mins at your 5k pace or z4
with 1 min recovery walk /jog z1.

Cool down 5 mins easy z2

Sample Day 5


Warm up 200 easy,

6x 50 drill (catch up, heads up),
2x400 at strong aerobic pace you can hold with only 10 sec rest between.

Sample Day 6


Warm up 15 mins with
( 5 x 1 min rpm builds 85/95/105),

Main Set:
6 mins tempo at 70rpm/
2 mins easy at 100rpm/
6mins tempo at 60 rpm/
2 mins easy at 100 rpm/
4 mins at 50 rpm/
2 mins easy at 100 rpm.

Cool down to get time.

Sample Day 6

Easy (from the bike)

Easy 15 mins separate or off bike if feeling good

Zone 2

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