Olympic Distance 12 Week Training Plan - First Timer or Time Crunched

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Olympic Distance 12 Week Training Plan - First Timer or Time Crunched


Stacey Van der Meulen

All plans by this Coach


12 Weeks

Typical Week

2 Swim, 2 Run, 1 Day Off, 1 Brick, 1 Bike

Longest Workout

0:30 hrs swim
2:30 hrs bike
1:20 hrs run

Plan Specs

triathlon olympic intermediate

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Olympic Distance Training Plan for a first-timer over the distance or a time crunched athlete. Suits an athlete who already has some base fitness and is stepping up from a shorter distance to Olympic Distance or who has less than 8 hours to train each week. Assumes the athlete can complete sessions 2.5km swim, 45 min ride, 5km run or run/walk).

The author of the plan is a TA Accredited Development Coach.

The plan doesn't have rest days built into it. These are best taken when it best suits the athlete based on fatigue levels and individual needs, strengths and weaknesses. We suggest a rest day at least every 10 days.

All sessions are done using perceived effort. There are essentially 4 training zones used in the sessions:
1. Steady effort - this is a pace you can sustain over a long period of time. It is your cruise pace and is an effort level that would enable you to hold a conversation.
2. Solid effort- this is a stronger effort, but is sustainable over a long period. It is that comfortably, uncomfortable pace. It takes effort to get there, but with focus can be comfortably maintained. Akin to an effort you can sustain running a half marathon. You are not gasping for air in this effort.
3. Strong effort - this is a strong effort. Akin to an effort you could sustain running a 10km running race. You might be able to speak a few words, but shouldn't be able to hold a conversation.
4. Max or Best effort - this is your best sustainable effort over the given interval. For running we suggest holding back and only going to about 90% effort to protect from injury.

In addition, you will find easy -for warm up, warm down and for recovery intervals or sessions. This is meant to be done very easy.

Abbreviations for plan
(*) - A number in brackets at end of an interval is your rest break
WU - Warm up
MS - Main set
WD - Warm Down
PB - Pool Buoy
PPB - Pool Buoy and Paddles
Build -means that you build your intensity over the length of the interval
HVO -means high velocity overload - max effort for 15-20 m then the rest all easy
PS -Positive split
NS -Negative Split
ROTB - means run off the bike


Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Breakdown
Average Weekly Training Hours: 04:53
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours: 04:53
Average Weekly Breakdown

Stacey Van der Meulen

Synergy Triathlon Coaching

We provide training programs and online coaching for athletes of all abilities and across all race distances.

Whether you are a first-timer about to take on your first Sprint Distance triathlon or a seasoned age-grouper with goals to achieve a new PB or event to qualify for a World Championship event, we can provide a structured training program and online coaching to help you achieve your goals.

Please note: all our training programs are based on perceived effort.

Sample Day 1

4 x 100, 300, 200s mixed effort

200 swim easy (20)
200 as 50 swim, 50 kick x 2
2 x 50 HVO (10)
4 x 100m solid aerobic (10)
300m best effort (30)
200m easy (20)
Repeat x 2
WD: 100 swim easy

Sample Day 2

6, 4, 2 min intervals

WU: 10 min easy
6 min solid, 90 sec standing rest (SR) x 2
4 min strong, 60 sec SR x 2
2 min best effort, 30 sec SR x 2
WD: 10 min easy

Sample Day 4

Race cadence variable effort

Warm up
10 mins easy
8 min steady 75-80 RPM/ 2 min easy
6 min solid 75-80 RPM/ 2 min easy
4 min strong 75-80 RPM/ 2 min easy
1 laps best effort 75-80 RPM/ 2 min easy

Run off the bike 1km easy

Sample Day 5

3 x 300s

200 easy (15)
2 x 100 build (15)
4 x 50 HVO (10)
3 x 300 Descend 1-3 (steady, solid, fast - try to go 10 seconds quicker each 300 with the 3rd being best effort) (30)
200 Easy (30)
Repeat x 2 (swim, pb, p/pb)

200 as 50 kick / 50 swim x 2

Sample Day 6

Run all steady

Run all steady 45 min

Sample Day 7

Long ride

1.5 hours long bike all steady

Sample Day 8


50, 100, 200, 200, 100. 50 all steady 10-15 sec rest between
400 steady (20)
300 solid (20)
200 strong (20)
Repeat x 2. Set 1 Swim, Set 2 PPB
300 as 50 kick, 50 swim x 2, 100 choice

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