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


Stacey Van der Meulen

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12 Weeks

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Plan Description

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 Plan Sample Week


Average Weekly Breakdown

Workouts Weekly Average Longest Workout
Swim x2
0:03 hrs 0:30 hrs
Run x2
1:57 hrs 1:20 hrs
Day Off x1
—— ——
Brick x1
1:28 hrs 2:00 hrs
Bike x1
1:23 hrs 2:30 hrs
Workouts Per Week Weekly Average Longest Workout
0:03 hrs 0:30 hrs
1:57 hrs 1:20 hrs
Day Off
—— ——
1:28 hrs 2:00 hrs
1:23 hrs 2:30 hrs

Training Load By Week

This plan works best with the following fitness devices:

  • GPS

All supported devices

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.

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