BEGINNER or FIRST TRIATHLON: Sprint distance in 8 weeks (Heart rate and pace based)

Average Weekly Breakdown
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Breakdown
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours: 03:59

Unique benefits of this plan (that few, if any, other plans have):
-Sessions ccategorised as A, B, and C sessions to help you decide which workout to skip if life gets in the way
-In addition to tips for the actual workouts, the plan contains tips on what your focus points should be on a weekly level, what the purpose of each week is, and tips on planning your race, how to stay healthy and injury-free, and more.
-Plenty of links and additional resources. Not sure how to sight in open water swimming? No problem, this plan links to the best instructional video on the topic, and the same goes for other topics like foam-rolling, etc.

This plan will help complete beginners or triathletes with a couple of races behind them prepare for a sprint distance race in 8-weeks.

For the first-timer, the plan will make sure you complete the race with no issues, and can enjoy it. For the triathlete who has already completed a triathlon or two before, the structured progression of the plan will help you go faster.

The plan is simple and easy-to-follow. It is based on pace (for running) and heart rate (for cycling). You don't need any prior knowledge about endurance sports to be able to follow it.

There is on average 4 hours of training per week, over 6 workouts. The lightest week is 3 hours, and the hardest has 5:15 of training.

This plan is also available as versions where RPE and/or heart rate only (bike and run) zones are used to determine intensity. See https://www.trainingpeaks.com/coach/mikael-eriksson.

Sample Day 1
0:35:00
41.2TSS
20-minute Time Trial - Establish Training Zones (HR)

Do the test on an indoor trainer or outside with no interruptions for traffic and ideally as flat as possible. Wear a heart rate monitor.

Warm-up
5 minutes easy spinning
3 x (30 seconds moderate to hard effort, 30 seconds easy)
2 minutes easy

20-minute Time Trial
Hit lap button on your watch and ride for 20 min as hard and fast as you can sustain. Don't go out too hard, but make sure that you've given it your 100% at the end of the test. After 20 min, hit the lap button again. Use manual lapping only on your watch (not automatic 1k laps or similar) so the entire time trial is in one single lap.

Cool-down
5-10 minutes very easy spin.

Sample Day 2
0:30:00
Foundational/Technical Swim

Warm-up set - 10 min
-Easy 25-m repeats for the set duration / 10-20 sec rest between intervals

Technique set - 10 min
Pick 1 or 2 drills that target your weaknesses from the list below.
-Repeat (25 m Drill 1, 25 m normal swim) for 5 min / 10-15 sec rest between intervals
-Repeat (25 m Drill 2, 25 m normal swim) for 5 min / 10-15 sec rest between intervals

Endurance set - 10 min
-3 x 3 min* @ RPE = 5 / 30 sec rest between intervals

*Pick a specific distance that you can cover for the time duration. For example, for 2-min intervals it might be 75 m, 100 m, 125 m, or something else. But pick one distance and repeat it for the prescribed number of intervals.

MORE INFORMATION:

Warm-up
Focus on one or at most 2 aspects of your technique / swimming form throughout the warm-up (the warm-up is an additional technique set). Presence and focus will pay dividends! Choose the 1 or 2 aspects that are your biggest weaknesses (e.g. breathing, body position, rhythm)


Technique set
For each drill, know what the purpose of it is and what you want to achieve (e.g. practise better breathing, body position, etc). When you swim back in the "normal swim" segments, try to implement the technique you trained in the drill in your normal stroke.


Endurance set
Pace well! Swim at an easy, comfortable, and constant pace. Don't go out too hard and fade. It's good if you have energy left to go faster towards the end.

DRILLS:
(In many of the drills, it may be appropriate to use tools like fins and snorkel if you have them)

All-purpose drills
-Swim with fins

Rhythm
-Catch-up: https://youtu.be/L2ZUMX0qQns

Body position
-Side kick https://youtu.be/3mBb2djmdv0
-6-1-6 https://youtu.be/3mBb2djmdv0
-6-3-6 https://youtu.be/HfXuRVVc_Ic

Stroke mechanics
-Scull #1 (front scull) https://youtu.be/f96EqH0mdc0
-Scull #2 (under shoulders scull) https://youtu.be/_2Fezx3ZnD0
-Single-arm https://youtu.be/MhD3S1mJPTM
-Doggy paddle https://youtu.be/PqwN2l_HWrc

Breathing
-As you swim, repeat the phrase “Breath, bubble, breathe, bubble to yourself”. Say “breathe” as you rotate to take a breath and “bubble” as you turn your face back into the water and you should be starting to exhale. Literally say “bubble” out loud in the water as you’re exhaling - this will make you blow out air into the water as you should.

Sample Day 3
0:35:00
41.8TSS
20 min Time Trial - Establish training zones (Pace and HR)

Use a flat course that you can repeat this test on at a later date. Wear your heart rate monitor.

Warm-up
5 minutes easy jogging
3 x (30 seconds moderate to hard effort, 30 seconds walk)
2 minutes easy jog

20 min Time Trial
Hit lap button on your watch and run for 20 minutes as fast as you can. Be careful not to go off too fast. After 20 minutes, hit the lap button again. Use manual lapping only on your watch so the entire time trial is in one single lap.

Cool down
Walk for 5-10 minutes.

Sample Day 5
0:30:00
Foundational/Technical Swim

Warm-up set - 10 min
-Easy 25-m repeats for the set duration / 10-20 sec rest between intervals

Technique set - 10 min
Pick 1 or 2 drills that target your weaknesses from the list below.
-Repeat (25 m Drill 1, 25 m normal swim) for 5 min / 10-15 sec rest between intervals
-Repeat (25 m Drill 2, 25 m normal swim) for 5 min / 10-15 sec rest between intervals

Endurance set - 10 min
-4 x 2 min @ RPE = 5 / 20 sec rest between intervals

*Pick a specific distance that you can cover for the time duration. For example, for 2-min intervals it might be 75 m, 100 m, 125 m, or something else. But pick one distance and repeat it for the prescribed number of intervals.


MORE INFORMATION:

Warm-up
Focus on one or at most 2 aspects of your technique / swimming form throughout the warm-up (the warm-up is an additional technique set). Presence and focus will pay dividends! Choose the 1 or 2 aspects that are your biggest weaknesses (e.g. breathing, body position, rhythm)


Technique set
For each drill, know what the purpose of it is and what you want to achieve (e.g. practise better breathing, body position, etc). When you swim back in the "normal swim" segments, try to implement the technique you trained in the drill in your normal stroke.


Endurance set
Pace well! Swim at an easy, comfortable, and constant pace. Don't go out too hard and fade. It's good if you have energy left to go faster towards the end.

DRILLS:
(In many of the drills, it may be appropriate to use tools like fins and snorkel if you have them)

All-purpose drills
-Swim with fins

Rhythm
-Catch-up: https://youtu.be/L2ZUMX0qQns

Body position
-Side kick https://youtu.be/3mBb2djmdv0
-6-1-6 https://youtu.be/3mBb2djmdv0
-6-3-6 https://youtu.be/HfXuRVVc_Ic

Stroke mechanics
-Scull #1 (front scull) https://youtu.be/f96EqH0mdc0
-Scull #2 (under shoulders scull) https://youtu.be/_2Fezx3ZnD0
-Single-arm https://youtu.be/MhD3S1mJPTM
-Doggy paddle https://youtu.be/PqwN2l_HWrc

Breathing
-As you swim, repeat the phrase “Breath, bubble, breathe, bubble to yourself”. Say “breathe” as you rotate to take a breath and “bubble” as you turn your face back into the water and you should be starting to exhale. Literally say “bubble” out loud in the water as you’re exhaling - this will make you blow out air into the water as you should.

Sample Day 6
0:40:00
20TSS
Endurance ride

Easy endurance ride in Z2.

Sample Day 7
0:25:00
31.1TSS
Endurance run

Easy endurance run in Z2.

Sample Day 9
0:45:00
Foundational/Technical Swim

Warm-up set - 10 min
-Easy 25-m repeats for the set duration / 10-20 sec rest between intervals

Technique set - 15 min
Pick 1 or 2 drills that target your weaknesses from the list below.
-Repeat (25 m Drill 1, 25 m normal swim) for 5 min / 10-15 sec rest between intervals
-Repeat (25 m Drill 2, 25 m normal swim) for 5 min / 10-15 sec rest between intervals

Endurance set - 20 min
-6 x 3 min* @ RPE = 5 / 30 sec rest between intervals

*Pick a specific distance that you can cover for the time duration. For example, for 2-min intervals it might be 75 m, 100 m, 125 m, or something else. But pick one distance and repeat it for the prescribed number of intervals.

MORE INFORMATION:

Warm-up
Focus on one or at most 2 aspects of your technique / swimming form throughout the warm-up (the warm-up is an additional technique set). Presence and focus will pay dividends! Choose the 1 or 2 aspects that are your biggest weaknesses (e.g. breathing, body position, rhythm)


Technique set
For each drill, know what the purpose of it is and what you want to achieve (e.g. practise better breathing, body position, etc). When you swim back in the "normal swim" segments, try to implement the technique you trained in the drill in your normal stroke.


Endurance set
Pace well! Swim at an easy, comfortable, and constant pace. Don't go out too hard and fade. It's good if you have energy left to go faster towards the end.

DRILLS:
(In many of the drills, it may be appropriate to use tools like fins and snorkel if you have them)

All-purpose drills
-Swim with fins

Rhythm
-Catch-up: https://youtu.be/L2ZUMX0qQns

Body position
-Side kick https://youtu.be/3mBb2djmdv0
-6-1-6 https://youtu.be/3mBb2djmdv0
-6-3-6 https://youtu.be/HfXuRVVc_Ic

Stroke mechanics
-Scull #1 (front scull) https://youtu.be/f96EqH0mdc0
-Scull #2 (under shoulders scull) https://youtu.be/_2Fezx3ZnD0
-Single-arm https://youtu.be/MhD3S1mJPTM
-Doggy paddle https://youtu.be/PqwN2l_HWrc

Breathing
-As you swim, repeat the phrase “Breath, bubble, breathe, bubble to yourself”. Say “breathe” as you rotate to take a breath and “bubble” as you turn your face back into the water and you should be starting to exhale. Literally say “bubble” out loud in the water as you’re exhaling - this will make you blow out air into the water as you should.

Mikael Eriksson - Founder of Scientific Triathlon, Podcaster at That Triathlon Show
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Scientific Triathlon

With all the athletes I coach, I have three goals:

-Improve the athlete's performance
-Increase the motivation and enjoyment the athlete gets from the sport
-Provide 100% personalized feedback, mentoring and support. Essentially, teach my athletes to be able to self-coach, should they so desire.

I have coached complete beginners to finish their first sprint and Olympic triathlons, and helped intermediate/advanced athletes qualify for World Championships and reach age group wins and podiums.