Beginner Triathlon Winter Training Program

Author

Justin Roeder

All plans by this Coach

Length

5 Weeks

Typical Week

3 Bike, 2 Run, 2 Strength, 2 Swim, 1 Day Off

Plan Specs

triathlon sprint beginner masters weightloss multi day strength base period

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Summary

5 week build up for the beginner triathlete. This is a perfect kick start program to make sure you are ready to go before your first sprint triathlon.

Justin Roeder, USAT Level 1 Coach

Roeder Multisport: Running and Triathlon Coaching

USA Triathlon Certified Coach

Former USA Triathlon Elite ITU Athlete

I specialize in creating custom training plans for athletes of all ability levels looking to improve within the sports of swimming, biking and running. I have coached beginner runners looking to finish their first 5k, competitive Boston Marathon qualifiers, beginner triathletes, and countless Ironman finishers!

Back to Plan Details

Sample Day 1

Triathlon Training Terminology 101

Glossary of Terms


Training Zones: These are specific to each athlete and can be measured through heart rate, pace per mile, power meters, or simply rate of perceived effort. We will utilize 5 zones as defined below. Depending on what technology you choose to train with will dictate how you will want to measure which zone you are training in.


Zone 1: Active Recovery Zone

• Warm-up, Warm-down, very easy zone.

• Examples of this would be spinning on your bike in the easiest gear, sustainable swimming without much effort, or light jogging at a pace that is 2 minutes or slower than your 5k pace (min/mile). For example, if you run a 5k at 9 minute pace, then your zone 1 would be 11 minute miles.


• Heart Rate Zone 1: 50-60% of your maximum heart rate

• Rate of Perceived Effort: On a scale of 1-20 with 1 being easy and 20 being all out, this zone would be 4-7

Zone 2: True Aerobic Zone

• Extended Endurance, Long Run Pace (runs over 90 minutes), Long Ride Pace (Rides over 2 hours).

• The top end of this zone is typically where novice long distance triathlete race for their swim, bike, and run portion.


• Heart Rate Zone 2: 60-75% of your maximum heart rate

• Rate of Perceived Effort: On a scale of 1-20 with 1 being easy and 20 being all out, this zone would be 8-10








Zone 3: Intense Endurance Zone

• This is your tempo zone or what I like to call the grey area. It is not easy, but it is not too hard. You can hold this for tougher efforts for 30-120 minutes depending on your current fitness level

• This is the zone where half ironman athletes will compete. You can buffer your lactate lover enough to where you do not bonk if properly fueling. Again, you can hold the bottom of this zone for half ironman if properly fueled and trained.


• Rate of Perceived Effort: On a scale of 1-20 with 1 being easy and 20 being all out, this zone would be 10-13

• Heart Rate Zone 3: 75-85% of your maximum heart rate



Zone 4: Sub-Lactic Threshold

• This is your threshold zone where you are trying to hold your highest level of effort for 30-60 minutes (pending training). If you go slightly above this zone you most likely will have to really back off the effort for your heart rate, lactate level, and breathing to get under control. This is zone is very tricky, but best practiced with 6-15 minute intervals to learn just how hard we can go while not tipping the scale to the extreme!

• The high end of this zone is what a sprint triathlon or 5k feels like


• The bottom end of this zone is what a 10k or Olympic Triathlon feels like

• Heart Rate Zone 4: 85-95% of your maximum heart rate


• Rate of Perceived Effort: On a scale of 1-20 with 1 being easy and 20 being all out, this zone would be 14-17







Zone 5: Super Threshold, Anaerobic Endurance, Power Zone

• This zone is simple…it is hard!

• Efforts 2-4 minutes are very hard in this zone and you should not be able to hold this effort for more than 5 minutes.


• This is your true VO2 max zone. You could complete 100s in the pool at this effort, or hard hill repeats while running, or a 2 minute all out bike sprint.

• Heart Rate Zone 5: 90-100% of maximum heart rate


• Rate of Perceived Effort: On a scale of 1-20 with 1 being easy and 20 being all out, this zone would be 18-20


SWIMMING TERMS

• Cadence - Will be used in reference to the number of strokes per length
• Length- A length in swimming is the distance from one side of the pool to the other
• LAP- a lap in a pool is a complete down and back from one wall to the other and back.
• DPS - Stands for “Distance per Stroke” with the idea of concentrating on stroke length, and lengthening by extending the pulling hand longer behind the body
• Catch – The first phase of the swim stroke immediately occurring after the hand enters the water and fully extends. The catch opens up the surface area of the hand and forearm to allow the core and large muscles of the back and chest to apply power.
• Power phase – The middle portion of the underwater phase of the swim stroke. Occurs while the body is rotating, the arm has the most exposed surface area as the palm is pressed straight back. 
• Finish – The extension of the hand beyond the hip and out of the water
• Recovery – The above water phase of the freestyle swim stroke 
• Entry – Immediately following the recovery phase, refers to the point when the fingertips enter the water in front of the body.
• Catch up Drill – A freestyle drill where the gliding hand is left in front of the body in the glide phase of the stroke longer to allow the recovering hand to “catch up” to the front. Body rotation is delayed until the very last moment when the thumbs of each hand brush past each other (in front of the body)as the recovering hand enters the water to start the next stroke.
• Spear Drill – A balance and body position that involves kicking on the side with the bottom arm outstretched in front of the body. Opposite (top) arm rests on the side. No strokes are taken during the drill, the emphasis is on keeping the body perfectly horizontal and practicing breathing without moving anything other than the neck. This can first be performed with fins, feet should be at the surface and you should feel like you are pushing your armpit into the bottom of the pool.
• Balance Drills – Any Drill that helps to establish proper body position, stabilization, and coordination.
• Teeter Totter- a teeter totter is a balance drill where you kick on your stomach with your hands at your sides. You work on a strong kick and have your back, head, butt, and feet on top of the water. There is no use of arms on this drill. When you need to breath you raise your head straight up in front of you to grab a breath. This causes your feet to sink slightly and hence the title “teeter totter”
• Power Drills – Drills that utilize added resistance to build additional strength.
• Paddles- these swim paddles are great to introduce extra strength and fall under the power drills
• Pull Buoy- this floatation devices are great to learn proper body position
• Fins- swimming with fins help with beginners learning how to kick properly, from the hips. Advance swimmers can gain strength as well with fins. Fins come in long and short lengths.

 
CYCLING

• Cadence – Will be used in reference to the pedal revolutions per minute
• Time trial – A timed, maximum effort over a pre-specified distance usually ranging from 10-40 kilometers
• Hill Repeats – Repetitions of the same uphill section, usually performed by time or by specific hill. Ex. 6 x 60sec hill repeats
• Standing Climbing – Standing up from the seat while climbing a hill in an effort to apply more power into the pedal stroke.
• Sitting Climbing- sitting down on the seat while climbing a hill
• Watts- the measure of power placed on the pedals by the rider. This is the best measure of effort. When combined with heart rate it doesn’t get much better for data!
• Road Bike- a road bike has the the curve handlebars where the breaks and shifting are on the same lever. These bikes allow more power production, but are less aero than triathlon bikes.
• Triathlon Bike- a triathlon bike is a specific bike for time trials where the shifting and brakes are on separate parts of the handlebars. Triathlon bikes are more aerodynamics allowing athletes to ride faster and save more energy for the run.




 
RUNNING

• Cadence – Will be used to describe the number of foot impacts in a minute
• Hill repeats – Similar to Cycling hill repeats. Usually performed at maximum effort unless otherwise noted.
• Strides – A gradual increase in speed to about 90% maximum effort for a total duration of 50-100meters. Usually performed in sets of 6-12. Purpose is to improve leg turnover rate, form and power.
• Tempo Run – a workout performed with a pace faster than desired race pace. 
• Interval – A repeated, consistent distance done faster than race pace. Intervals have several variables
• Distance Repeated (i.e. – 8 x 400meters 4 x 1 mile)
• Pace (i.e. – marathon pace, 5 k pace, 70 second 400’s etc.)
• Rest Period (i.e. – Full recovery, 1 to 1 effort to recover)
• Fartlek – A less structured method of interval training that involves an increase in intensity followed by a recovery phase, usually performed on rolling and varying terrain. 

 
 
GENERAL

• Aerobic Metabolism – Energy production in the body that requires oxygen
• Anaerobic Metabolism – Energy production in the body that does not use oxygen and produces lactate as a byproduct
• Beats per Minute (BPM) – Unit of measurement used for pulse or heart rate
• Brick – A combination of more than one of the three disciplines combined into one workout. Examples include swim-bike, bike-run, run-bike-run, etc.
• Negative Split – An interval, workout or race where the second half is performed faster than the first half
• Even Split – An interval, workout or race where the second half is performed equal to the first half
• Rest Interval (RI) – The amount of time during interval training spent recovering
%max Will be shown as 70%, 75% Etc. and refers to the heart rate relative to maximum heart rate for that activity Example if max heart rate is 200bpm, 70% would be 140bpm.
• Maximum Heart Rate – Refers to the highest possible rate an individuals heart will beat during a specific activity, measured in beats per minute 
• Threshold – (Lactic Acid Threshold) At the lactic acid threshold you body will begin to produce lactic acid at a rate faster than it can be metabolized at. This is an unsustainable pace as it results in a decrease in blood ph, muscle pain and fatigue. Efforts at or above Lactic Threshold should be avoided during ironman competition.

Sample Day 1

Aerobic Bike Ride

Make sure your bike is ready to go! You should be able to shift all the gears without the chain making too much noise. If it is squeaky you need oil! If it is really loud you should ask yourself when was the last time you had a tune up! Please take care of your equipment and it will take care of you!

Aerobic Ride Overview:

Beginner Sprint/Olympic Athletes - 20 minutes easy spinning

Half Ironman Athletes- 25-40 minute easy spinning

Ironman Athletes- 35-50 minute easy spinning

Q: What is aerobic for a ride?
A: 50-65% of your max effort. Again, think about spinning your legs quickly, smoothly, but gently on the pedals. Do not smash the pedals in a big gear, it would be more advantageous to pedal in an easier gear right now at a slightly faster pace. Think about riding at 4-5 out of 10 effort on these rides.


Quick Tips: If you can't ride your bike comfortably on a trainer than chances are we need to address fit. Now is the time to solve hands going numb, pain in knees, back, and neck.

Fitness Tip: If you are looking at this and you are thinking this is too much, then dial it back. If you are looking at this and you think it is way too easy then add 10-15% volume. (PLEASE DO NOT follow this rule on the run or swim as you might get injured)

Sample Day 2

Aerobic Run (Join us at our Tuesday Night Runs for company and make sure you are talking!)

Depending on your current condition the distance may vary. Remember these winter plans are vague intentionally! The goal of this program is to get us a little closer to the start of the training programs in January.


Suggested Aerobic Run Distances:

Beginner Sprint/Olympic Athletes - 10-20 minutes easy jogging

Half Ironman Athletes- 20-25 minute easy jogging

Ironman Athletes- 25- 35 minute easy jogging


Remember consistency is key, so run as easy and little as you want knowing that this is just day #1

What is aerobic? You should be able to hold a conversation with someone the entire run. Quick check to make sure you are running slow enough!

What is your 5k pace (minute per mile?) Add 2 minutes per mile and that is your pace for an easy aerobic run. For example, if you run 8 minute miles for a 5k hard race then you should be running easy 10 minute miles.

Sample Day 2

Core and Body Weight Exercises

This assumes everyone is healthy for activity. If you have any aches, pains, or movements you cannot perform let me know.

This is also a reminder for everyone to reach out to me to meet face to face to get things rolling for you on TrainingPeaks for January. I would love to meet with everyone to get things dialed in before January 15th!

CORE (before or after run)

Front Planks: 30 sec
Side Planks: 15 sec both sides
Push Ups: 5-15 TBD on ability level
Body Weight Squats: 8-12 reps
Crunches: 20

If this is two easy then add extra sets. I like to do the aforementioned in a continuous circuit. Feel free to do 4-5 rounds if you need!

Sample Day 3

aerobic swim

Aerobic Swims: These will mostly be time based swims rather than distance starting out. I highly recommend joining a masters program or scheduling some one on one coaching/lessons with me if these is your weakness! Technique trumps swimming more.

Beginner Sprint/Olympic Athletes: 1-2 rounds of 3-4 minutes easy swimming with 1 minute rest

Half Ironman Athletes: 2-3 rounds of 6 minute easy swimming with 1 minute rest

Ironman Athletes- 2-3 rounds of 8 minutes easy with 1 minute rest

Sample Day 4

Aerobic Bike Ride

Aerobic Ride Overview:

Beginner Sprint/Olympic Athletes - 20 minutes easy spinning

Half Ironman Athletes- 25-40 minute easy spinning

Ironman Athletes- 35-50 minute easy spinning

Q: What is aerobic for a ride?
A: 50-65% of your max effort. Again, think about spinning your legs quickly, smoothly, but gently on the pedals. Do not smash the pedals in a big gear, it would be more advantageous to pedal in an easier gear right now at a slightly faster pace. Think about riding at 4-5 out of 10 effort on these rides.

Sample Day 4

Core and Body Weight Exercises

CORE (before or after ride)

Front Planks: 30 sec
Side Planks: 15 sec both sides
Push Ups: 5-15 TBD on ability level
Body Weight Squats: 8-12 reps
Crunches: 20

If this is two easy then add extra sets. I like to do the aforementioned in a continuous circuit. Feel free to do 4-5 rounds if you need!

Beginner Triathlon Winter Training Program

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