A 25 Week Sprint Distance Triathlon Training Plan for Competitive Age Groupers
Peter WilbyAll plans by this Coach
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The aim of this training plan is to facilitate performance gains at sprint triathlon. Originally for international age groupers; adapted for various ages: 20 - 65. This is a generic version made up of quality training sessions, to fit in alongside tri club or alike. To optimise your fitness and performance, I recommend also including some long steady distance sessions around HR zone 2 using Coggan zones 1-5.
The priority is VO2max. The ability to surge above threshold for prolonged, repeated periods is key for a high performance in sprint triathlon. This plan has four phases. Phase one (P1) focuses on efficiency and economy using strength and technique in sessions to develop body awareness and control. Phase two (P2) brings functional power to the plan, progressing P1 by adding speed work, short, sharp, controlled bouts, without overly taxing the aerobic system. Phase three (P3) moves on from sprints to maximum aerobic velocity, now very taxing on the VO2 system but still embracing the controlled movements worked on in P1, embedding the hard work so far. Phase four (P4) includes distance bouts, focusing on race specific distances and intensities.
This plan is designed for an athlete with some background and understanding in swim, bike, run and/or triathlon. Whilst you don't need to be an expert across three disciplines it is important to not be a complete beginner in any as this plan will seem too advanced in parts. An example of athlete this plan would suit is someone who has competed for a year or more and feels he/she would like to take their performance to the next level (try to qualify / race international / national championships, for example). A broad criteria description would be: the ability to swim 10x 100m at an even pace between 01:25 and 01:55; Confident enough to change speed and follow a session whilst cycling; experienced enough to run twice a week and ease back or increase training based on current metrics.
WHAT TO EXPECT
This plan is 25 weeks long. A typical week consists of two swims, two bikes and two runs. These six sessions in six days last between 30 minutes to 90 minutes. Strength training is incorporated into sessions but does not require weights. Each session has a specific aim and detailed prescription of drills, techniques, intensity’s and repetitions. Week on week the balance of intensity and duration gradually increases. Every forth week is easier, three sessions.
BEFORE YOU START
Whilst this plan consists of enough training, it is recommended to also do some easy sessions. As an athlete with experience it is likely you already have weekly group sessions you don’t want to replace. A third session in each discipline would be optimal. Frequently checking the training peaks dashboards charts: 1) metrics chart and 2) performance management chart (PMC). Adjusting your plan with less or more sessions based on fatigue and performance will help make the best gains. A key point to bare in mind is that training takes effect during rest. Prolonged fatigue will lower performance and could lead to injury whilst feeling fresh and motivated will promote improvements.
WHAT YOU NEED
To monitor your training and keep syncing with training peaks, a triathlon watch is an asset. Swim intensity is set by + or – critical swim speed (CSS) and the drills prescribed require fins, a pull buoy, a kick board and paddles. The bike sessions have two modes of monitoring which are used to best suit the session set; these are: rate of perceived exertion (RPE (a scale of 1-10 to describe intensity)) and heart rate (HR (set as zones 1 -5 ). For this plan you will require an indoor trainer sometimes. The run sessions are described by pace zones and heart rate zones 1-5 . For this plan you should monitor: 1) your HR, 2) speed/pace and 3) RPE in every session. The HR/pace and RPE feedback, alongside the PMC will help you make adaptions if required.
Training Plan Sample Week
Average Weekly Breakdown
|Workouts||Weekly Average||Longest Workout|
|1:51 hrs||1:30 hrs|
|1:28 hrs||1:15 hrs|
|1:17 hrs||1:05 hrs|
|Workouts Per Week||Weekly Average||Longest Workout|
||1:51 hrs||1:30 hrs|
||1:28 hrs||1:15 hrs|
||1:17 hrs||1:05 hrs|