A 25 Week Sprint Distance Triathlon Training Plan for Competitive Age Groupers

Average Weekly Breakdown
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Breakdown
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours: 04:39

Introduction

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 for everyone to fit in alongside tri club or alike.

Priorities of this Plan

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 alongside a continual VO2max cycle. 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 more than anything else.

Who is this plan for

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 and consists of just three sessions.

Before you start

Whilst this plan consists of enough training, it is realistic to do other sessions on top of the training set in this plan. 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: EMTIR and also set as 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 judge your metrics and make adaptions if required.

Sample Day 1
0:45:00
Swim CSS test and zones setting for Training Peaks

Aim: go FAP on the 200m and 400m tt
WU: 200m easy,

Build: 4x 100m with 30s rests (at race pace checking your times are maintained).

TT1: 200m FAP

Then: 4x 50m really easy with 30s rests.

TT2: 400m FAP.

CD: 5 minutes easy swimming.

Sample Day 2
0:45:00
44.2TSS
Bike Max 1.1 (first focused ride)

Aim: relax on the bike and begin training

WU: 10 minutes (raise cadence to 80-100rpm for 3 minutes then hold cadence and increase gears to a focused resistance).

Main: Stay focused, on the drop bars, steady pace. RPE5 / HR zone3. Ride for 30 minutes

CD: Spend 5 minutes slowing the legs down and follow up with a stretch.

Sample Day 3
0:20:00
20TSS
P1.1 Easy (simple easy run)

WU: 1 mile or 10 minutes really easy jog then, 5x (inch worms, inch worms with cobra and downward dog, frog walks, frog walks with twists, back lunge and twists, two step lunge).

Main 5 minutes: simple EASY run (HR Z1)

CD: 5 minutes on foam roller

Sample Day 5
1500m
Swim MAX 1.1

Aim: watch your times improve

WU: 200m very easy FC, 100m BC, 200m strong FC - with 20s rests

Main: Go fast on every rep. Take around 30s rest between each. Check your time and work out how fast you need to swim to beat your last swim pace (example: 200m in 04:00 so aiming to beat 03:30 on the 175m)

200m
175m
150m
125m
100m
75m
50m
25m

CD: 100m really stretched out and relaxed

Sample Day 6
0:45:00
63.2TSS
Indoor Trainer - Bike threshold test

Aim: go FAP for 20 minutes

Warm Up (WU) 20 minutes:

5 minutes increasing the gears until at a steady intensity (Z2)

5 minutes more holding the same gear at 90 rpm with last 10s of each minute fast

down 2 gears, do 90s at 90rpm then 30s right leg only, 90s at 90rpm then 30s left leg only, 1 minute easy.

Lastly: 5 minutes gradually building intensity to that you are aiming to hold for he 20 minutes

Main 20 minutes:

Go all out for 20 minutes.

Lap your watch at start and end to record HR, speed and virtual power for 20 minutes (and make a note in your daily metrics of how hard it felt on a sale of 1-10).

You will have to of recorded HR and pace for this plan to work

-average HR = threshold HR for cycling
-average power = 1.05 of threshold power for indoor training
-average speed = 1.05 of threshold speed for indoor training

During this test try to keep the cadence around 90rpm.

Lap the watch at exactly 20 minutes and slow the legs down after this

Cool Down (CD): 10 minutes decreasing the gears and cadence.

Sample Day 7
0:45:00
84.2TSS
Run Test - LTHR

Aim: define training zones with LTHR

WU: 1 mile or 10 minutes really easy jog then, 5x (inch worms, inch worms with cobra and downward dog, frog walks, frog walks with twists, back lunge and twists, two step lunge).

Main: run FAP for 30 minutes

Do this session on your own. Treadmill or outside is optional. Go as fast as possible (FAP) for the entire run, pacing it to hold it steady. Lap your watch at 10 minutes.

The average HR from last 20 minutes is your LTHR.

Your average SPEED / PACE is 1.05 of your threshold SPEED / PACE.

CD: 10 minutes stretching and foam roller

Sample Day 8
1500m
Swim MAX 1.2

Aim: try to hold the pace

WU: 200m very easy FC, 100m BC, 200m strong FC - with 20s rests

Main: do this set twice with 30s rests after each rep. don't hold back on the max efforts. Use the steady swims to focus on an efficient technique

25m max effort
100m steady
50m max effort
100m steady
75m max effort
100m steady

CD: 100m really stretched out and relaxed

Pete Wilby
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PeteWilbyTriathlOn

I am a triathlon and open water swimming coach based by the sea in Teignmouth, Devon. I provide a coaching service for triathletes and open water swimmers of all abilities. I aim to provide a service for everyone.

When I train triathletes I use critical swim speed (CSS) for swimming, which requires a pace clock or watch. I use power, heart rate, and feel (RPE) for cycling. And I use pace, time and distance as well as RPE for running.