Advanced 20-Wk Sprint Triathlon Training Plan

Average Weekly Training Hours 06:46
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours 06:46
Training Load By Week

This is an advanced training plan for an athlete interested in competing in a non-drafting sprint-distance triathlon (750m swim, 20k bike, 5k run) or a similar distance (super sprint triathlon). This training plan is geared towards the individual that has completed many sprint-distance triathlons and is interested in being very competitive within their age group or overall rankings at a non draft-legal race with a large, competitive field. This training plan is prescribed and individualized based on power, pace, heart rate, and Rating of Perceived Exertion (1-10 scale) and assumes that an athlete has the equipment necessary to swim, bike, and run with these metrics. This training plan includes a mixture of pool swimming and open water swimming, as well as road running and road cycling, and resistance training performed in a gym. An athlete should have a high level of base fitness and at least 2 years of triathlon experience in which they trained specifically for triathlon. If the athlete is looking to improve their specific swim mechanics or their specific cycling and/or run skills, it is recommended that they also seek out personal and individual coaching from a sport-specific coach.

Note: When viewing the average weekly hours within the Training Plan Preview, total swim hours are not counted in this total as swim sessions are prescribed in terms of yards and do not have a time associated with them.

This training plan comes with a few documents/resources that will prove useful to athletes while following. along to the prescribed plan:
1. Instructional Booklet - Contains basic educational and background material that will help the athlete successfully complete the training plan and learn about the training process
2. Exercise Technique Guidebook - Contains pictures and descriptions of over 80 exercises that will help the athlete successfully complete training sessions prescribed within the plan
3. Training & Racing Zones Chart - This will be useful in documenting your swim, bike, and run pace/power/heart rate zones to be used during training and racing; these zones will bet set by performing tests regularly throughout the training plan

Basic equipment needed to successfully complete the swim sessions within this training plan include:
-swimsuit
-goggles
-wetsuit (if swimming in colder open water venues during training or racing)
-kickboard
-fins
-snorkel

Basic equipment needed to successfully complete the bike sessions within this training plan include:
-bike with a power meter (triathlon-specific bike is ideal for non-drafting race)
-bike helmet
-tire pump
-proper cycling clothes and attire (cycling shoes if desired and cycling shorts and jerseys)
-flat kit (can be kept in saddle bag or in jersey pockets while riding)
-heart rate monitor

Basic equipment needed to successfully complete the run sessions within this training plan include:
-running shoes
-proper run clothing and attire
-heart rate monitor

Sample Day -4
0:30:00
Bike-Specific Functional Threshold Power (FTP) Test

Functional threshold power (FTP) is typically defined as the maximal power that can be maintained for ~60 min, and it is closely related to your lactate threshold.

Lactate is a by-product of anaerobic energy metabolism during exercise, and lactate threshold is the point at which lactate accumulates in the blood at an exponential rate during exercise, leading to fatigue if that effort is sustained much longer. The following video describes lactate threshold, as well as VO2 max, in a little more detail:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O__oZjw8Ljc

Determining FTP is important for a) setting power training zones and b) tracking progress over time by repeating this test. In order to determine FTP, perform the following:

1. Warm-up for 5-10 min, building speed slowly until you get close to your estimated threshold power.

2. Perform a 20-minute time trial in which you aim to achieve the fastest speed/highest power possible over those 20 minutes
*Your average power for the 20-minute time trial multiplied by 0.95 is your bike-specific FTP

3. Perform a 5-10 min easy cool-down, spinning at a very easy pace

After performing this test, please review the document entitled "Training & Racing Zones_Blank" to set your zones based on your test results. Save this document when you are done to your computer as you will need to use this document again for other tests and in the future as you update these numbers.

Finally, you will need to go into your profile setting on Training Peaks and enter in your training zones manually based on the zones you just calculated. If you are not sure how to do this, click on the following link to learn how: https://help.trainingpeaks.com/hc/en-us/articles/204073584-How-to-Set-your-Thresholds-and-Calculate-your-Zones

Sample Day -4
0:20:00
Critical Swim Speed (CSS) Test

Critical Swim Speed (CSS) is used as a proxy for your threshold swim pace. To learn more about CSS so that you understand the purpose of this test, please review the following video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wooLaOhLg6U

CSS is approximately the fastest pace that you can hold for 60 minutes. Determining CSS is important for a) setting training zones and b) tracking progress over time by repeating this test. In order to determine CSS, perform the following

1. Warm-up for 5-10 min, building speed slowly until you get close to your estimated CSS swim pace

2. Perform a 400 meter/400 yard time-trial as fast as you can. Record your time.

3. Rest for 5-10 min and perform some light swimming to help recover.

4. Perform a 200 meter/200 yard time-trial as fast as you can. Record your time.

5. Perform a 5-10 min cool-down, swimming or kicking at a very easy pace

6. Plug your times into the calculator at the following website:
http://www.swimsmooth.com/improve/intermediate/swim-smooth-css-calculator

After performing this test, open up the "Training & Racing Zones" spreadsheet you saved after performing the Bike-Specific Threshold Heart Rate Test. Calculate your swim zones based on the CSS that you calculated from this test.

Finally, update your training zones in Training Peaks by going to your profile settings. If you are not sure how to do this, click on the following link to learn how: https://help.trainingpeaks.com/hc/en-us/articles/204073584-How-to-Set-your-Thresholds-and-Calculate-your-Zones

Sample Day 0
0:45:00
24.9TSS
LSD Bike

Keep this bike steady and conversational at an LSD pace.

Sample Day 1
0:30:00
35.1TSS
LSD Run

Warm-up
-perform lower body dynamic stretching exercises of your choice (see Exercise Technique Guidebook)

Main Workout:
-steady run at conversational, LSD pace; include hills in this session to build strength

Cool-Down
-static stretching exercises of your choice (see Exercise Technique Guidebook)

Sample Day 1
1372m
LSD Swim

This swim session consists of a mix of kicking and longer endurance-building swim sets. 

For all swim sessions, you will notice that they are prescribed based on swim pace (min/100 yds or meters) and Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE). Monitoring heart rate is not necessary for swim workouts, and it is more important to get used to monitoring intensity during a given session with RPE as this is what you will rely on entirely in a race as you do not have the ability to monitor pace while swimming in open water.

Note: When kick sets and drill sets are prescribed, the pace ranges provided are large in order to accommodate for the wider range of paces that you may be swimming at during these efforts. However, pace on kick sets and drill sets is not very important. Rather, the effort and focus on technique is most important.

This swim includes kicking with a kick board. Please review the following short video going over some of the fundamentals of kicking with a kickboard: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hyV_kyKzSzU

Sample Day 3
0:15:00
12.4TSS
Easy Recovery Run OTB

This is an easy recovery run off the bike (OTB). Keep this run easy to promote recovery. You do not need to run through a full race-day transition simulation for these brick sessions, but do try to move quickly to the run immediately after finishing the bike.

Sample Day 5
1646m
LSD Swim

This is a swim session consisting of easy freestyle swimming + kicking with a kickboard.

Please review the following short video going over some of the fundamentals of kicking with a kickboard: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hyV_kyKzSzU

Ryan Eckert, MS, CSCS
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Peak Endurance Solutions, LLC

Peak Endurance Solutions is a company dedicated to providing endurance athletes with a premier coaching service through individualized, one-on-one coaching. Peak Endurance Solutions provides personalized coaching as well as pre-set, customized training plans available for purchase.