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Elite Amateur Base - 15 Weeks (~15 hrs per wk)


Gordo Byrn

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15 Weeks

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Plan Description

This plan has been created for the serious triathlete looking to build their foundation prior to starting their Specific Preparation Block.

The plan consists of 12 weeks of general preparation then a three week Peak Period that includes a C-Priority Olympic Distance Race (Week 13) and a B-Priority Half Distance Race (Week 15). You can substitute race sim workouts, or other events, for these scheduled races.

The plan is appropriate for athletes racing all distances with weekly volume ranging from 13 to 18 hours per week.

To get this most out of this program, you should be comfortable with the following key workout distances:

Swim - up to 4,400 yards / 4,000 meters

Bike - up to 60 miles / 100 kilometers

Run - up to 13 miles / 21 kilometers

I hope you enjoy,



Average Weekly Breakdown

Workouts Weekly Average Longest Workout
3:35 hrs 1:45 hrs
5:44 hrs 4:00 hrs
3:30 hrs 1:45 hrs
1:45 hrs 1:00 hrs
0:12 hrs 1:00 hrs
Workouts Per Week Weekly Average Longest Workout
3:35 hrs 1:45 hrs
5:44 hrs 4:00 hrs
3:30 hrs 1:45 hrs
1:45 hrs 1:00 hrs
0:12 hrs 1:00 hrs

Training Load By Week

Sample Day 1

1K Continuous

An easy swim - where you can lift effort towards the end if you feel like it.
Start with 400 continuous where every 4th length is non-free, generally, I use backstroke but any stroke is OK.
Then 4x100 where the odds alternate Bk/Br by length and the evens are free.
Then 4x50 where the first 25 is non-free and the second 25 is free. Lift effort for the first 25 and swim the second relaxed.
All of the above are done on 15s rest.
200 Easy
1,000 Continuous
Look to Build the swim very gradually.
Overall goal is the distance, not the pace.
This workout is about training your mind as much as your body.
This swim can be extended by adding a set of Easy or Steady 200s before cooling down
Cool Down

Sample Day 1

Aerobic Run, Steady Endurance

A Steady paced run that ends with 6x75 meter Strides on 30s walking recovery.

What counts is getting about 20-40 minutes worth of training around the bottom of your Steady Zone. You might be tempted to push the pace, not today! Stay in the bottom of your Steady zone and accept the pace that results. When I do this workout, I tend warm-up very easy for ten minutes then build into my Steady Zone for 40 minutes. I then have the option to keep it rolling or back it off and cool down with easy running.

Sample Day 1

Strength Training, Base

Please refer to Strength Training for Triathlon in the Strength section of the Endurance Corner Libarary ( and periodize your season according to the guidelines. If you are new to strength training then progress slowly.

Sample Day 2

Easy Spin

This is an easy ride to promote blood flow and recovery. Keep your heart rate below your Steady zone.

Sample Day 2

Poker Pacing Run

Based on duration, split the run into thirds:
***Easy effort for first third
***Steady effort second third
***Hold your Steady pace in final third, effort may increase a bit
Always start at an effort that leaves you room to finish strong.
This is an endurance session, keep the effort comfortably aerobic at all times.
Practicing Run:Walk Technique is highly recommended.
Early season, and if you find that you have to raise HR by more than 5% to hold Steady pace, it is best to dial down the middle pace so you don't have to "race" at the end of the workout. In ALL cases never enter your Threshold zone.
Most runners are tempted to crank the speed up at the back end. FAR more effective is to lift your pace earlier in the workout and test your ability to hold Steady pace without material decoupling. Learn to control yourself emotionally as it will serve you well on race day.

Sample Day 3

Pyramid Swim

The basic pattern is:100 / 200 / 300 / 400 / 500 / 400 / 300 / 200 / 100
100s and 300s you just swim relaxed, focus on pushing straight through with forearm pointing down
200s and 400s are Steady, if you use paddles then use them here
The 500 you alternate by 100 between Mod-hard and Easy
Faster, or highly motivated, swimmers can extend the workout by changing the pyramid to 200 / 400 / 600 / 800 / 800 / 600 / 400 / 200

Sample Day 4

Aerobic Threshold (AeT) Benchmarking

One of the most important data points to know is your pace/power at the bottom of your Steady zone (HR/Power/Pace). Whether you choose the benchmark HR, or Power, the goal of this workout is to do the majority of the ride sitting at the bottom of your Steady zone.

If you have a powermeter then I recommend that you choose a flat ride and average the bottom of your Steady power zone. Watch your heart rate, review in 20 minute intervals. What you want to see is how stable your HR is over time. This is a good benchmark of the depth of your fitness.

In my own training, I will build this workout up to four hours total duration. However, the four hour main set is a bit of a special occasion! More typical is 40-120 minutes of benchmarking.

As you gain fitness you can make this main set progressive, moving through the bottom/middle/top of your Steady zone to see how you tolerate increases in training load.

If you don't have access to power then you will need to focus primarily on the breath markers discussed in our training zone summary.

All athletes, if you make a mistake then start too easy!

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