Triathlon is already a complex sport, what with the demand for being adept at three different endurance disciplines rolled into a single-day event. But when you add the further complexity of the numerous distances around which all three disciplines revolve, well…things get really complex.

It becomes a wonder how any multisport athlete manages to focus on any other aspect of life should they choose to train consistently for events that have you in the water, on the bike & then running several times a week, every week.

So it was our goal to streamline this process as much as possible within the scope of a cycling-based software company.

We realize that a vast segment of our subscribers are triathletes and while we haven’t gone to the fullest extent by handling all of your training guidance, we’ve refined our approach and stretched our focus beyond just making you faster on the bike to also giving you some direction in terms of scheduling your run & swim workouts.

Triathlon Demands & Training

A simple demonstration of the differing demands between the numerous course distances is the disparity in the swim, bike & run challenges of a sprint triathlon versus those of a half-distance tri. During the former, you’re race is done & dusted before you’re halfway into the bike leg of the latter.

Add to this the objectives of building true fitness in 3 different endurance sports – some more technically challenging than others – but doing so in ways that task the different energy systems in slightly to noticeably different ways, inflict different strains on your bones, muscles & mind – again, even the generalities are a lot to keep up with.

So it’s plain to see that the type of conditioning necessary to excel in one distance isn’t necessarily the kind you’d need for another. And while overlaps do exist, the differences in the training and the necessary time commitments within the very same sport present an interesting challenge for athletes & coaches alike whether you’re just looking to finish or excel come event day.

Consequently, our newly developed Specialty training blocks separately address each of the 4 triathlon distances: sprint, Olympic, half-distance & full-distance.

Specialty Block Structure

We recommend that riders precede most of these blocks with a Sustained Power Build (Olympic, Half & Full Distance) but the General Build block could be an equally good fit for Sprint & Olympic-distance triathletes.

Ideally, these Build blocks would be preceded by 6-12 weeks of Traditional or Sweet Spot Base training, but this is dependent upon your planning and the amount of time available prior to your event date(s).

Following your Base/Build conditioning, the first 6 weeks of these 8-week Specialty blocks focus primarily on addressing the particular type of endurance you’ll need based on the distance in which you’ll compete.

They’re structured in the traditional 3:1 format where you build fitness for 3 weeks and then absorb that training during the fourth week. Then, you’ll start to taper your training during the seventh week before tapering a bit further in your 8th & final week just prior to your event.

As each plan progresses toward your peak, highly event-specific brick workouts and race simulations are woven into your training, more frequently should based on the volume option you select, i.e. low, mid or high-volume.

Block Progression

Optimally, riders will reach their Triathlon specialty block with recent base & build conditioning completed. In this case, here are some likely training periodization structures:

Additional Block Progressions

As the race distances grow longer, it’s common to see triathletes target a single, A-priority event toward which they work for an entire season. But for riders with multiple peak periods, here are a couple alternate suggestions:

Whichever scheduling route you choose to take, whichever plan progression accommodates your event dates, whichever distance or event distanc-es suit your interests, our 12 new Triathlon training plans are sure to offer a proper & effective fit for your triathlon season.



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Chad Timmerman

Chad Timmerman is the Head Coach and Co-Founder of TrainerRoad — cycling’s most effective training system. He has nearly 10 years of coaching experience as a Level I USA certified Cycling and Triathlon coach. When he’s not developing structured training plans for TrainerRoad, you can catch him sharing his coaching advice on the Ask a Cycling Coach podcast. To get Chad’s best cycling knowledge delivered to your inbox, sign up for his free 6-part email course Train Smart, Get Fast.

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