More than any other endurance sport, training for a triathlon is tough. Sure, it’s demanding on the body, but more than that, it’s complex, requires research and a heavy-duty strategy if you want your time in the pool, on the bike and on the pavement to be well spent.


Finding a solid triathlon training plan can be tricky. In one Google search you’ll discover loads of options — most of which aren’t vetted or simply scratch the surface on what you really need to know to train for your tri event. While it can be tempting to choose just any ole’ plan — starting training is most important after all — committing to a less-than-great triathlon training plan has some major downfalls. At best, that random plan you found online can be a time waster. At worst, it can be a season crusher. We set out to design our new triathlon training plans to be different.

The Mission Behind Our New Triathlon Training Plans

From the very start, part of our mission at TR has been to educate — not just condition. With the release of our new triathlon training plans, which include detailed swim, bike and run instructions, we feel we’ve made one big leap forward in the right direction. Each new Base, Build and Speciality triathlon training plan for Sprint-, Olympic-, Half- and Full-Distances come complete with plan descriptions, weekly breakdowns and tips, and helpful coaching insights scattered throughout from Coach Chad himself.

A Look at Our New Triathlon Plans

One of our top priorities was to design plans that work for everyone, but are flexible and customizable enough to suit each person’s fitness level. For that reason, every one of our new triathlon training plans has a Low-, Medium- and High-Volume plan option (see below). These plans are comprised of structured bike workouts that are scaled to your fitness when used with the TrainerRoad app. They also include properly periodized swim and run instructions that are based on pace, distance and duration.

Here’s a look at the type of instructions you can expect to see when you follow one our new triathlon training plans:

Training Plan Preview

The point is: These training plans are not what most would consider “canned” — our athletes already recognize this difference. A message we got from an athlete earlier this week puts it best:

“I used a ‘free’ plan I found online last year for my first 70.3. While I finished it, I wasn’t really properly trained and didn’t enjoy it as much as I should have. It wasn’t a very specific plan. I tried to match what this plan told me to do with something on TrainerRoad last year, but mostly it was “ride for 3 hours” or “run for 50 minutes and that was it. Then, you came out with your new plans this year. They are freaking awesome. Just the right amount of hurt and they are very specific for all three sports.”

Why Comprehensive Triathlon Training Plans Make the Difference

The first set of triathlon training plans we released focused exclusively on the part of the training equation we knew best: cycling. The more feedback we got from the triathletes who use TrainerRoad, the more we knew we had to take the next step and create fully comprehensive plans.

The trouble with cherry picking training plans from three different sources is that you risk over, or even under doing your training when you combine them. The secret to a truly effective triathlon training plan is marrying the three disciplines into one plan, seeing to it that your stress ramps up at the same tolerable rates across all your training.

Making all three disciplines of training work together, such that an athlete isn’t tired from doing the wrong thing on the wrong day is difficult — it’s also what Coach Chad does best. After the decision to scrap our old triathlon plans altogether and start from scratch — this is because our original plans were designed for athletes coming off of Traditional Base or Sweet Spot Base and Sustained Power Build — Coach Chad started his research.

Seven months later, the following plans listed below are the product of Coach Chad’s efforts and the feedback he periodically gathered from the triathletes we have on staff. As you skim through the plans, you’ll notice that each plan varies in volume and intensity. As the events get longer, it’s evident there’s a shift in balance towards more training volume and a little less training intensity.

Sprint Triathlon Plans

Sprint Base

Low Volume

  • 4 weeks
  • Swim: 34-40 Min/Wk
  • Bike: 89-127 TSS/Wk
  • Run: 50-60 Min/Wk

Mid Volume

  • 4 weeks
  • Swim: 91-109 Min/Wk
  • Bike: 170-230 TSS/Wk
  • Run: 105-130 Min/Wk

High Volume

  • 4 weeks
  • Swim: 130-210 Min/Wk
  • Bike: 219-332 TSS/Wk
  • Run: 177-200 Min/Wk

Sprint Build

Low Volume

  • 4 weeks
  • Swim: 51-60 Min/Wk
  • Bike: 116-150 TSS/Wk
  • Run: 60-80 Min/Wk

Mid Volume

  • 4 weeks
  • Swim: 99-116 Min/Wk
  • Bike: 179-280 TSS/Wk
  • Run: 130-150 Min/Wk

High Volume

  • 4 weeks
  • Swim: 136-210 Min/Wk
  • Bike: 250-337 TSS/Wk
  • Run: 170-230 Min/Wk

Sprint Specialty

Low Volume

  • 8 weeks
  • Swim: 53-63 Min/Wk
  • Bike: 104-179 TSS/Wk
  • Run: 75-105 Min/Wk

Mid Volume

  • 8 weeks
  • Swim: 73-130 Min/Wk
  • Bike: 193-304 TSS/Wk
  • Run: 95-185 Min/Wk

High Volume

  • 8 weeks
  • Swim: 131-232 Min/Wk
  • Bike: 207-374 TSS/Wk
  • Run: 130-246 Min/Wk

Olympic Triathlon Plans

Olympic Base

Low Volume

  • 6 weeks
  • Swim: 46-61 Min/Wk
  • Bike: 126-152 TSS/Wk
  • Run: 70-105 Min/Wk

Mid Volume

  • 6 weeks
  • Swim: 92-116 Min/Wk
  • Bike: 154-208 TSS/Wk
  • Run: 125-175 Min/Wk

High Volume

  • 6 weeks
  • Swim: 161-191 Min/Wk
  • Bike: 231-359 TSS/Wk
  • Run: 155-195 Min/Wk

Olympic Build

Low Volume

  • 6 weeks
  • Swim: 53-72 Min/Wk
  • Bike: 157-312 TSS/Wk
  • Run: 70-125 Min/Wk

Mid Volume

  • 6 weeks
  • Swim: 113-152 Min/Wk
  • Bike: 251-314 TSS/Wk
  • Run: 125-175 Min/Wk

High Volume

  • 6 weeks
  • Swim: 192-236 Min/Wk
  • Bike: 304-376 TSS/Wk
  • Run: 150-235 Min/Wk

Olympic Specialty

Low Volume

  • 8 weeks
  • Swim: 54-79 Min/Wk
  • Bike: 80-202 TSS/Wk
  • Run: 55-140 Min/Wk

Mid Volume

  • 8 weeks
  • Swim: 66-164 Min/Wk
  • Bike: 134-334 TSS/Wk
  • Run: 85-200 Min/Wk

High Volume

  • 8 weeks
  • Swim: 125-256 Min/Wk
  • Bike: 194-431 TSS/Wk
  • Run: 116-260 Min/Wk

Half-Distance Triathlon Plans

Half-Distance Base

Low Volume

  • 8 weeks
  • Swim: 84-123 Min/Wk
  • Bike: 186-298 TSS/Wk
  • Run: 85-160 Min/Wk

Mid Volume

  • 8 weeks
  • Swim: 99-132 Min/Wk
  • Bike: 216-394 TSS/Wk
  • Run: 135-190 Min/Wk

High Volume

  • 8 weeks
  • Swim: 146-204 Min/Wk
  • Bike: 258-442 TSS/Wk
  • Run: 160-225 Min/Wk

Half-Distance Build

Low Volume

  • 8 weeks
  • Swim: 99-150 Min/Wk
  • Bike: 255-406 TSS/Wk
  • Run: 105-205 Min/Wk

Mid Volume

  • 8 weeks
  • Swim: 120-156 Min/Wk
  • Bike: 253-401 TSS/Wk
  • Run: 160-225 Min/Wk

High Volume

  • 8 weeks
  • Swim: 177-238 Min/Wk
  • Bike: 286-415 TSS/Wk
  • Run: 180-270 Min/Wk

Half-Distance Speciality

Low Volume

  • 8 weeks
  • Swim: 53-160 Min/Wk
  • Bike: 150-279 TSS/Wk
  • Run: 55-135 Min/Wk

Mid Volume

  • 8 weeks
  • Swim: 63-171 Min/Wk
  • Bike: 171-377 TSS/Wk
  • Run: 90-280 Min/Wk

High Volume

  • 8 weeks
  • Swim: 106-250 Min/Wk
  • Bike: 187-384 TSS/Wk
  • Run: 90-350 Min/Wk

Full-Distance Triathlon Plans

Full-Distance Base

Low Volume

  • 12 weeks
  • Swim: 95-154 Min/Wk
  • Bike: 186-372 TSS/Wk
  • Run: 90-215 Min/Wk

Mid Volume

  • 12 weeks
  • Swim: 103-179 Min/Wk
  • Bike: 196-452 TSS/Wk
  • Run: 150-250 Min/Wk

High Volume

  • 12 weeks
  • Swim: 158-243 Min/Wk
  • Bike: 278-565 TSS/Wk
  • Run: 170-285 Min/Wk

Full-Distance Build

Low Volume

  • 8 weeks
  • Swim: 113-180 Min/Wk
  • Bike: 295-354 TSS/Wk
  • Run: 140-260 Min/Wk

Mid Volume

  • 8 weeks
  • Swim: 134-204 Min/Wk
  • Bike: 304-474 TSS/Wk
  • Run: 210-300 Min/Wk

High Volume

  • 8 weeks
  • Swim: 176-268 Min/Wk
  • Bike: 296-495 TSS/Wk
  • Run: 215-325 Min/Wk

Full-Distance Speciality

Low Volume

  • 8 weeks
  • Swim: 54-196 Min/Wk
  • Bike: 134-392 TSS/Wk
  • Run: 60-290 Min/Wk

Mid Volume

  • 8 weeks
  • Swim: 62-223 Min/Wk
  • Bike: 172-500 TSS/Wk
  • Run: 85-375 Min/Wk

High Volume

  • 8 weeks
  • Swim: 98-298 Min/WK
  • Bike: 252-548 TSS/WK
  • Run: 85-390 Min/Wk

How to Choose the Triathlon Training Plan That’s Right for You

If you need help deciding which plan above is best for you, there are a couple things to consider. First, what type of event are you training for? This is an easy question. Once you know that, the second question is a bit more prudent: how good do you want to be? There are the athletes who want to survive their event, there are the athletes who want to PR their event and then there are the athletes who want to win the whole dang thing. Each of those goals necessitates a different degree of commitment and sacrifice.

That said, the magnitude of your goal doesn’t assume you should commit to a high-volume plan. You still need to consider your available training time and experience — there’s no reason you should jump into a high-volume plan just because you have the time and desire. Your optimal triathlon training plan takes into account your event, schedule, goals and experience with endurance sports.


Are you ready to start training for a triathlon? With our monthly or discounted annual memberships, you can use TrainerRoad and any of our 1,000+ properly structured training plans to get ready for your next big event.



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Chelsea Hejny

Chelsea Hejny is a writer who covers cycling and training topics. When she’s not interviewing cycling experts and coaches for an upcoming article, she’s helping share TrainerRoad’s latest and greatest content, like the Train Smart, Get Fast email series. Sign up for it to learn how to become a stronger cyclist.

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