Who is the plan for?
This program should be used for an athlete who is coming off a season where they have already raced an Olympic Distance triathlon and they are looking to maintain fitness over the course of the winter months. This is a great prep program leading into any of the other D3 programs such as the 12 Olympic Distance, the Bridge from Olympic Distance to Half-Ironman, and even the Bridge from Half Ironman to Ironman (if the athlete has a strong background in one of the three disciplines).
The schedule consists of 3 workouts per week in each sport, 2 days of strength training and core work too. The maximum volume is around 10.5 hours toward the end of the 20 weeks and most of the weeks are around 8-10 hours with some lower volumes thrown in there in the beginning.
There is testing every few weeks throughout the program to test your fitness level so you can re-adjust your HR Zones if you train with a HRM. If you don’t train with a HRM, that’s fine as the tests are still good training and you can measure improvement based on time.
You should be able to swim at least 1,000 to 1, 600 yards in a workout. You should be able to bike at least one hour, and run at least 45 minutes. Its ok if you have to use the run/walk method for the running (more on that below). If you are a weak swimmer or runner, you can certainly do the best you can on your weaker events but its best if you are already up to the base fitness levels suggested.
For the first 2 weeks of the program you will be training based on feel and the first testing period will not be until week 3. Once you have tested for your HR you can plug in your test results into the attached Excel spreadsheet and your training zones will be calculated.
Training HR Zones and Swim Pace Zones
This plan uses heart-rate training zones for intensity specific training. See 'Related Links' at bottom for testing protocol and how to determine and setup your heart-rate zones.
The basic premise of this program is to help you maintain your winter fitness so you can start your specific training in the spring without feeling that you are behind. Some people will actually improve their fitness with this program although it is really geared toward maintaining fitness.
If you already excel in one of the sports
If you have a swimming background and you want to add distance or repetitions to the workouts, you are more than welcome to do that.
If you have a cycling or running background and feel the need to add volume to the program, you are welcome to do that as well.
If you are deficient in the sports
On the opposite extreme if you feel as though you need help in one area or the other, you may want to drop a workout that you are strong in, and add an extra where you are weaker. If you feel the need to add a swim lesson in place of a swim workout on the schedule, by all means take the swim lesson and don’t feel the need to make up the missed swim workout.
If you can complete both the swim and bike workouts, but you are a weak runner and you need to use a walk/run plan that is perfectly ok. I have many runners who use an 8/2 method. This is where the athlete runs for 8 minutes and walks for 2, getting their HR back down. I have had marathoners use this method that run in the 3:00 range for 26.2 miles, so don’t feel like you are less of a runner if you use this method.
Weight Training and Core Strength
The program that I am using this time around is adapted from The Training Bible and has been tweaked to include some exercises that I think are important. The program should be fairly balanced between core and strength training. You will be using AA1 to AA4 for this program.
USAT Level II Coach
USAC Expert Coach