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The No Fluff Plan - Intermediate - 12 Weeks Training Plan

Plan description Plan workouts calendar volume graph
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author : mikericci
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This program can be used to spice up your training at any point in the season; winter, spring, summer or fall.

The basic premise of this program is to help you improve your VO2 max and threshold. If you are using this plan during the winter, you can start your specific training in the spring with a nice improvement in your speed.

This program should be used for ONLY the following athletes:
An Athlete who has:

  1. Three solid years of training – with at least 400 hours per season.

  2. NO injuries over the last training season.

  3. Come off a season where you have already raced an Olympic Distance triathlon and are looking to give your training a boost.

  4. Consistently run 20 miles or more per week, for at least 3 seasons.

This plan should NOT be used for the following athletes:

An athlete who has:

  1. Less than 400 hours of training per annum.

  2. Has NOT completed at least an Olympic Distance event.

  3. Has been injured during the last training season.

  4. Has NOT done high intensity training before.

Swim: You should be able to swim at least 3 times per week for at least 1500 yards or more.
Bike: You should be able to bike at least 1 hour, 3 times per week.
Run: You should be able to handle 20 miles a week of running, without injuries.


Theory behind the plan

This plan is based on a non-traditional training routine – doing the power and threshold workouts first while you can still carry the fitness forward from the season before. In my training philosophy for experienced athletes, we do speed training 45 weeks (or more) a year. You don’t want to lose speed to any extent, and doing VO2 work early in the training cycle will increase your anaerobic capacity. It takes many weeks of speed work to see improvement, usually 12 weeks or more. Speed work must be done early in the annual cycle and before you add any other volume or longer-intensity workouts. The basic principle is that we are trying to get as fast as possible before we increase the volume.


As an athlete gets close to a longer race (HIM or IM) intensity is reduced and volume increased. If the athletes don’t increase their speed to a very high level, they won’t get faster because they’ll lose some speed during the high volume phase. The common question is ‘what about the endurance, if you focus on speed early in the preparation cycle, will endurance suffer?’ For an experienced athlete the answer is that you don’t need more than 6 weeks to get your endurance back to a higher level.


If I had my choice of coaching an athlete who has power and strength vs. an athlete who is ‘in-shape’ with a big aerobic base, I would rather coach the athlete with power and strength. Here is my reasoning: It is significantly easier to get a powerful athlete 'in shape', than it is to make an 'in shape' athlete explosive. The first will take weeks the second may take years.


How many times per year to use this program?
Twice a year with 12 weeks in between.

This plan has 3 workouts per week, per sport and 2 weight training sessions. The weekly hours are from 8-10.5 hours. This program can be used leading into any of the other D3 programs such as the 12 Week Olympic Distance, Half or Full Iron Distance races.


Heart-rate training and testing
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.

There is no testing in this program, just make sure you start it with your training zones up to date.  If you plan on using a HRM then use the calculator on BT to calculate your current Heart Rate Zones for your run and bike and for your swim paces.


Other important items
The unwritten part of this plan is recovery, nutrition and mental status. Each one of these elements is a key to your success. Adequate sleep and proper nutrition will increase your ability to recover on a daily basis. Recovery between tough sessions is critical to making each session count. This will help you stay motivated and mentally focused as the training gets tougher. Having a positive attitude when getting ready for a tough session will increase their productivity.

Weight Training and Core Strength
This program does not have a specific weight training or core strength program included.  IT IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED to use one to improve joint strength for injury prevention. 


The best days to include weight training for this specific program are Wednesdays and Fridays where there is only one workout - the swim.  Please see this article on a weight training program to use.  You will be using the Anatomical Adaptation/AA Strength phase in the link.

See 'Related Articles' below on more plan details and links to terms, heart-rate testing protocol, core strength and weight training.