What Does A Triathlete’s Training Week Look Like?

Something I’m asked all the time is what does my training look like? Well, I thought I’d share with you a typical training week for myself. This week of training was from March 6-12 and just under 3 months out from my first triathlon of the year. I do have running races sprinkled in leading up to my first tri, but I am only using these running races as hard training runs and won’t taper for them. Also, you’ll notice a big emphasis on the swim and bike. I am really trying to consume the bulk of my training this year with the swim and the bike to really focus on my weaknesses and try to turn them into strengths that will help me win my races and compete with the top pros this year.

I try to get my swims done first each day before I do any other sessions. It’s important for me to do the swims while I’m fresh first thing in the day. If I wait until after I do a big bike or run workout, it’s a lot harder to hold good form during the swim. Plus, on race day, you’ll never do the swim with a tired body! Workouts in BOLD are the key workouts I wanted to get done that day. I always have one key workout I try to get done everyday. If I can’t get anything else done, I always do my best to get that key workout done. I also give myself a few optional sessions during the week. These are usually really easy Zone 1 recovery type workouts. A lot of times I don’t need them and sometimes I’m so tired I skip them, and instead put my feet up and catch some Z’s on the couch, which I find to be more beneficial. When I actually do these optional workouts, they always work out great and help me recover faster. Doing a flush out run or ride the day after a HUGE training day has always made me feel like I recover much faster. Lastly, I find actually scheduling in recovery sessions makes me much more likely to do them. Even doing two 30 minute foam rolling sessions a week beats not foam rolling at all. We all know how important recovery is, so make it part of your training!

So let’s get to the workouts…

 

Monday

4 hours of training (including a 1 hr walk). Coming off a 5k road race the day before, this day was more just about getting back into the groove again.

Swim- 4.5k / 90 min. The last 30 min of this swim was doing a workout with one of the athletes I’m coaching.

Bike– 90 min with 3 x 10 min hill intervals. The first two 10 min intervals are done just below FTP and the last 10 min interval is done just over FTP. **10 min rest between these efforts. Would usually be 5 min rest, but with the 5k race the day before, I gave myself extra rest to make sure I would hit my numbers.

*Optional Run- 30 min. I skipped this run and instead did a 1 hr walk with my wife.

 

Tuesday

4:40 hours of training. Very, very hard ride day. For those of you on Zwift, check out The MEGA workout. You can find it under Hunter’s Challenge, Week 4, Day 7.

Swim- 3k / 55min

Bike- 3:15 total riding. This workout (The MEGA on Zwift) is so hard it’ll make you want to drink! So nasty, but totally worth it!

Recovery- 30 min of foam rolling.

 

I’ve been getting to the track once a week for most of 2017. It’s been a great way to keep building my run with limited volume.

Wednesday

2:25 hours of training. Today’s focus was all about mile repeats at the track.

Swim- 3.2k / 60 min. I did 10 x 200m leaving on 3:15, coming in between 2:40-2:45. I did this workout in my Xterra Lava Pants to save my legs for the hard track session later in the day.

Run- 13k / 55 min. This track session was 5 x 1 mile at the track alternating tempo/easy for each mile. 1 min. rest between interval. **Tip- the track doesn’t always mean your workout needs to leave you feeling like you’re going to puke up a lung. I wasn’t setting any speed records during this run and could have easily done it on the road, but the track provides both a soft surface to run on (faster recovery) and accurate distance.

Recovery- 15 min foam rolling / 15 min light stretching.

 

Thursday

3.5 hours of training. A big swim set for me today and a nice break for the legs. No hard efforts on the legs today won’t have me fully recovered before Friday, but it will help a lot!

Swim- 3.5k / 60 min. Main set of 24 x 100m looked like this: 8 x 100 free leaving on 1:35 / 8 x 100 pull buoy leaving on 1:30 / 8 x 100 pull buoy and paddles leaving on 1:25. I LOVE this swim set and this was the easiest this session has ever felt. The next time I do it, I will probably go down to 21 x 100 but leave 2 seconds earlier for each interval. Feel free to steal this swim set!

Ride- 90 min easy. Zone 2 type effort.

*Optional Run- I skipped this run. My legs were heavy today and I didn’t feel any sort of running over rest would help me recover today.

 

Friday

3:15 hours of training. A big bike/run day. I went over to one of my athlete’s pain cave for most of the afternoon so we could crush some brick workouts together. I did 2 shorter brick sessions today and my athlete did 1 longer brick session. Since we were sharing a treadmill, I had to be creative in coming up with workouts that didn’t overlap each other’s treadmill time.

Swim- 1.5k / 30 min. Very easy swim with some drills and band swimming. For me, swim frequency is much more important than doing just a few big epic swim sets in a week. Swimming is a very technical sport and I did not grow up as a swimmer, so the more times I can get in the water during the week, the better. This provides much greater results than swimming the same distance, but in 3 less (but longer) swims a week.

Brick #1– 1:28 hours total. Ride- 70 min of alternating 5 min @ 300 watts / 5 min @ whatever I needed to recover. Run- 2 miles (I wanted to negative split this brick run, but the treadmill maxed out at 10mph) at 6 min/mile.

Brick #2 1:05 hours total.  Ride- 45 min with efforts of 20 min @ 270 watts followed by 5 x 30 seconds holding over 400 watts. Run- 3 miles total with 2.5 miles at 6 min/mile pace.

Ride- 30 min. I rode a little over 30 minutes very easy (zone 1) while my athlete finished her brick run.

 

The trainer (and Zwift) have helped me make big gains on the bike this year.

 

Saturday

1 hour of training. Easy day. Much needed after the last few days, especially with a 10k race the next day.

Swim- 2k / 45 min.

Recovery- 15 min foam rolling

*Optional Pre-Race day  Run- I opted to not do this, as it was absolutely down pouring with rain and I was quite tired. For races that I taper for, I will never skip this workout. If it’s a running race I’m tapering for, I will run up to 12 km and do a few km worth of race day type efforts. If it’s a triathlon I’m tapering for, the day before the race will always be short swim, bike and run workouts doing a few very short but harder efforts.

 

Sunday

1:55 hours of training. This was supposed to be a 10k race, but when waking up I decided sleep was much more important. I turned off my alarm and went back to sleep to let my body get as much rest as it needed. With a half marathon coming up next Sunday, I decided I would see how I felt later in the day and get a long run in if I felt rested. I haven’t done too many long runs this year (because of the swim/bike focus) and thought it would be a good idea to get at least one long run in before next weekend’s half marathon.

Run- 1:25 / 22 km over a hilly route to simulate next weekend. Happy with how this long run went. I did 5 km warm up, 10 km tempo (36:30) and cool down until the finish.

Recovery- 30 min foam rolling

 

Weekly Totals

  • Total training time: 20:45 hours
  • Swim Time/Distance: 5:45 hours and 17.7 km
  • Bike Time: 9:15 hours
  • Run Time/Distance: 4 hours (including 1 hr walk) and 48 km
  • Recovery: 1:45 worth of foam rolling, light stretching, etc. 

So that’s a pretty typical training week for me. Usually at least half of my training is on the bike, followed by swimming and then running. I try to be very consistent day in and day out. I always start out planning my key sessions and then fill out the schedule from there. My training blocks over the past few months are in 13 day blocks and look like this: 5 hard training days, 1 day easy, 5 hard training days, 1 day easy, 1 day off. So far, this has been working well for me and I’ll continue following this schedule until I feel like I need to change. Of course, I wouldn’t be able to train like this without fueling properly. Lots and lots of recovery smoothies go into this much training every week as well as lots of Hammer Recoverite. If you have any questions about the workouts I did or want help with your schedule, fill out the form below and I’ll get back to you! Happy training.

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