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Olympic Distance Triathlon Training Program

first 4 weeks

The goal the first 4 weeks is to get used to “training.” If you are not used to having a concrete schedule to follow this will take some adjustment. Try to be active (swim, bike or run) for 20 minutes a day, 6 days each week. If you miss a workout, you don’t have to “make it up”. Feel free to move workouts around to fit your lifestyle. If you prefer to do two activities on the weekend days when you have more time, then take an extra day off in the week. The point is to get active and start getting comfortable with a consistent training program. Some feelings of stress can be normal when starting a new activity but if you are completely overwhelmed, take a step back and re-evaluate. This is supposed to be fun! If you absolutely cannot get up in the morning to workout, then plan your training for your lunch break or after work. Do what works best for your lifestyle.

Week 1 of 16

Start becoming active on a daily basis. Aim for 20 minutes a day, 6 days this week. Choose a day off that best fits your schedule. If you are used to following an exercise program and feel you could handle a little more structure, try the following:

Week 1 Workout Schedule
Week 1 Workout Schedule
Monday Swim 500 - 1000 yards: Warm up with 200 yards of freestyle. Incorporate kicking into the workout as follows:
50 kick/100 free, rest 1 minute.
50 kick/100 free, rest 1 minute.
50 kick/100 free.
50 kick/100 free.
Cool down with 200 yards - your choice of stroke.
Tuesday Bike for 20 - 30 minutes.
Wednesday Run for 20 minutes. Incorporate walk breaks when you need to.
Thursday Swim for 20 minutes - easy freestyle. Take breaks when you need to.
Friday Bike for 20 - 30 minutes.
Saturday Run for 20 minutes. Incorporate walk breaks when you need to.

Week 2 of 16

We are still focusing on consistency this week. If you missed any training sessions last week, just try again this week to hit 20 minutes daily for 6 days this week. Take a day off sometime during the week. Also, if it works better to do 2 workouts on the weekend (for example, bike and swim on Saturday) then do that, and take an extra day off somewhere else in the week.

Week 2 Workout Schedule
Week 2 Workout Schedule
Monday Swim 500 - 1000 yards:
Warm up with 200 yards of freestyle.
Swim 25 fast, then 75 easy. Rest for 1 minute.
Repeat 2 - 4 times depending on your goal yardage.
Cool down with 200 yards- your choice of stroke.
Tuesday Bike for 20 - 30 minutes.
Wednesday Run for 20 minutes. Incorporate walk breaks when you need to.
Thursday Swim for 20 minutes - easy freestyle. Take breaks when you need to.
Friday Bike for 20 minutes.
Saturday Run for 20 minutes. Incorporate walk breaks when you need to.

Week 3 of 16

By now, training should be feeling more routine and getting a little bit easier. It takes 4 weeks to create a habit, so if you’re struggling to commit, now is the time to re-focus your energy.

Week 3 Workout Schedule
Week 3 Workout Schedule
Monday Swim 500 - 1000 yards:
Warm up 200 yards freestyle.
Swim 50 yards freestyle/Kick 50 yards, rest 1 minute.
Swim 100 yards/Kick 100 yards, rest 1 minute.
Swim 150 yards/Kick 150 yards, rest 1 minute.
Cool down 200 yards - your choice.
Tuesday Bike for 30 minutes. Pick a few points on the route to increase your pace a little. Just to
get your heart rate up for a minute. Repeat this 3-4 times in the middle of your ride.
Wednesday Run for 25 minutes.
Thursday Swim for 20 minutes - easy freestyle. Take breaks when you need to.
Friday Bike for 30 minutes.
Saturday Run for 20 minutes. Incorporate walk breaks when you need to.

Week 4 of 16

This is your last week of adjustment. If you are still struggling with getting in the basic 20 minutes per day, you might reconsider a Sprint Triathlon instead. If you are feeling good and are ready to move on, enjoy your last week of base work.

Week 4 Workout Schedule
Week 4 Workout Schedule
Monday Swim 500 - 1000 yards:
Warm up 200 yards freestyle.
Swim 50 fast/50 easy, rest 1 minute.
Repeat 2 - 5 times.
Cool down with 200 yards your choice of stroke.
Tuesday Bike for 30 minutes. Consider taking a spin class at your health club as an alternative.
Wednesday Run for 20 minutes.
Thursday Swim for 20 minutes easy freestyle. Are you taking less rest than 3 weeks ago? You are making progress!
Friday Bike for 30 minutes.
Saturday Run for 30 minutes. Take walk breaks when you need to.

second 4 weeks

The goal of the second 4 weeks is to build on your base. You’ll want to think about signing up for the upcoming race so you don’t miss the opportunity. A lot of popular triathlons sell out early! Your Olympic distance race consists of a 1500 meter swim, a 24 mile bike ride, and a 6.2 mile run. If you win you might finish in about 2 hours. Most people finish between 2½ - 3½ hours, or longer! You’ll want to start increasing your fitness level so that on race day you are ready for 3 hours of exercise (and fun!).

As before, if you miss a workout, you don’t have to “make it up”. Feel free to move workouts around to fit your lifestyle. If you prefer to do two activities on the weekend days when you have more time, then take an extra day off in the week. If you absolutely cannot get up in the morning to workout, then plan your training for your lunch break or after work. Do what works best for your lifestyle.

Week 5 of 16

How long does it take you to swim 500 meters (10 laps in the pool)? You can plan on at least 3 times that long to swim 1500 meters in open water. If you wear a wetsuit during the race, you will be more buoyant and likely swim slightly faster. However, keep in mind that not all swim courses are 100% accurate, and you may be bumping into other swimmers at the start which may slow you down. Start gradually increasing your swim (and bike/run!) fitness. You will want to become comfortable swimming continuously for 30-45 minutes over the next 12 weeks.

Week 5 Workout Schedule
Week 5 Workout Schedule
Monday Swim 1000 - 1200 yards:
Warm up with 200 yards of freestyle.
Incorporate kicking into the workout as follows:
150 yards freestyle/50 yards hard kick.
150 yards freestyle/50 yards hard kick.
150 yards freestyle/50 yards hard kick.
150 yards freestyle/50 yards hard kick.
Cool down with 200 yards - your choice of stroke.
Tuesday Bike for 45 minutes. Look for hills or do a few intervals where you pick up the pace.
Wednesday Run for 30 minutes. Incorporate walk breaks when you need to.
Thursday Swim for 20 minutes - easy freestyle without stopping. Adjust your pace so you can
finish the 20 minutes comfortably, without stopping. Set the timer on your watch to beep
at you in 20 minutes or keep an eye out if there’s a clock on the wall or pool deck.
Friday Bike for 45 - 60 minutes
Saturday Run for 35 minutes. Incorporate walk breaks when you need to.

Week 6 of 16

How long will it take you to bike 24 miles? Think about lengthening your rides so you can comfortably spend 60-90 minutes in the saddle. You can purchase a really nice speedometer for $50 or less which will tell you your speed/pace/distance. It’s a nice tool to help you gauge improvements in your fitness level. Also, think about what types of fuel you might need on race day. A 3 hour race usually requires slightly more than water for optimal performance. Can you get by on just an electrolyte/carbohydrate drink such as Gatorade? Do you want something more substantial like gels or Cliff bars? Now is a good time to experiment during your workouts to find which foods sit well in your stomach.

Week 6 Workout Schedule
Week 6 Workout Schedule
Monday Swim 1200 - 1400 yards:
Warm up with 200 yards of freestyle.
Swim 25 fast, then 75 easy. Rest for 1 minute.
Repeat 3 times.
Kick 100 easy.
Swim 50 fast, then 50 easy. Rest for 1 minute.
Repeat 3 times.
Kick 100 easy.
Cool down with 200 yards - your choice of stroke.
Tuesday Bike for 50 minutes.
Wednesday Run for 35 minutes. Incorporate walk breaks when you need to.
Thursday Swim for 25 minutes - easy freestyle, nonstop.
Friday Bike for 50 - 60 minutes.
Saturday Run for 40 minutes. Incorporate walk breaks when you need to.

Week 7 of 16

How long does it take you to run 6 miles? Are you able to run 6 miles continuously or do you to take walk breaks? Many people choose to incorporate walk breaks into their run training and racing. If you want to be able to run continuously, you should get into the habit of not walking. You may find that at first you need to slow your pace in order to be able to finish the run. As you build endurance, it will become easier and you’ll be able to go longer. You need to build your running endurance so that you can comfortably cover 6.2 miles. For some people that will be 40 minutes, for some it will be closer to 75 minutes or more. You can measure out a 6 mile course around your neighborhood and time yourself over the distance. Or, if you have unlimited resources, a Garmin is a nice tool to trace pace/speed/distance. It is worn like a watch and uses GPS technology. But before you spend the money on GPS technology, make sure you have a good pair of running shoes. Your local running specialty store can watch you run and make sure you are wearing the right shoes for your feet and running style. Good shoes will go a long way toward keeping you injury free.

Week 7 Workout Schedule
Week 7 Workout Schedule
Monday Swim 1500 yards:
Warm up 200 yards freestyle.
Swim 100 yards freestyle.
Swim 150 yards freestyle.
Swim 200 yards freestyle.
Swim 250 yards freestyle.
Swim 200 yards freestyle.
Swim 150 yards freestyle.
Swim 50 yards freestyle.
Cool down 200 yards - your choice.
Tuesday Bike for 60 minutes. Pick a few points on the route to increase your pace a little. Just to
get your heart rate up for a minute. Repeat this 3-4 times in the middle of your ride.
Wednesday Run for 40 minutes.
Thursday Swim for 30 minutes - easy freestyle, nonstop.
Friday Bike for 60 minutes.
Saturday Run for 45 minutes.

Week 8 of 16

After this week you are half way to race day! Congratulations on making it this far. This week, try to rest a little more and get ready to build on your speed and distance in the next training block.

Week 8 Workout Schedule
Week 8 Workout Schedule
Monday Swim 1000 yards:
Warm up 200 yards freestyle.
Swim 50 fast/50 easy, rest 1 minute.
Repeat 3 times.
Kick 200 yards.
Cool down with 200 yards your choice of stroke.
Tuesday Bike for 45 minutes. Consider taking a spin class at your health club as an alternative.
Wednesday Run for 35 minutes.
Thursday Swim for 20 - 30 minutes - easy freestyle, nonstop.
Friday Bike for 45 minutes.
Saturday Run for 35 minutes.

next 4 weeks

The goal the next 4 weeks is to make sure you are prepared for the distance. At this point, you should have an idea about how long you will be out on the course. For a first triathlon, the goal should be to finish. Once you have made it through, you can evaluate areas where you feel you could improve and set time or improvement goals for next time.

As before, if you miss a workout, you don’t have to “make it up”. Feel free to move workouts around to fit your lifestyle. If you prefer to do two activities on the weekend days when you have more time, then take an extra day off in the week. If you absolutely cannot get up in the morning to workout, then plan your training for your lunch break or after work. Do what works best for your lifestyle.

Week 9 of 16

Do you know how to sight in open water? In order to stay on course, you will need to lift your eyes to look for buoys while you are swimming. Many athletes have a pattern, sighting every 5th stroke for example. The adage is “sight early and often”. Without sighting, you could easily swim several hundred meters longer than necessary because currents pull you off course. Practice sighting during your warm up and cool down in your swim workouts.

Week 9 Workout Schedule
Week 9 Workout Schedule
Monday Swim 1500 - 1800 yards:
Warm up with 200 yards of freestyle.
Kick 200 yards.
Swim 2 x 500 freestyle, with 30 seconds rest between each.
Kick 200 yards.
Cool down with 200 yards - your choice of stroke.
Tuesday Bike for 75 minutes. Do a few intervals where you pick up the pace.
Wednesday Run for 45 minutes.
Thursday Swim for 30 minutes - easy freestyle without stopping.
Friday Bike for 75 minutes.
Saturday Run for 50 minutes. Incorporate walk breaks when you need to.

Week 10 of 16

Have you practiced transitions? It may seem easy, but many athletes waste valuable time in transition because they are unprepared. You will want to have a small towel on the ground near your bike to place your bike shoes, run shoes, helmet, race belt, and any other necessities. You want to keep your area as simple as possible. If you bring unnecessary things into transition, your area will become cluttered and it will slow you down. Practice laying out a transition area before your one of your bike rides this week. When you return from your ride, practice your transition and go for a short run.

Week 10 Workout Schedule
Week 10 Workout Schedule
Monday Swim 1800 yards:
Warm up with 200 yards of freestyle.
Swim 400 free.
Swim 2 x 100 free.
Swim 400 free.
Swim 4 x 50 fast.
Kick 200 yards.
Cool down with 200 yards - your choice of stroke.
Tuesday Bike for 75 - 90 minutes.
Wednesday Run for 50 minutes. Incorporate walk breaks when you need to.
Thursday Swim for 30 minutes - easy freestyle, nonstop.
Friday Bike for 90 minutes, follow with 10 minute transition run.
Saturday Run for 55 minutes. Incorporate walk breaks when you need to.

Week 11 of 16

How are you feeling? If you are feeling tired, pay special attention to appropriate nutrition and sleep during the next two weeks. Food and sleep are key to proper fueling and recovery for training and racing. With the workouts becoming longer, you will need to make sure you are meeting your body’s needs.

Week 11 Workout Schedule
Week 11 Workout Schedule
Monday Swim 1800-2000 yards:
Warm up 200 yards freestyle.
Swim 100 yards freestyle.
Swim 200 yards freestyle.
Swim 300 yards freestyle.
Swim 400 yards free.
Swim 300 yards free.
Swim 200 yards free.
Swim 100 yards free.
Kick 100 yards.
Cool down 100 yards - your choice.
Tuesday Bike for 90 minutes. Pick a few points on the route to increase your pace a little.
Wednesday Run for 55 minutes.
Thursday Swim for 30 minutes - easy freestyle, nonstop.
Friday Bike for 90 minutes.
Saturday Run for 60 minutes.

Week 12 of 16

After this week, you have 4 weeks left to race day. This week will be a recovery week, so you’ll notice the workouts are slightly shorter than the last couple of weeks. Take advantage of the extra rest to prepare your body for its last 2 weeks of hard effort coming up.

Week 12 Workout Schedule
Week 12 Workout Schedule
Monday Swim 1200 yards:
Warm up 200 yards freestyle.
Kick 200 yards.
Swim 50 fast/ 50 easy, rest 1 minute.
Repeat 3 times.
Kick 200 yards.
Cool down with 200 yards your choice of stroke.
Tuesday Bike for 60 minutes.
Wednesday Run for 45 minutes.
Thursday Swim for 20 minutes - easy freestyle, nonstop.
Friday Bike for 60 minutes. Run for 10 minutes.
Saturday Run for 45 minutes.

last 4 weeks

The goal of the last 4 weeks is to make sure you are prepared for the distance and get rested up for race day. At this point, you should have an idea about how long you will be out on the course. For a first triathlon, the goal should be to finish. Once you have made it through, you can evaluate areas where you feel you could improve and set time or improvement goals for next time.

As before, if you miss a workout, you don’t have to “make it up”. Feel free to move workouts around to fit your lifestyle. If you prefer to do two activities on the weekend days when you have more time, then take an extra day off in the week. If you absolutely cannot get up in the morning to workout, then plan your training for your lunch break or after work. Do what works best for your lifestyle.

Week 13 of 16

Make an effort to push yourself in your workouts the next two weeks. These two weeks are the last longer workouts before your race. Make sure you can cover the distance!

Week 13 Workout Schedule
Week 13 Workout Schedule
Monday Swim 2000 - 2200 yards:
Warm up with 200 yards of freestyle.
Swim 4 x 400 freestyle, with 30 seconds rest between each.
Kick 200 yards.
Cool down with 200 yards - your choice of stroke.
Tuesday Bike for 90 - 105 minutes. Do a few intervals where you pick up the pace.
Wednesday Run for 60 minutes.
Thursday Swim for 30 minutes - easy freestyle, nonstop.
Friday Bike for 90 - 105 minutes.
Saturday Run for 65 minutes. Incorporate walk breaks when you need to.

Week 14 of 16

Make an effort to push yourself in your workouts. This is the last long workout before your race. Make sure you can cover the distance!

Week 14 Workout Schedule
Week 14 Workout Schedule
Monday Swim 2000-2200 yards:
Warm up with 200 yards of freestyle.
Swim 400 free.
Swim 4 x 100 free.
Swim 400 free.
Swim 4 x 100 free.
Kick 200 yards.
Cool down with 200 yards - your choice of stroke.
Tuesday Bike for 105 - 120 minutes.
Wednesday Runfor 65 minutes. Incorporate walk breaks when you need to.
Thursday Swim for 30 minutes- easy freestyle, nonstop.
Friday Bike for 105 - 120 minutes, follow with 10 minute transition run.
Saturday Run for 70 minutes. Incorporate walk breaks when you need to.

Week 15 of 16

2 weeks to go until race day! How are you feeling? If you are feeling tired, pay special attention to appropriate nutrition and sleep during the next two weeks. Food and sleep are key to proper fueling and recovery for training and racing. This week you will notice that the workouts are starting to become shorter. You should keep the intensity level up during the workouts.

Week 15 Workout Schedule
Week 15 Workout Schedule
Monday Swim 1500 - 1800 yards:
Warm up 200 yards freestyle.
Kick 200 yards.
Swim 150 yards freestyle.
Swim 200 yards freestyle.
Swim 300 yards freestyle.
Swim 200 yards free.
Swim 150 yards free.
Kick 200 yards.
Cool down 200 yards - your choice.
Tuesday Bike for 75 - 90 minutes. Pick a few points on the route to increase your pace a little.
Wednesday Run for 60 minutes.
Thursday Swim for 30 minutes - easy freestyle, nonstop.
Friday Bike for 60 - 75 minutes.
Saturday Run for 45 minutes.

Week 16 of 16

You are one week from race day! Make a list of things you will want to pack for race day. Include your warm up gear, swim gear, bike gear, run gear, and clothing/nutrition for after the race. If you are able, plan to get a massage early in the week to loosen things up.

Week 16 Workout Schedule
Week 16 Workout Schedule
Monday Swim 800 - 1000 yards:
Warm up 200 yards freestyle.
Swim 50 fast/50 easy, rest 1 minute.
Repeat 3 times.
Kick 200 yards.
Cool down with 200 yards your choice of stroke.
Tuesday Bike for 45 minutes.
Wednesday Run for 20 minutes.
Thursday Swim for 15 minutes - easy freestyle, nonstop.
Friday REST
Saturday Bike for 15 minutes. Run for 10 - 15 minutes.

Good luck at Leon’s World’s Fastest Olympic Distance Triathlon! Think about all the time you have spent training, relax, and enjoy yourself! Make sure you thank the volunteers - they are out there just for you! And encourage the athletes around you, we are all in this together!


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