Triathlon Training Plans – Benefits & Disadvantages

Can triathlon training plans help you to attain your goals? We look at the benefits and disadvantages…

As one year draws to an end and another one looms into view, it’s a great time to set some Triathlon New Year’s Resolutions. As an athlete, this will probably involve thinking about how to get fitter, leaner and faster.

One thing that might be near the top of your list is a triathlon training plan. A day to day training schedule designed by a coach can help you to train more effectively for your key races. If you’re already using a triathlon training plan, here are a few tips to help you follow it effectively. 

I followed a triathlon training plan for 15 of my 20 years as a triathlete and my fitness and race results certainly improved significantly from the point when I started. Within a year of properly planned training, I was winning local races and finishing on the podium at National age-group level.

​Initially, my training plans were just pieces of paper, but over time I moved onto PDF’s and then pre-written plans using software such as Garmin Connect, Training Peaks or Strava. Mostly they were self-written, with inspiration taken from books and magazines.

Following a training plan is not always the same thing as having a coach. Unless you pay extra for that personal coaching support, all you’ll get is a pre-written plan, Generally, a training plan like this doesn’t talk back, make you feel good or tell you what to do when you’re sick, injured or stuck at work. And it’s not written specifically with you, your job, your likes and dislikes in mind either.

So clearly there are advantages and disadvantages to using a triathlon training plan and in this blog, I aim to explain the pros and cons. I’ll also give you some general advice on where to find one that might work for you.

Triathlon Training Plans Pro’s and Con’s

  • No more guesswork, all your sessions are carefully planned.
  • You benefit from a structured approach to training and recovery
  • Your training progresses gradually as your fitness increases, reducing the likelihood of injury and burnout
  • You’ll feel more accountable for missed sessions, so you’re more likely to train consistently
  • A wider variety of workouts, all thoughtfully designed by an expert
  • Workouts based on your Training Zones to help you train at the optimal intensity


  • You might end up training on your own more because you don’t want to compromise the planned workout
  • Training feels more serious and less about “the fun of it”
  • You’ll have less flexibility about your daily training, so it can be harder to fit around your job, family and other commitments
  • Triathlon training plans are generally designed around one key race, rather than lots of small ones​
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Which Type Of Triathlon Training Plan Is Best For You?

1. Coached Plans

Hiring a coach gives you the highest chance of success but it’s also the most expensive option. Your coach will design a training plan that suits your goals, fitness and availability.  They will update your plan every week or every month so that it progresses at the right rate for you. And if you can’t train for any reason (work commitments for example) they will adjust the plan and tell you what to do instead. They’ll also provide constant feedback and wise words along the way. This usually involves a monthly fee, between £80 and £250 depending on the coach and the service they offer.

2. Pre-written Triathlon Training Plans

This is the next most effective option. Buying a pre-written triathlon training plan offers you far greater choice than trying to find a free one. You’re more likely to find one that suits your exact needs in terms of experience, duration and weekly volume. You can browse a wide range of plans and authors, read the descriptions and choose the one that suits you best. If you buy a plan that’s hosted on a platform such as TrainingPeaks you can wirelessly upload your training data, track your progress and analyse your workouts. Some training plans even offer email access to the coach if you need help. Prices range from £10 to £100 depending on the duration, type and author.

MyProCoach Training Plans

3. Free Triathlon Training Plans

Free training plans are probably the least effective option of the three here but they’re still much better than having no plan at all. They usually come in the form of a PDF download or a print-out, covering 12 weeks or less. I’ve written dozens of these plans for magazines and websites, and I must admit to being limited by the strict word count and also by trying to please everyone. With free plans, the choice of authors and the range of events is limited, which means you’re less likely to find a plan that suits your specific needs. Even so, they are a great introduction to the world of structured and progressive training.

MyProCoach Free Training Plans

Phil Mosley (Coach & Founder)
Phil Mosley (Coach & Founder)

Phil is a recognised endurance expert who founded MyProCoach in 2010 to offer smart training plans that still leave quality time for your family, friends & career - complete with highly-rated coach support (he has sold over 40,000 so far). Learn more here!

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