Olympic Triathlon Training Plans

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The Best Way To Train For An Olympic Triathlon

An Olympic distance triathlon involves a 1500-meter swim, a 40-km bike and a 10-km run. The average time taken to complete an Olympic distance triathlon is between two and three hours, and so the training can’t be taken too lightly. The best way to train for an Olympic triathlon, is to include regular swimming, cycling and running into your lifestyle. That may sound obvious, but the point is that other types of cardiovascular training are not as effective. For example, activities like aerobics and rowing are great, but they’re not the best use of time for a triathlon. You’re better off sticking exclusively with swimming, cycling and running. Plus, some strength training, if you have the additional time. 

Top Training Tips For An Olympic Triathlon

Essentially you need to train your body, so that you’re eventually able to swim 1500m, cycle 40km and run 10km, back to back. Think of the triathlon like one long race, rather than three separate events. The challenge of training for an Olympic triathlon is fitting it all in, on top of everything else in your life. To improve at all three disciplines simultaneously, you need to train twice per week for each one. That’s six workouts per week, before you’ve even considered strength training. For this reason, it’s important to carefully plan your training before you start. The sessions should start off small, and you can build them up gradually over the weeks and months.

This is most people’s weakest area, and the aspect they are most concerned about. If you’re not a confident swimmer, it’s a good idea to sign up for a series of adult improver swim lessons before you start a triathlon training program.

Once you can swim 400 meters or yards freestyle in a pool without stopping, you can then train on your own more, or in a group. Break up your swim workouts, into smaller chunks with regular rest periods. Slowly increase the duration of your workouts each week, so that you’re eventually able to swim a 2km session (with frequent short rests). By this stage you could also test yourself with a 1500 non-stop swim.

We suggest you always have some idea of what you’re doing, before you get in the pool. You’ll get more out of following a pre-planned workout, than you will by plodding up and down aimlessly. If you follow our training plans, we do all the thinking for you. We also include video swim drills, to help improve different aspects of your stroke.

If you’re thinking of doing a triathlon with an open water swim, it’s a good idea to practice swimming in that environment too. It doesn’t have to be every swim you do but aim for at least two open water swims before you race in open water. We include these workouts in our training plans too, in the lead up to race day.

Aim to cycle a couple of times per week (or more) and gradually build your longest rides up to 50 km (or 30 miles). This will give you enough fitness for an Olympic triathlon, with a little to spare. Most of your training can be done at chatting pace, but it’s also good to include some harder efforts.

You can either cycle outdoors in good weather, or indoors using a trainer such as a Wahoo KICKR. Many indoor trainers enable you to link to interactive cycling software like Zwift. This means you can ride with real people in a virtual environment – which makes it more fun. The workouts in our training plans can be exported to platforms such as Zwift, TrainerRoad and Garmin. However, it’s sensible to do at least some of your training outside on the bike you intend to use during your triathlon. This ensures you’re used to the feel and handling of your race-day bike.

Aim to run twice per week, but be sensible about your speed and distances, to avoid injury. For example, you could start off by running two miles and increase your distance by 1 mile per month until you build up to around 6-miles. In the last few weeks, you could include some runs straight after cycling, just to get used to the feeling. Do most of your running at chatting pace, even if it means you must include some walking. It’s also good to include some harder efforts but interspersed with plenty of easy stuff. Be patient with your running. Impatience leads to injuries, and consistency is your goal.

We include two 45-minute strength and conditioning sessions per week with our olympic triathlon plans. Not everyone can fit them in around their busy lives, on top of their swimming, cycling and running, but it’s good if you can. These workouts can help balance your strength and flexibility, which leads to more efficient movement patterns and fewer injuries. We suggest you only do strength work in addition to at least two swims, two runs and two cycles per week. Rather than instead of them.

Using An Olympic Triathlon Training Plan

Online training plans are for athletes who don’t feel the need for a personal coach, but who still want the structure and planning of an expertly-written training program. Research has shown that you are twice as likely to reach your goals if you train with a structured plan. 

For a beginner who has some recent background in fitness or sport, we recommend you give yourself at least 16 weeks to get fit and ready for an Olympic triathlon. Ideally longer. The sooner you start, the more time you have to build up your fitness gradually. Fitness adaptations take weeks and months to occur, rather than days.

About Phil Mosley
About Phil Mosley

As an athlete and parent I know how challenging it can be to train effectively for endurance events. As a certified coach with over 20 years’ experience, I’ve found the biggest challenge to be balancing my client’s training with their lifestyle…

And that’s why I started MyProCoach - to offer the world’s most comprehensive range of online endurance sports training plans. All designed to help you enjoy the same success that my athletes and I have, while still making sure you have quality time available for your family, friends and career. And the results have been great - read 80+ detailed testimonials here.

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Our Olympic Triathlon Plans (6-40 Weeks)

MORE THAN JUST A TRAINING PLAN

We use Training Peaks to deliver your plan – the world’s most popular endurance coaching platform. Free to use, Training Peaks is an online calendar that lets you record, track and analyze your training sessions. 

It has a host of great features allowing you to get as in-depth as you like, including the ability to export your workouts to your training devices (Garmin, TrainerRoad etc) and follow them in real time. 

Training Peaks enables us to set you in-depth training plans in a way that other formats cannot. Phil Mosley is a Certified Coach and one of the best-selling coaches on the platform.

We want to provide an affordable and effective training solution, including email coach support for any questions you may have. As you can understand, some limits apply, like personalisation or analysis of your training, but for anything else relevant to your plan, we would love to help. We also give you full access to our online help centre, with videos and articles to help you train effectively.

Certainly! Our training plans allow you to easily swap a few days around each week to suit your availability. We give a few recommendations on how to best do this in our help centre.

Yes! Our training plans guide you up to your target “A” race, but it’s also good to include some “B or C” races along the way. Our help centre goes through the exact steps you should take to enable you to get full benefit, without detracting from your key focus.

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FEEDBACK FROM MY OLYMPIC TRIATHLON CLIENTS

I'm delighted with how the season has gone. I'm thrilled with how far I have come and excited about how much further I can go. I feel that I have moved from "age grouper" to "serious age grouper". Next step is "elite age grouper”. Your triathlon coaching, encouragement and wise counsel has been invaluable and I know that I would not have had anything like the season if I wasn't working with you.
Laurie Procter - ​Oct 2015
Triathlete
Last weekend I raced in Olympic Distance 2:17h 8 overall and 1st my age group 45 to 40. I want to say that your program is great, fun and very well planned. I’m really happy to found professional coaches at affordable price who really know what they doing.
Oscar Fumero - May 2018
Olympic Triathlon
I just raced in San Diego after following another one of your plans and got 2nd in my age group as well as the 5th fastest bike split out of over 300. I did the same race last year and I was 7 minutes faster this year! I have really been loving these so much.
​Nick Goldston -June 2018
Triathlete

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Olympic Triathlon - Beginner Plans:

You should count back the weeks from your “A” target race-date – noting that you can still work in other, smaller races during your plan too. Generally, the longer the better – as this will give you more chance to gradually build up your training and fitness. The body responds best to constant progression with regular recovery periods, and that’s exactly what our training plans are designed to give you.

Further questions about choosing the right plan or using it? Our coaching team would be happy to help: info@myprocoach.net

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Olympic Triathlon - Intermediate Plans:

You should count back the weeks from your “A” target race-date – noting that you can still work in other, smaller races during your plan too. Generally, the longer the better – as this will give you more chance to gradually build up your training and fitness. The body responds best to constant progression with regular recovery periods, and that’s exactly what our training plans are designed to give you.

Further questions about choosing the right plan or using it? Our coaching team would be happy to help: info@myprocoach.net

Preview or Buy Now!

CLICK A BUTTON BELOW TO BE DIRECTED TO THE TRAININGPEAKS™ ONLINE STORE

Olympic Triathlon - Advanced Plans:

You should count back the weeks from your “A” target race-date – noting that you can still work in other, smaller races during your plan too. Generally, the longer the better – as this will give you more chance to gradually build up your training and fitness. The body responds best to constant progression with regular recovery periods, and that’s exactly what our training plans are designed to give you.

Further questions about choosing the right plan or using it? Our coaching team would be happy to help: info@myprocoach.net