› Sprint Triathlon Training Schedule

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Sprint Triathlon Training Schedule
Your Guide To Preparing
For The Big Race

This sprint triathlon training schedule is for you if you have been engaged in triathlon training regularly for around 12 months, or if you have been doing less than that, but come from a swim, bike, or run background with a good, consistent training background.

In order to follow this schedule you will need to be able to commit 5 to 10 hours per week on a consistent basis.

The program is flexible, so whether you have 3 months or 10 months until your triathlon you can use it effectively.

This sprint triathlon training schedule consists of 5 phases. Have a look at our guide for a detailed description of each phase.

Have a look at our guide to planning your training for a detailed description of each training phase.


Sprint Triathlon Training Phases

Foundation Phase

Aim: Introduction to sprint triathlon training schedule. To get you comfortable with training, and build a basic level of fitness to allow you to start proper training. Allows you to get your feel back for the water, your bike skills back up and your body used to running again.

Move on: After 2 – 4 weeks, or once you feel comfortable with the three disciplines.

Base

Aim: To build up your volume of training so that you can move on to doing higher intensity training and recover well from this during the next phase of your sprint triathlon training schedule.

This will be your longest training phase.

Move on: When you can comfortably do endurance sessions that are double race distance.

Build Phase

Aim: Still a good volume of training but now including speed work and intermediate endurance sessions so you start to pick up some speed endurance. Overall you will be doing slightly less hours of training in this part of your sprint triathlon training schedule, as the overall training intensity will have increased.

Move on: When you are able to do a few weeks of intermediate endurance training sessions of ¾ to full race duration within a normal training week (ie not in a rested state and without compromising the following days training).

Your build phase should finish 6 – 12 weeks out from your key race. If you get to this point and you have longer than 12 weeks until your key sprint triathlon, go back and repeat the base and build phases – aiming for 2 – 3 weeks of each. You would increase the pace (not the intensity) of the sessions compared to your first time through these phases.

Preparation Phase

Aim: To fine tune your speed work – this is the part of your sprint triathlon training schedule where you build real speed. Training is much higher intensity, and mainly around race pace. However the volume of training is much lower.

Move on: This phase should last around 1 – 6 weeks, 8 weeks at the very most.

If you are 8 weeks out from your key race and you feel like your endurance is good but you have no speed, then move into the preparation phase. If however at this point you feel like your speed is quite good, then carry on with the base/build phases for longer.

Recuperation Phase

Aim: Active recovery or rest, to allow you to recover and adapt to the recent training phase, and put you in a good position to start the next phase of your sprint triathlon training schedule.

Move on: This phase should last around 3 – 10 days. You should have a recuperation phased between each phase of your sprint triathlon training schedule.

You can even have a recuperation phase within another phase if it is a long phase (eg every 4 weeks or so). You should include a recuperation phase as soon as you start to struggle to maintain speed in training as you have been doing previously.

Sometimes you do need to push on a little through the fatigue (this is the overload that stimulates the body to adapt to training), but not on a regular basis.

You shouldn’t need to take a full recuperation phase of 10 days more than 2 to 3 times in a year.


Sprint Triathlon Training Schedule –
Training Sessions

You should be aiming for a minimum of 2 sessions per week in each discipline within this sprint triathlon training schedule. If you have the time, energy and need to do more, then aim for 3 or 4.

The number of sessions you do in each discipline can vary from week to week - this sprint triathlon training schedule is not set in stone!

Prioritise your weakest discipline. If your bike and swim are both weaker than your run then prioritise the bike as you can gain more time here.


Foundation Phase

Swim:

Between each part of the session have 20 – 60s recovery, however much you need to maintain the quality of the whole session.

Swim Description
100m Warm up
4 x 50m (20–60s recovery) Alternating backstroke and breast stroke.
6 x 25m kick (20–60s recovery) 1st easy, 2nd steady, 3rd hard and repeat.
8 x 25m, (15s recovery) Maintain or improve distance travelled per stroke. At an easy/steady pace, count the number of strokes per length and hold this for all 8 reps.
4 x 25m (15s recovery) Start with a slow stroke rate, long stroke. Each 25m increase your stroke rate – your time per 25m will get faster.
4 x 50m Alternating backstroke and breast stroke.
8 x 50m, (15s recovery) Maintain or improve distance travelled per stroke. At an easy/steady pace, count the number of strokes per length and hold this for all 8 reps.
2 x 50m kick (20–60s recovery)
2 x 50m (20–60s recovery) Alternating backstroke and breastroke.
Bike Description
S1. Easy Ride, 45 – 90 minutes After the first week introduce 2 – 5 harder efforts of 3 – 5 minutes at race pace.
S2. Under & Over Gear, 45 – 90 minutes Include blocks of 6 – 12 minutes, where you alternate 1 minute under-gearing (spinning at higher cadence than normal, at least 100rpm), with 1 minute of over-gearing (cadence lower, down to 60rpm at lowest).
Run Description
S1. Easy 15 – 40 minute run Aim for 2 per week.
S2. 15 – 40 minute run with Intermediate Endurance Include 3 – 5 minutes of Intermediate Endurance Running (below race pace).
S3. 15 – 40 minute run Include 4 – 8 reps of 10 – 15 seconds where you increase speed up to just above race pace.

Base Phase

Swim Description
Warm-up For All Sessions:
100 – 200m swim
4 x 25 or 50m Easy. Alternating backstroke and breast stroke.
4 x 25 or 50m Reduced breathing rate. So if you normally breathe every 2 strokes, change this to every 3, 4 or even 5 strokes.
4 x 25 or 50m Maintain or improve distance travelled per stroke. At an easy/steady pace, count the number of strokes per length and hold this for all 8 reps.
2 x 25 or 50m With an increased stroke rate.
S1. Twice through the cycle of 3 sets below:
3 x 100m Intermediate Endurance pace ( CSS minus 5%). 30 – 40 seconds recovery.
1 x 200m Intermediate Endurance pace (CSS minus 5%). 45 – 60 seconds recovery.
4 x 50m Easy. Alternating backstroke and breast stroke.
S2. Three times through the set below:
10 x 25 or 50m At CSS pace or slower. 15 – 30 seconds recovery.
S3. For more advanced swimmers Twice through the set below:
3 – 4 x 150 – 200m At Intermediate Endurance pace or below. 60 seconds recovery between reps.
Bike Description
Extensive Endurance Rides 2 – 4 of these rides per week. Duration of around 1 hour, and aim to build this up to a max of 3 hours over the course of this phase.
Run Description
S1. Extensive Endurance Runs 25 – 60 minutes, and build the duration over the course of the phase.
S2. Extensive Endurance with Intermediate Endurance Include only 1 of these runs per week. 25 – 60 minutes at Extensive Endurance pace, with a block of 5 – 15 minutes at Intermediate Endurance pace.

Build Phase

Swim Description
Warm-up As Base Phase
S1. 20 x 25 or 50m At CSS (race pace) with 30 – 40 seconds recovery.
S2. 5 x 150 or 200m (distance that takes 2 -3 minutes at Intermediate Endurance pace) At Intermediate Endurance Pace. With 60 – 90 seconds recovery.
Bike Description
S1. Extensive Endurance Ride At least 1 of these rides per week. 1.5 – 3 hours duration, building on the duration you achieved in the Base Phase.
S2. Extensive Endurance with Intermediate Endurance 45 minutes to 1 hour 20 max duration, which includes 20 – 40 minutes of continuous Intermediate Endurance riding. The rest of the ride should be Extensive Endurance or easier.
S3. (Optional) Extensive Endurance with Intermediate Endurance 1 hour 15 to 2 hours 30 duration, including 15 – 25 minutes of Intermediate Endurance riding.
Run Description
S1. Extensive Endurance Run Build on duration from the Base Phase.
S2. Intermediate Endurance Run
  • 25 – 50 minutes.
  • Start off at Extensive Endurance pace and then gradually increase the pace over 2 – 3 minutes up to Intermediate Endurance pace for 15 – 35 minutes.
  • As you increase the duration of this session, do this by increasing the duration of the Intermediate Endurance section.
  • Aim to be able to do race duration at Intermediate Endurance pace.
S3. 25 x 200m
  • Ideally this session would be done on a running track. If not use a good surface where you can run without interruption.
  • The reps should be slightly slower than your average race pace.
  • 15 – 30 seconds rest between runs – enough so you can maintain quality of each run.
  • Can build up to 30 reps.
S4. Alternative to S3 for those more well trained: 13 x 400m Slightly slower than average race pace. You can do a session mixing 200 and 400m reps, with the aim being to accumulate a total distance around race distance.

Preparation Phase

Swim Description
Warm-up As Base Phase
S1. 20 x 25m Intensive Endurance 40 – 50 seconds recovery, or 1:3 work:rest ratio. Can split this into two sets.
S2. 25, 50, 75, 100, 125, 150m At CSS pace. 2:1 work:rest ratio. Can progress to include descending back down to 25m, with 2 – 3 minutes rest after 150m.
Bike Description
S1. Extensive Endurance Ride Always include this session each week. Up to 2 hours duration.
S2. Intensive Endurance Ride 10 mile time trial, or warm up, then 15 – 25 minutes at Intensive Endurance, maintaining an even pace throughout.
S3. 6 x 3 – 4 minutes (can be done on turbo) 2:1 work to rest ratio. The Efforts should be at race intensity or slightly harder. Your rest should be in the lowest gear, spinning nice and slowly.
S4. Another Extensive Endurance Ride Up to 2 hours duration.
Run Description
S1. Extensive Endurance Run Up to 1 hour max, and the same duration as you were doing in your Build Phase.
S2. Run Off Bike Try to include this session, though not necessarily every week. Quick transition off the bike, into a 15 minute run, with the first 5 minutes hard (faster than race pace) and the gradually reduce the pace over the next 10 minutes.
S3. 25 x 200m As Build Phase, but slightly above race pace - up to a max of 5% faster.
S4. 13 x 400m As Build Phase, but slightly above race pace - up to a max of 5% faster.

Recuperation Phase

Swim As Foundation Phase but reduce number of reps.
Bike 20 – 40 minutes max, below Extensive Endurance. On the flat if possible, with a slightly higher cadence than normal. 2 – 3 rides per week.
Run Minimise your running. 10 – 15 minutes at most, and can include a few 10 to 15 second efforts where you stride out at a slightly faster pace.

Additions To Sprint Triathlon Training Schedule

We suggest you include some basic strength training in your sprint triathlon training schedule, from an injury prevention point of view. If you have the time and inclination to do more than this then that is fine, just ensure that this doesn’t compromise your swim, bike and run sessions.

For example you could include the following as injury prevention:

  • Include running drills as part of your warm up for a run session
  • Do a glute circuit after a swim, bike or run session
  • Do some core strength exercises after a swim, bike or run session.

Don’t forget to think about your recovery so that you optimise your adaptation to your sprint triathlon training schedule!

Happy Training!


Running Drills

These are great to use as part of a warm-up. Ideal for improving functional strength and control, as well as running economy.




Glute Exercises For Hip Control And Stability

Good glute strength is important for maintaining good hip position and stabilising your pelvis. Without this you are likely to end up with injuries to your lower limbs - eg knee, calf or achilles problems.


Core Strength Exercises – Level 1

Start here with basic core exercises focussing on engaging the TA muscle as a starting point.




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