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Olympic Triathlon Training - Novice

A training program has to be developed to meet the individual needs of the athlete and take into consideration many factors: gender, age, strengths, weaknesses, objectives, training facilities etc. As all athletes have different needs, a single program suitable for all athletes is not possible. The program supplied here is just an example and will require updates to meet your specific aims and objectives.

Any application of this training program is at the athlete's own discretion and risk.

Before You Start

Prior to starting any training, it is recommended you have a medical examination to ensure it is safe for you to do so.

Overview of the Training Program

The seasons training plan is based on six phases where each phase comprises of a repeated four-week program. The workload in the first three weeks of the four-week program increase each week (easy, medium, hard) and the fourth week comprises of active recovery and tests to monitor training progress. The aim of the four-week cycles is to:

  • Build you up to a level of fitness (3 weeks)
  • Test, recovery and adjustment of the training program (1 week)
  • Build you up to higher level of fitness (3 weeks)
  • Test, recovery and adjustment of the training program (1 week)
  • Build you up to an even higher level of fitness (3 weeks)
  • and so on

Remember a training program is athlete specific and the results of the tests in the fourth week can be used to adjust the training in the next four-week cycle to address any limitations.

The content and quantity of training in each week and phase will depend on many factors. The Planning page provides an insight into the process of data gathering and preparing training programs

Example Training Plan & Programs

The objective of each phase, with links to examples of a season's training plan and four-week training programs for phases 1, 2 and 3, are as follows:

  • Training Plan - General overview of the season by phases
  • Phase 1 - General development of strength, mobility, endurance and basic technique
  • Phase 2 - Development of specific fitness and advanced technical skills
  • Phase 3 - Competition experience - achievement of qualification times for main competition
  • Phase 4 - Adjustment of technical model, preparation for the main competition
  • Phase 5 - Competition experience and achievement of outdoor objectives
  • Phase 6 - Active recovery - planning preparation for next season

The content of the four-week programs in phases four and five depends very much on the athlete's progress and competition races. Your aim in these phases is to address any limitations the athlete may have in order to bring him/her to a peak of performance for the major competition in phase five.

Training Activities

The following are links to the appropriate page for the activities identified on the training programs.

Training Pace

The intensity for each session is given in terms of a percentage of the event distance target time. e.g. run for 40 minutes at race pace +15%. If the athlete's target time for the 5 km is 18 minutes, then at race pace + 15% their time for 5 km would be 21 minutes 10 seconds (18 ÷ 0.85). This equates to running at 4 minutes 13 seconds pace per kilometre and in 40 minutes you would cover approx. 9.5 kilometres.


Page Reference

If you quote information from this page in your work, then the reference for this page is:

  • MACKENZIE, B. (2007) Olympic Triathlon Training - Novice [WWW] Available from: https://www.brianmac.co.uk/triathlon/onovice.htm [Accessed

Related Pages

The following Sports Coach pages provide additional information on this topic: