Help choosing a Triathlon Training Plan

I could use some advice on choosing a training plan - here’s some info:

  1. I’ve just started training for triathlons, I’m not sure what distance yet but probably sprint or at biggest Olympic.
  2. I have several months of cycling under my belt and have just got back from Mallorca where rides of 120-150km with 2000m-2500m climbing went well. I wanted to try to get up Sa Calobra in an hour and I did it in 50 mins, so that shows TR works! However, I’m starting from zero with swimming and running.
  3. I have 2 weeks left of part 1 of the low volume two week sweet spot cycling plan and then I was planning on doing part 2 until I found out that TR could also do other sports including running and swimming.
  4. I do a club ride outside on Saturdays and am about to start to going to club swims on Thursdays and possibly Sundays so I don’t know how the training I’m given there will relate to the training in a plan nor if I could import swims from my Apple watch to TR, possibly via Strava?
  5. If I do the running using my Apple Watch will that sync to TR?
  6. Tomorrow I start bike commuting to work, which is 30 mins each way and it’s flat so I can keep the TSS from it low if go gentle or I can integrate training into them (with restrictions due to lights/traffic).

Maybe I should just disregard my cycling training to date, assume I’ll start with a sprint tri and choose the sprint tri plan to keep it simple but I don’t want to lose the cycling strength and endurance I’ve invested pain into if possible so i’m confused.

Any thoughts?

TR does not import runs or swims currently. You will either have to enter them manually or mark them as completed if you’re following a tri plan.

If your running/swimming mileage is truly zero then you will have to be careful about which plan you choose. The last thing you want is to overdo the running because of the aerobic fitness you have from cycling and land up injured.

Are you intending to work through a full base/build/specialty cycle?

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If you’re unsure, it is best to do the longer distance Base. So I’d recommend starting with Olympic Base, and then when you complete that phase you should have an idea of what event you plan to do. Then, you’ll just choose the corresponding Build/Specialty for your target event.

For riders that have not been structured training, we recommend riders to start from the beginning (Base). You certainly have some good fitness from all of your riding, but starting with a good, structured foundation will prove beneficial on race day.

You can associate the club rides with a Planned Ride in your calendar. You can learn how to do so here.

As for the swims, we don’t pull in your swim data, so you can just mark the planned swim as “complete” on the day of your club swim.

We don’t pull in run or swim data at this time.

We discuss how best to integrate commuting into your training in this brief video:

I hope this helps!

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I’ve been racing sprint and Olympic tri for 3 years now, the first year I followed the sprint plan but felt like I lacked a bit of endurance so switched to the Olympic plan after that and it’s worked really well. So I’d say go with the Olympic plan.

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OK cool - I didn’t know you could enter them manually. That’s probably ideal because i imagine that my club workouts won’t correspond at all well with the TR swim plan. Will I get a TSS estimate for manually entered swims?

Yup - I broke my left femur badly in Dec 2011, having been a keen but unstructured runner and cyclist prior to the accident. I have a gamma nail in my femur and the surgeons told me I could do whatever I wanted with no issues but I’ve always had pain at the fracture site when i’ve tried running in the past. However, a friend suggested that perhaps I should try again now that my legs are stronger from cycling and I think he’s hit the nail on the head. I did an 800m jog, left it a couple of days then did 3k, left it a few days and did a 5km. I probably shouldn’t have done that much no matter how slow I was going. Do you have any guidance on how far, fast and frequently a complete beginner runner should limit themselves to (ignoring the leg fracture) to build up slowly enough to reduce the risk of injury? I have an unhelpful personality in this regard and am always pushing myself. Yes, I’m intent on completing the sweet spot plan and then increasing my FTP and then (haven’t looked at the speciality plans) perhaps one focused on climbing.

That’s really helpful, thank you. I think what I’ll do is to experiment by completing my sweet spot part 1, roll into the part 2, and then manually add in the running and swimming that I gradually build in over time and perhaps when I’m a bit better at swimming and running I might try a triathlon specific plan. I’ll keep it a bit fluid for the time being.


Full disclosure - I’m the guy that’s pushed Jimbo into Tri.

My additional thoughts -
Run: you’ve got aerobic fitness from the bike, so be careful with the run. You have the engine to drive it, but you’re basically at zero on the muscle adaptation / endurance - easy to put yourself into a hole. So keep the runs short, focus on frequency rather than building duration. I personally don’t think you need much/any run intensity right now, just acclimatise your muscles to it.

Swim: similar, but you’re unlikely to injure yourself unless you get over keen with paddles etc - so you can be a bit more punchy.

I’m confident you could handle (considerably) more than LV sweet spot base, but I’d say stick with that, and use the training headroom that gives you to sprinkle in some swim / run sessions in the gap days. If you have fun with it this year, and decide to get over the gravel obsession, then look to doing something tri specific over the winter / next year - which will involve you in a lot more run&swim.

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Perfect - really good plan. Today I’m sprinkling in the little run and swim sessions :slightly_smiling_face:

So not a beginner - if you can run 5km you can follow the sprint plan, maybe the Olympic too. They have walk breaks in the first runs too, you can keep these up if needs be.

What’s your swim like? Best thing for most would be to get a couple of swim lessons now, so you’ve got some confidence in your technique and what needs work. Then you can take that through the Olympic plan.

Don’t worry if the first swim feels like your drowning, and you’re desperate to finish a single length. Most of that is just getting used to the water again :wink: