Plan(s) to follow for new triathlete, long way off from "goals"

Hello everyone. The title sums things up. I’m competing in my first sprint tri in about three weeks, which was a friendly challenge between my wife and I to get into better shape. I’ve been “training” for the past 8 weeks or so and am confident in my ability to finish the race. I have really enjoyed the training for three different sports and next year would like to try my hand at a full season of sprint and maybe an olympic event. I might do another sprint event this year around the end of September, but otherwise I’ve got lots of time to get in fighting shape and am not sure how to structure it, so that’s where I’m looking for help.

TL;DR - I am a former swimmer (really long time ago) and former cyclist (a little less of a long time ago) who is a terrible runner. How do I train between now and early June 2020 to get as fast as possible at the sprint and occasional olympic distance tri?

Here’s a few bits of info that might help:

  1. I have weight to lose (30 lbs, maybe more if I can). I think for the next few months that should 100% be my goal, obviously losing that and building to a high level of fitness can be tough, so building a big strong base while slowly shedding pounds would be good, so once I get to my goal weight I can start eating fully and ramping up the fitness.

  2. I used to be (~10 yrs ago) a decent cyclist. My best 40k TT was a 58.?? on a TT bike with deep rims (no disc) with an FTP at around 320 (I am 6’2 and was 180 lbs at the time). My cycling is decent, and feel that I can get back to that level or higher with proper training.

  3. I swam competitively until 18, (I’m 39 now), but have done some masters swimming and open water swims in the last few years. In the pool now, I can do 100y repeats holding 1:20 with 20 seconds rest.

  4. My running is terrible. I have never been a runner, I have struggled with shin splints any time I’ve tried to run consistently. I’ve taken my time easing into running at this point very slowly and seem to be ok. I am doing lots of run/walking in my training to try and build up to being able to run the entire event in 3 weeks, completely comfortable with the fact that I am going to get passed by what feels like most of the field in the run.

Here is my thought process following my race at the end of August:

  1. continue to try and improve my run by devoting more time to it (try and get 4 run workouts in if my body allows it.
  2. continue to shed the pounds to get to my goal weight by the early part of next year, but if I don’t, once I get into a build period, stop trying to lose and just accept that that will be my race weight for the year (give or take, but not actively trying to reduce calories)

My first “goal” race is a local tri at the beginning of June that’s 1/2 mile swim, 17 mile bike and 5 mile run (so almost olympic, long sprint, whatever you wanna call it). I am thinking and this is where I need help that I would work my way through the three base plans for the olympic distance, starting with the low volume, then following it up with the mid and high volume, so three months of building a base while I become more able to handle the running volume. At that point, I think I’d start the mid or high volume build phase and then the specialty. I know I could just keep sort of figuring it out on my own until I’m the correct amount of time out from my event, but I like to have a plan to follow, I might augment it here and there during the “off-season”, but I really want to accomplish 3 goals over the next 10 months, 1. lose a bunch of weight, 2. get my cycling FTP as high as I can and 3. Become a good enough runner where I can hold my own (no grandiose goals of running a 17 minute 5k).

Sorry for the long winded first post, but I love what I see with TR between workouts and plans and want to get the most out of it. With so much to choose from it’s easy to get overwhelmed.

Welcome to the crazy world of tri! Another option for base building, could be traditional base (three stages, 12 weeks total); it is relatively low intensity and would allow for you to build up your run fitness. It also has the advantage of being different to the oly plan so that you have a variety of workouts and are not burnt out by the time you get to build & specialty.

10 months out, I would also allow a few breaks in training to allow for sickness, holidays, bad weeks etc. Mid and high volume plans can be a lot, particularly with the intensity in the oly plans so I’d advise picking a lower volume and supplementing as you feel able rather than picking a higher volume and not getting it all done.

1 Like