Breaking Down the Training Plan: General Preparation

In order to help an athlete peak at the right time and achieve his or her racing goals, the training objectives within the macrocycle shift throughout the course of the training plan.

Every training plan should start with General Preparation. The goal is to establish a training routine.  Frequency is dependent on an athlete’s experience and fitness level, amount of time available to train, and sport-specific limiters that may need to be addressed.

Duration of this phase

When developing a training plan, I block 2-8  weeks from the start of an athlete’s specific preparation phase. Athletes training for a Sprint or Olympic Distance Triathlon, this phase generally is 2-4 weeks long. Athletes training for a 70.3 and Ironman this phase lasts 4-8 weeks. Building a solid foundation of skills (swim, bike, and run) is an important component to start of a solid training plan. Typically volume does not build much, consistency of training. By the end of this phase for the remainder of the program number of sessions that are appropriate for the athlete is solidified and the athlete is ready to start building duration and then add intensity.


Training intensity generally is low. Higher intensity may be incorporated into a variety of cadence and hill work for the bike, strength-related sessions in the swim (paddles and buoys), and drills and hill for a run. This is when an athlete will establish the necessary skills and drills to prevent injuries as volume and intensity increase over the course of the training plan. Resistance training during this phase is mainly injury prevention, mobility, and stability movements.

This phase precedes the specific preparation phase.

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Related Article: Determining Training Zones

Beginner and Advanced Training Plans on Training Peaks

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