Components of a Triathlete Training Plan

To give yourself the best possible chance of playing to your potential, you must prepare for every eventuality. That means practice.— Seve Ballesteros

It can be difficult for multisport athletes to train for 3 different sports regardless of the distance of their main event. It can even be more overwhelming for an athlete thinking about training for an Ironman to build the necessary volume to complete an Iron Distance Triathlon. Many athletes think they need to put in a large volume of training, and if the plan is done right, you can be successful.

Before you overwhelm yourself with the training plan details, talk to an experienced coach to educate yourself with how training plans will fit best into your life schedule. A coach can help you look at the hours you have available and piece the puzzle together to determine what distance you can realistically train for.  Ask yourself how much do you want to train vs and how much is realistic to train noting frequency, duration, and intensity will change through the training year. A sprint distance training plan can range from a 2-6 hours /week vs an Ironman Training plan ranges from 8-20+ hours per week.


Start with building a habit of consistent training sessions. How many workouts you do each week is dependent on availability and needs of each of the athlete and will change throughout the duration of the training.  Always keep in mind, for longevity in the sport, fit training sessions around your life schedule, vs always fitting your life around your training sessions.

Duration and intensity are dependent on each other. Higher intensity workouts take less time, and lower intensity workouts can take more time. The key is to include both into your plan

Total Volume of Training

The total volume of training is the sum of frequency and duration. If you train 3 days a week for 2 hours then total volume is 6 hours and is the same as if you trained 1 hour, 6 days a week.

Generally, a beginner athlete trains 3-8 hours/week, an intermediate athlete trains  6-12hours/week and advance athlete 10-20 hours/week.

How is the Volume Split between Sports

Weekly volume is split about 15-20% in the pool, 50-55% on the bike and 20-35% own the run.  An athlete that can commit to 10 hours a week of training time would spend 1.2-2 hours in the pool, 5-5.5 hours on the bike and 2-3.5 hours running. Often adjusting these percentages to spend a little more time on your weaker areas. The proper progression with regards to volume and intensity into your program is to incorporate  10-20% every 1-2 weeks with every 3-4 week a schedule lower volume week.

Workout Composition

Every workout will consist of a warm-up (WU), main set (MS) and cool down (CD). Intensity will be based on heart rate on a zone 1-5 scale, and/or rate of perceived effort (RPE), and or pace or power determined but your baseline fitness tests


Warming up is generally 10-20 minute of easy, zone 1-2, RPE 1-3, effort easy allowing your muscles and joints to loosen up and be ready for the main work set. A variety of drills should be performed in every warm-up. Slowly build the intensity of the warm-up in order to prepare your body for the main set. The main set will have a specific purpose and composed of intervals of varying length and intensity. The cooldown allows one’s body to gradually recover from the main set, and allow your heart rate to decrease before you move on with your activities of daily living.

Ultimately,  performance success is not just about the details of frequency, volume, and intensity.  Training consistency, a nutrition plan that works for each athlete, a positive mindset, attitude and getting enough sleep are key to performance success. All the things that you control.

Check out t2coaching Training Plans options for your next half marathon, marathon or triathlon.

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