This free Olympic triathlon training plan is meant for intermediate triathletes who have some prior experience with triathlon training.

Ideally, you already have a solid training base and feel comfortable training five to six times per week.

These eight weeks serve as your specific Olympic distance triathlon preparation, with the last day being race day. As you progress through the plan, the volume and intensity of all three disciplines will increase.

All weeks consist of six different training sessions except for the last week, which is meant for recovery. The volume of your training will peak at about six to seven hours per week (in weeks four to seven).

If you follow the workouts laid out in this plan, you will get to the starting line feeling prepared and confident.

Are you new to triathlons? Try our free training program for sprint triathletes!

Working out on an indoor bike for triathlon training

Intensity Level of Your Workouts

Two key elements of optimal Olympic distance training are consistency and adherence to the correct intensity levels.

Your sessions will be completed in one of five different intensity levels, ranging from very light to very hard.

To keep this training plan accessible to the average triathlete, these physical intensity levels are based upon two of the most popular measuring methods.

It is up to you to decide your preferred method, depending on if you have a heart rate monitor available or not:

Method 1. WITH heart rate monitor

Your five intensity levels will be based upon a percentage of your max heart rate (% of MHR). To establish your MHR, do not use the 220 minus your age method, as this is likely to be inaccurate. You can get a better estimate by doing a flat out 800-meter run; your heart rate at the end of this sprint will be your MHR.

Method 2. WITHOUT heart rate monitor

Your intensity level is based upon the modified Borg Scale, which uses your Rated Perceived Exertion (RPE). This scale is recognized as a relatively accurate estimate of your actual heart rate during physical activity.

This table – comparing both methods side-by-side – will serve as your reference for the different sessions in this plan:

The horizontal red line represents your anaerobic and lactate threshold, which is the point where your body turns on its anaerobic system.

When you cross this line, you start building up lactate in your muscles. Lactate, when it builds up to high levels, is the chemical responsible for “muscle burn” and post-training soreness.

By training at the intensities above and below the threshold line, you will become a complete, well- rounded athlete. For an Olympic distance triathlon, you will need to train the full range of all your systems.

Reduce the 'muscle burn' through breathing training

When you begin training for triathlon races, you training focus should be on your entire body system - not just the primary muscle groups. Your lung will supply you with oxygen for energy production. To avoid risking muscle fatigue, you should therefore take a closer look on how optimizing your breathing technique.

Today athletes and sports exercisers use a range of technology that helps them keep track of there progress. To help you practise the correct breathing exercises, try the smart breathing trainer from Airofit. Connected to your smartphone the breathing trainer allows you to track you progress through programs taylored to your needs.  

Sessions ranging from very easy to moderate are meant to improve your aerobic system, whereas hard, and tough training sessions will train your anaerobic system:

  • Aerobic system training: These slower workouts will make your body highly efficient at fat burning and broaden your base endurance.
  • Anaerobic system training: These faster thresholds and interval workouts will improve your body’s ability to process lactate, which allows you to go harder, longer.

Now that you have a better understanding of the importance of completing sessions within specific intensity levels let’s get focused and start working hard to race your best Olympic triathlon!

Table on the different workout programs before triathlon race