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Explore sample sprint-distance triathlon plans

This is an excerpt from Train to Tri: Your First Triathlon by USA Triathlon.

We offer sample 8-week sprint-distance triathlon plans for bronze-level, silver-level, and gold-level athletes. The training plans include the swim, bike, run, and strength-training workouts as well as any rest or recovery days. We work with a 7-day week cycle and place the workouts within those weeks on the ideal day for you to complete them. For example, we space out the run workouts on alternating days so that you aren’t running 3 days in a row. We realize, however, that you may need to rearrange these workouts to meet your scheduling needs. We have put in a few optional strength-training workouts for you to use if you have extra time or happen to find yourself at home unable to get in a swim, bike, or run workout. That way, you can always do functional strength training to get in a workout on that day.

Note that the following workouts are written using a type of shorthand. The more you swim, the more accustomed you will become to interpreting it. For example, 3 x 100 FR @ 2:40 is read "3 by 100 free on the 2:40." This means that you do three repetitions of 100 yards (m) in which each 100-yard swim, along with a small bit of rest, should occur within 2 minutes and 40 seconds. Should you not be able to swim the 100 yards and have at least 10 seconds of rest inside the 2:40, feel free to stretch out these times a bit further. Each interval is designed to have a bit of rest. Also, when the table reads "3 times" that means to repeat what is below it that number of times. A key of the shorthand can be found on the part III opener. There are three drills that appear in these tables that are not described in the chapters of this book. The descriptions for those drills are below.

Catch-up drill: This drill focuses on timing. As one hand enters the water and extends forward, it remains in this position until the opposite hand enters and touches the original hand. At that moment the original hand begins a catch, pull, recovery and entry then touching the opposite hand signaling its turn to catch, pull, exit, recovery and enter again. Using a swim aid such as a kick board can help with the hand switching. The kick board will remain in front of you while you essentially pass it back and forth between lead hands. The use of fins or a pull buoy during this drill can help with extra buoyancy.

Single-arm drill: This drill allows you to focus on one side of the body at a time. Begin with extending your nonbreathing-side hand straight forward, then execute a normal swim stroke and breathing pattern with the single arm. For example if you are breathing on your right side, your left hand is stretched out and does not move as your right hand executes a normal swim stroke cycle. Switch hands and breathing sides every length. The use of fins or a pull buoy during this drill can help with extra buoyancy.

Triple switch drill: This drill is similar to the single-arm drill, where you will make three swim stroke cycles with your right hand, take three normal two-handed swim stroke cycles, then three swim stroke cycles with only your left hand while your right hand is stretched out forward, back to three, two-handed normal swim stroke cycles, then three single-arm stroke cycles with your right hand only. Repeat this pattern for the entire swim length.

Learn more about Train to Tri.

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Train to Tri

Train to Tri

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