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Training for olympic distance triathlon

Triathlon 3

Image credit: CBK/SportSG

Olympic distance triathlons, or standard triathlons, are usually undertaken by athletes with some experience in sprint triathlons, or have competed in one or more of the relevant sports at a high level. Such a race comprises 1.5 kilometres of swimming, 36 kilometres of cycling, and 10 kilometres of running - twice that of a sprint triathlon.

Athletes who already possess robust fitness levels may follow this easy six-week training plan, which incorporates one rest day per week. Not only will it help to prepare your body for the physical strain that it will be subjected to during the race, it will also help to improve muscle strength and stamina. This schedule is based on the presumption that the race falls on a Sunday. However, if this isn’t the case, simply alter the cycle accordingly.

Mondays

Swim 900 metres, or 18 laps in an Olympic-sized, 50-metre pool. Increase this total distance by 200 metres (four laps) each week till the final week of the race, when you drop your distance to 900 metres again. Learn to adapt to competition conditions by swimming in open water during the third and fifth week.

Tuesdays

Cycle 18 kilometres in the first week, and increase this distance subsequently by two kilometres each week. As with swimming, return to your 18-kilometre route during the week of your race. Add a run to your cycling session from the third week on; run 10 minutes, and increase this by five minutes each week, before going back to 10 minutes in the final week. This combination-training will improve your stamina and help your body to get used to engaging a variety of different muscles over a relatively short period of time.

Wednesdays

Repeat Monday’s swimming schedule, but train in open water during the second and fourth week instead. Most triathletes dedicate the most time to swim training, because it is held in open water, so
you will have to deal with currents, natural elements, and a lot of unfortunate jostling.

Thursdays

Run three kilometres, consistently adding two kilometres each week. Maintain this distance when you hit nine kilometres in the fourth week. In the sixth week, just before the race, do an easy run of only one kilometre. Run on non-level terrain in weeks three and five in order to get used to various surfaces.

Fridays

You’ve earned your well-deserved rest day! Take the fifth day of your training schedule off to relax and allow your muscles to recover.

Saturdays

Do combination workouts again on Saturdays. Swim 900 metres - do not increase this distance - and cycle 18 kilometres on Saturdays. Increase your cycling distance by two kilometres each week, before dropping back to 18 again during the week of the race. Vary your cycling terrain in the second and fourth week to get a better feel of different conditions.

Sundays

Going about in a relaxed manner, run six kilometres at an easy pace for the first two weeks. Add another two kilometres, bringing the total distance to eight kilometres for the subsequent two weeks, before running the full 10 kilometres in the fifth week. Having followed this schedule, you should certainly be adequately prepared for your race on the sixth Sunday!

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