The Standard Training Week

To begin the series, over the next few posts, I’m going to explain my thoughts on how and why we need to build a standard week of training, which I feel should be at the core of what we do all year long. I call this (somewhat unimaginatively) a Standard Training Week.

How I approach this subject is not new at all. Over the past 15 years of coaching triathletes I have adopted ideas from a variety of other coaches and exercise physiologists, as well as experienced first hand how triathletes react to various training stimuli.

So, what is the Standard Training Week? It’s a week of training which an athlete can repeat continuously all year with variations throughout the year that are focused on the what the athlete is attempting to achieve. It consists of, in the case of a triathlete, two key workouts in each discipline: an endurance focused session and a strength or speed focused session. I will dive further into why these two focuses per discipline later in the series. Beyond this, additional workouts focus simply on a form of active recovery.

A Standard Training Week might look something like this:

Monday: Swim
Tuesday: Bike/Run
Wednesday: Long Swim
Thursday: Long Run
Friday: Swim
Saturday: Bike/Run
Sunday: Long Bike

Another example of a Standard Training Week might look more like this for other athletes:

Monday: AM – Swim | PM – Bike
Tuesday: AM – Bike | PM – Run
Wednesday: AM – Swim | PM – Bike
Thursday: AM – Long Run | PM – Swim
Friday: AM – Long Swim | PM – Bike
Saturday: Long Bike/Run
Sunday: Long Bike

Because a main intent of a Standard Training Week is to be able to repeat the week continuously, it should be realistic to achieve every week. You want to be able to do this week-in, week-out. The athlete should feel good about getting the sessions in, making small fitness gains along the way, but never should the training week cause the athlete to become overly fatigued. It’s a basic outline for the week, nothing more.

How would you, the athlete, decide what a Standard Training Week should be? It starts with your goals: In what distance of triathlon do you intend to specialize? Long course or short course or both? How much time can the you reasonably afford — week-in and week-out — without causing undo stress in your life outside of triathlon? How experienced are you with endurance sports? All of these factors are weighed, and from this, one can create what I call the Standard Training Week.

There can be, out of necessity, a lot of variation within a Standard Training Week. In the next installment of this series, I’ll dive into more detail about how this variation works, and even build out an example of a Standard Training Week based on some specifics about an athlete.

In the meantime, I would love to hear from you! Whether you have questions about the Standard Training Week, or anything triathlon related, send them my way. Always feel free to email me directly ( I generally respond to each email individually within a 48 hour period.

Until next time, keep up the training and racing, be safe out there, and above all, have fun!

Coach Lee

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