The Standard Training Week, Pt. 2


standard-training-week-image-2I began this series about the Standard Training Week with an overview of my thoughts on how and why we need to build a standard week of training. In this newsletter I will go into greater detail on how to build a Standard Training Week for yourself. In this, Part 2, we look at the longer, endurance based sessions, and how to approach them.

To start with, I’d like to provide you with a sample athlete, whom we will call Jill. Here are some basic details about Jill for us to use to get started:

  • Working professional (40-50 hour work week)
  • 36 years old
  • Married with two children
  • Modest athletic background (high school & college sports)
  • Career & family focused after college (no athletic focus, but kept semi-active)
  • 2 years of triathlon experience with decent local results & top 20 finishes in 3x 70.3
  • Goal is to qualify for 70.3 Worlds within next 2 years

Because Jill shares family duties with her husband, she needs to fit her training into one session per day, which can have more than one discipline per session. In this case, if you look back at last week’s examples, the first Standard Training Week I outlined might fit best for Jill.

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

Assuming that this Standard Training Week works for Jill, let’s look at each workout a little closer, and actually assign some goals for each session. Keep in mind that the Standard Training Week is an outline, and conceptually should be the basis for every week, regardless of the phase of training that the athlete might be in at any given time of the year. Because of this, the overall goals have two main rules:

  1. The workout intensity should be by feel. This means that you have to listen to you body. If you are feeling tired, go easy. If you feel good, go for it!
  2. The workout intensity should not jeopardize workouts that follow it. This means that you have to think ahead. If you generally do a long run tomorrow, and feel good today, knowing that the long run will take more energy than a shorter session, it would be wise to not go crazy today, to make sure you can get the most out of the long run session tomorrow.

If you remember from the previous newsletter, I stated that the Standard Training Week should 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. Let’s start with the endurance focused sessions: the Long Swim, Long Bike, and Long Run.

For these Long sessions, the goal is to build or maintain aerobic fitness and establish a duration for the workout which is relative to the duration of the athletes event. In Jill’s case, with a focus on 70.3 events, her Long workouts will look like this:

  • Long Swim: 75 minutes (approximate duration of the event x2.5)
  • Long Bike: 3 hours (approximate duration of the event)
  • Long Run: 2 hours (approximate duration of the event)

These durations are estimates, of course, and could be used for a faster or slower athlete training for the 70.3 distance. For lesser distance events, one could possibly cut these session durations by one-third for Olympic distance and one-half for Sprint distance. Again, estimates.

The intensity for these sessions should be primarily aerobic. This means conversational pace, with occasional short high intensity. I also recommend to keep these sessions unstructured other than the aforementioned parameters.

Note: depending on the athlete’s development and current fitness, these durations may need to be built up to over time. This is okay. For those athletes with enough time, a slow ramp rate over several months is recommended.

In Part 3 of the Standard Training Week I will discuss adding strength and speed, as well as what to do with the rest of your training week.

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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