There are six tri-specific workouts below from Ryan Bolton—three runs, three swims—that are mostly targeted at athletes racing 70.3 and Ironman, but could work for those preparing for sprint or Olympic-distance racing too. If you’re looking for cycling workouts, check out this Three Rides to Polarize Your Training article. Note that Bolton uses a 5-zone training zone system in his workout prescription.
RUN 1: The out-of-transition long run
This is a long run with a spicy one-mile 70.3 race-pace effort early on—and again towards the end.
- 1 mile warm-up
- Then run 1 mile at 70.3 race pace
- Go directly into 10 miles at 30 sec. per mile slower than 70.3 race pace
- Then speed up and run 1 mile at 70.3 race pace
- Cool down with 4 miles aerobic run in zone 2
RUN 2: The mid-week tempo
This 75-minute pyramid tempo workout builds in 15-minute increments and is best done mid-week.
- 15 min. warm-up in zones 1 and 2
- 15 min. in zone 3, steady (nearing 70.3 race pace)
- 15 min. in zone 4 (faster than 70.3 race pace)
- 15 min. in zone 3 (nearing 70.3 race pace again)
- 15 min. in zones 1 and 2
RUN 3: The recovery run
Ensure all the higher-intensity work can be absorbed with this aerobic recovery run that includes some short strides at the end.
- 30 min. aerobic run in zones 1 and 2, aerobic and in control
- Then run 8 x 20-30-sec. strides at near max-mile pace, taking approx. 60 sec. recovery between each stride. Be sure to let heart rate come down between each stride—this is important. Focus on perfect form!
- 5 min. cooldown in zone 1
Swim 1: Long, aerobic endurance
This is a 5,600-yard swim focused on building endurance.
- 600 choice
Main set: 8 x 500 (all with 30 sec. rest) as:
- 1-2: 100 drill/100 kick (with fins)
- 3-4: aerobic with perfect technique
- 5: breathing every 5 (hypoxic breathing)
- 6: breathing every 7 (hypoxic breathing)
- 7: 100 aerobic/25 at threshold pace
- 8: 75 aerobic/50 at threshold pace
Rest 2 min.
- 16 x 50 pull with buoy, band and paddles (on 15 sec. rest)
- 200 choice
Swim 2: The triathlon-specific swim
This is a 4,200-yard swim with a variety of intensity.
- 200 swim (30 sec. rest)
- 100 kick (30 sec. rest)
- 200 pull (30 sec. rest)
- 100 kick (30 sec. rest)
- 8 x 50 drill or stroke (no free) (20 sec. rest)
Swim 3 rounds of:
- 200 fast (10 sec. rest)
- 300 swim steady (15 sec. rest)
- 400 pull (60 sec. rest)
- 6 x 50 fast (30 sec. rest)
- 200 easy
Swim 3: Recovery and technique
This is a 2,000-yard including drills and neuromuscular work.
- 800 choice
- 10 x 50 drills for your technique limiters (20 sec. rest)
- 60 sec. rest
- 8 x 25 fast form, 90% of max. effort (on 45 sec. rest)
- 500 easy cool down