Setting up a training plan for a triathlon on your own is not easy. For a beginner or competitive triathletes it can be confusing to figure out what training plan is right for your ability and goals. Heck, even professionals have coaches to help them establish a training plan! There is always the option to hire a coach, but that involves throwing more cash at an already expensive hobby. A Google search for help can bring up hundreds of thousands of plans each one more different than the next, and none customized to you. Creating your own basic training plan does not need to be complicated. What I call the 2x method is a super simple and easily customizable method for creating a triathlon training plan that will work with your schedule, goals, strengths, and weaknesses.
The 2x method is based on scheduling 2 workouts each week for each of the 3 disciplines in a triathlon plus the all important strength training. You swim, bike, run, and strength train 2x each for a total of 8 workouts each week. What makes this method so great is that you can adjust it for any ability or race distance. It does not matter how long or hard each workout is. If you are hitting all 8 workouts each week you have a well rounded triathlon training plan!
Most people have a life outside of triathlons with work, family, and well life! Having a flexible training plan is essential! This is why I love using the 2x method. I can move workouts around the week to fit my ever changing schedule. As long as I fit in my 8 workouts a week I never feel like I have to miss a workout when life happens! I also like that the 2x method is not a set plan. Most of the training plans you can find online are for a set number of weeks. These can be great but they assume that once you finish the training plan and complete your race you are done. However, this is not the case for most triathletes, many people do multiple events a year and also continue training in the off season. This is another area where the of the flexibility of the 2x method is so beneficial to be able to customize it to your race schedule and off season goals. The 2x method is not just a training plan but a training way of life!
We are better at tailoring a training plan to our own ability than anyone else. They key to this plan is to listen to your body and to be honest with yourself as to what a good workout looks like for you. Below are a few basic examples of a 2x method training week.
Note: The example workouts below are targeted toward sprint or olympic distance triathletes.
Sample Basic 2x Method:
|Run||5mi Track (200, 400, 800, 1600, 800, 400, 200 at goal pace + 800 warm up/cool down)||4mi tempo (2x fast miles)|
In this example week 1 has a greater emphasis on running where week 2 has a greater emphasis on cycling.
|Bike||20mi (10mi Fast w/in 1-2 mph of goal avg speed)||35+mi Steady + Hills|
|Run||5-6mi Steady||3-4mi Steady|
Using the 2x method as a Base Plan
The 2x training plan is a well rounded base plan for any triathlete. The 8 workouts a week can easily be built upon to create a more robust training plan for those who want to be more competitive. You can add workouts in an area where you need to improve, add brick workouts, or adjust workouts to apply to base, build, and taper training periods.
A great addition to the 2x base plan are brick workouts. As I mentioned in my article 4 Types of Brick Workouts to Mix Up your Triathlon Training, it is important for competitive triathletes to get in at least one brick workout a week. Brick training is the best way to train your body to respond quickly to changes in activity and improve your ability to run off the bike, or bike off the swim. Adding a brick workout to your 2x base plan is a great way to step up your training.
Another great advantage about the 2x plan is that it can be used all year round! Adjusting the intensity of workouts can help you apply your training plan to the off season. The 3 sample weeks in this article are more focused on the build period of training. As you may have noticed I have included several interval workouts in each week. It is important to incorporate speed work, or intervals, in a training plan especially for sprint and olympic triathletes. During taper weeks include only short interval workouts and eliminate all strength training. In the off season focus on your base strength and endurance by swapping out some interval workouts for long steady distance workouts and increased strength training.
Sample Week Using 2x Method as Base Plan:
|Swim||2,500 – 3,000 yds||2,500 – 3,000 yds||REST|
|Bike||BRICK||15-25mi Steady||25+mi w/ Intervals|
|Run||6-8mi Steady||3-4mi Intervals/Track||4-6mi Tempo|
What are your thoughts on the 2x method? Have you created your own training plan using this or other methods?
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