Jan Triathlon Training Plan Image

Use this focused, time-efficient New Year triathlon training plan to stay fit without eating into festive family time.

December and January are traditionally months when it is very hard to live like a triathlete. Although many of us have time off work, it can be a frantic family time and combined with irregular pool and gym opening hours, short days and poor weather, it’s very hard to stay motivated into the New Year.

The purpose of this training plan, adapted from a sprint-distance triathlon programme, is to give your training focus over the coming weeks. Although many of the sessions are tailored towards building speed, the main aim is to stave off the mid-off-season blues by injecting a bit of pace to your workouts.

As long as you’ve maintained a level of fitness since the end of the summer you shouldn’t have any trouble completing them – and if you’re struggling you can just turn down the intensity since the idea is to work as hard as you’d like to.

There are three key sessions per week, during which you’ll be instructed to either run, swim or bike hard for short bursts. These are the ones that’ll make you fast. There are also some easier sessions, when you train at lower speeds but with good technique.

It’s important to make a distinction between the two types of sessions, so you recover on the easy days and attack the hard ones. If keeping your body fat down over the festive period is a priority, then don’t worry about the kind of workouts you’re doing – the most important thing is that you keep training regularly.

Beyond the six weeks, you can build on this plan gradually towards your first sprint or Olympic-distance race of the 2015 season. Just make sure you follow the same pattern, taking an easier week every fourth week to allow your body to adapt, and build up the duration and intensity of workouts in small increments to avoid injury.

Swap the workouts around if it helps you fit them in. The important thing is that you allow yourself adequate time to recover. If you feel excessively tired, take two days off initially.

For simplicity’s sake the swims are given as Main Set only. In addition you should incorporate a warm up and warm down – a few hundred metres of front crawl, drills, backstroke and kicking. And for warm downs, do at least five minutes of gentle swimming in any stroke you like.

Is this New Year triathlon training plan for you?

Goal: Stay fit and motivated with minimum time commitment

Timescale: 6 weeks

Start point: Cycle 90mins, Run 40mins, Swim 400m non-stop

Level: Intermediate

Training Zones Guide

Zone Description Heart Rate (% max) RPE 1-10 Accumulated Intensity
Z1 Recovery 55-70 less than 2 1-6 hours Easy
Z2 Endurance 70-75 2-3 1-3 hours Steady
Z3 Tempo 75-80 3-4 50-90 mins Comfortable
Z4 Threshold 80-88 4-6 10-60 mins Uncomfortable
Z5 VO2 Max 80-88 more than 7 12-30 mins Hard to very hard


WU Warm up, MAIN Main set, WD Warm down, FC Front crawl, PULL Front crawl with a pull-buoy float between your thighs, KICK Kick with a float held out in front, SECS seconds, Z1 Training Zone 1, Z2 Training Zone 2 Z3Training Zone 3, Z4 Training Zone 4, Z5 Training Zone 5, DRILL Your preference of swim technique, BUILD Do each rep slightly faster than the previous, BACK Backstroke, BREAST Breaststroke.

Download Stay Lean and Fast Till the New Year Triathlon Training Plan.

Photo James Lampard