Triathlon Training 102: Building Elite Endurance

Mischele Stevens


Barrie, Canada

Triathlon, Endurance Sports


EDITOR'S NOTE: Mischele Stevens has been helping beginners fulfill their dream of completing a triathlon for the past decade. A former ironman athlete, Mischele has coached athletes to the World Championship level at both the 70.3 and full Ironman distance. In addition to her work with elite athletes, Mischele also coaches in a community-based program that helps hundreds of people of all levels complete triathlons each year. 


This programming has been designed for the beginner to train for a sprint distance triathlon, but anyone can use it.


There will be workouts you will be asked to record your time or distance on. Do it! Recording your training sessions allows you to confirm that you are progressing. All workouts are expected to be done with a hard/fast effort unless stated otherwise. This means you will not enjoy it and will wish desperately for it to be over. This is how we get fitter and faster. Plus, if you are in a time crunch you can get a workout in without taking away from life.


You will plug the training week into your life and complete each workout according to your schedule. This allows you to swim when you can get to the pool or bike when you have more time, not because I said you have to do it on a certain day.


Please do not do the same sport two days in a row (example: swim on Monday and Tuesday). You can do more than one workout in a day, but need at least three hours between for recovery. There are six workouts in a week. Do not make up any you miss from previous weeks. You must take one whole day off in a week to rest and recover.


Workouts for Week 4

Triathlon Training 102: Building Elite Endurance - Workouts, triathlons, Elite Programming, Elite Workout Programs, Workout Triathlon Cycle 4


The Small Things Make a Difference in your Training

At the risk of sounding like those commercials that promise you can lose a bunch of weight while still eating anything and everything, I’m going to let you in on how to get faster by doing nothing. Well, not exactly nothing, but you won’t have to raise your heart rate, put out 300 watts, or really even break a sweat. What I’m getting at is that there are several ways to become a faster triathlete while sitting at home.


First, you can easily stretch while watching your favorite nightly programming. Just sprawl out on the floor and work those tight spots out. You can easily incorporate a good routine that fits within the usual 30 minute TV show. While you’re at it, why not take it to the next level and incorporate some self body-work. Use devices such as The Stick, or the T.P. Massage Kit to really break up trigger points or lengthen your IT band.




Take the minimal effort to drive yourself to your local massage therapist, chiropractor, physical therapist, acupuncturist, the list is endless, and get some professional bodywork. We spend so much time beating up our bodies. We need to replenish and rejuvenate as well. When your body is functioning correctly you will be able to get the most from your training.


Third, track your progress and look over your program. Hopefully you are using some form of tracking, either a web based program like TrainingPeaks, or the simple pen and paper method. Either way, by logging your workouts, you are able to look back on what was effective and what didn’t work. Look for trends in your training. When did you have good workouts? Can you pinpoint anything specific about the lead in to that workout or period?


On the subject of tracking your training, try tracking your recovery. For one week take note of the time you spend stretching, doing yoga or your hour massage. We all know that recovery is the key to strong training and faster racing, so why not track it like we do our weekly yardage or hours?


Some athletes track their nutrition. Once a month note what you eat every day for one week. There are some computer programs that allow you to compare your calories expended with your calories taken in, so you can see if you are in a calorie deficit, or surplus. This is useful if you are trying to determine your optimum training or racing weight.


Finally, and the ultimate in terms of ease of use and price, SLEEP! Take your sleep patterns seriously. If you regularly get less than 7 hours of sleep per night, try getting 8 for one week and see the difference. Once you experience the extra energy, you won’t be so tempted to watch David Letterman.


So, with very little effort you can take your training to a new level. The key is to just get started and incorporate these modalities into your daily routine. Try any one of the suggestions above and see the results for yourse


Click on the number below that corresponds to the week of training you're in.


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