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 9

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



Cold Weather Running

On a calm winter day, our bodies insulate us somewhat from the outside temperature by warming up a thin layer of air close to our skin, known as the boundary layer. When the wind blows, it takes this protective layer away – exposing our skin to the outside air. It takes energy for our body to warm up a new layer, and if the boundary layer keeps getting blown away, our skin temperature will drop, and we will feel colder.


Wind also makes you feel colder by evaporating any moisture on your skin – a process that draws more heat away from your body. Studies show that when your skin is wet (with sweat, for example) it loses heat much faster than when it’s dry. Wet clothing and footwear that loses its insulating value results in heat loss nearly equal to that of exposed skin. Check the wind chill before you go out for your run, even moderate wind chill values can be dangerous if you are out for long periods. And remember your layers!


Sixteen cold weather training tips:

  • Adjust the intensity of your workout. You may have to decide on a time rather than distance.
  • 50% of the body’s heat is lost through the head. Wear a toque.
  • Warm up properly and start at a slower pace.
  • Shorten your stride to improve your footing on icy roads. Think about adding some traction devices to your shoes.
  • Carry your phone or change for a payphone. Think about carrying cab fare also.
  • Run into the wind and coast home with it at your back.
  • Run with a group if possible. If you run by yourself, find a route that allows you to cut your run short and where help is readily available.
  • Tell someone where you are going. Give them your route and estimate how long you will be out.
  • Don’t run lonely trails by yourself. If you slip or fall, a twisted ankle or broken bone could leave you helpless.
  • In very cold temperatures, cover all exposed skin with clothing or petroleum jelly for protection.
  • Run facing oncoming traffic and wear your reflective gear.
  • Chapstick your nose, lips and ears. Mittens are warmer than gloves.
  • Men should wear a wind brief to protect for future generations.
  • Keep your speed workouts for indoors or dry roads.
  • Seek a warm dry place if you suspect hypothermia. Hypothermia is caused by a sudden drop in the body’s core temperature. It can be very dangerous! Signs are incoherent, slurred speech, clumsy fingers and other signs of poor coordination. Wet, windy days are often when difficulty is experienced.
  • So far, no one has had frozen lungs in subzero weather. The air is warmed by the body before it enters the body. If you find breathing cold air uncomfortable, wear a face mask to help warm the air. Or stay inside and find a treadmill.


The mental discipline that is often needed to get one foot out the door when it’s cold is exactly what comes in handy during the later stages of a marathon or long distance triathlon.


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


See more about: , , ,
Breaking Muscle Newsletter

Breaking Muscle Newsletter

Get updates and special offers delivered directly to your inbox.