How to plan more triathlon training into your day

Are you struggling to fit it all in? Careful planning and some firm ground rules are needed to get more training done

(Credit: William Warby)

Are you aiming for new PBs this season but struggling to fit the training into your day? Joe Beer has some solid advice on how to maximise training time and find more time in your days to train…


If you’re a keen triathlete with a family and full-time job then it’s good to remember that you’re not the only one who struggles: time-crunched training is something that requires careful planning, so it’s vital to have some ground rules in place.

First of all, agree on the time you can take out from the family, how you can tweak working practices and what days/family rituals you’ll never miss. Work out the big weekends, plan races that you will do and those times you need to take off completely. You do need a plan, but be flexible and take changes into account. Have 2-4 key sessions per week that you can always fall back on.

To get more from your training you need to ensure that you train in Zone 1 (<80%HRmax) for the majority of sessions. Incorporate just two high-intensity sessions where you work above anaerobic threshold (Zone 3, >86%HRmax). These are probably best done as one bike session per week, and one other session that can alternate between swim and run. Use uphill running efforts to reduce leg stress and 6-10min race-pace-and-above efforts for swimming.

In order to get training done, try these three time-crunched tips that age-group athletes I coach have taught me:

Firstly, get the bigger days (like long weekend rides) organised the night before and well under way by 6am or earlier. The session should be done before the rest of the family are up. Plus, getting up early for race day will already be second nature..

Secondly, use at least one day per week to prepare kit, update your training diary, sort out the week ahead and react to changes in your ideal week, envisioned when you started your plan.

Finally, do whatever sessions are possible, even if it’s a much-diluted version of the perfect one – every bit helps but not every bit of time is enough to do your ‘ideal’ training. You improve by trying to get most things done, not by worrying or beating yourself up about what didn’t get done. It’s not defeatist, it’s being an age-group realist. Many age-groupers actually manage 6-8hrs per week with a few 10hr weeks dotted in.

Your training absorption is down to having enough recovery (three weeks train, one week adaptation), a focus on good diet, and learning how to feed in longer sessions to ensure you can keep optimal speed up the whole distance come race day.


Like this article? Head over to our Training section for more advice!