Free 6-week Olympic-distance training plan

Racing an Olympic distance soon but short on training hours? Then follow our six-week plan for the time-crunched athlete


Many of us would love to live the life of a pro athlete. You can picture it now – train, eat, sleep, repeat. It’s actually a lot harder than that, of course, but it still sounds appealing.


For everybody else, we need to fit our training around busy modern lives, which usually includes a home life, work life and a social life, and so often something has to give. When you realise that you’re not paid to train and your family come first, then often you need to sacrifice the amount of training you do.

This shouldn’t mean giving up and stopping challenging yourself – there’s always a way to achieve your goals – but you need to be well structured and strict with your training time.

This six-week plan to get time-crunched athletes to the start, and ultimately finish, of an Olympic triathlon is suitable for those who only have 1hr to train each week day and have a little more available time on the weekend.

In order to be successful as an athlete limited on time you must be very good at time management, be able to divide up your day and treat training sessions like appointments that can’t be missed.

Due to the fact that training can’t last too long during the week, it’s crucial to focus more on the intensity of the sessions, making them more vigorous and challenging.

Racing Olympic triathlon requires you to absorb fairly high levels of effort, so the inclusion of interval and tempo sessions during the week will help get you used to that feeling of discomfort, while keeping the weekend for that one longer endurance session helps to keep the balance between covering the distance and doing it to the best of your ability.

This training plan is varied but well balanced between the amount of swim, bike and run necessary. If there was a key session not to miss in the week it would be the multi-brick, which gets you race ready, simulates that feeling of being at your upper limit and running off the bike in order to gauge your best pace.

Always include a warm-up and cool-down to each session. Warm-up = 5-8mins of gradually building intensity from easy to vigorous. Cool-down = 3-5mins of easy cardio followed by stretches

Dermott’s 4 tips for Olympic distance

1. Structure is key

Time is precious, so make sure you structure the sessions into your day like an appointment. If possible, get up early and get them done before life gets in the way.

2. Fuel on the fly

Practise drinking and taking on energy products on the move. You don’t want to waste time by stopping to refuel. Experiment to find your best form of nutrition.

3. Swim with others

Prepare for the physical nature of the open-water swim by practising with others. Get used to swimming very close to people. Try not to let it unsettle you. Be strong!

4. Don’t forget the brick

Focus on improving how you transition from bike to run. Figure out your best run speed for the first 1km so that you remain consistent. Multi-bricks are really useful for this.