Training between triathlons: free 8-week plan

Just how do you balance key training sessions, races, and adequate recovery time? Dermott Hayes has the training plan you need

How to keep your training up, without risking overdoing it, between triathlons. Credit: Getty Images

Being a triathlete usually means a busy race schedule throughout the season. But while racing has its many benefits, it also brings with it the dilemma of working out how to peak for races and how to train in between them. Should you just rest in the interim? Should you stick to the same schedule? Should you taper? Getting it wrong can lead to poor race performances, and worse – injury. So cue our eight-week training plan!


The plan is geared towards Olympic-distance racing and includes two races within the two-month period. The two main factors that need to be considered are training duration and training intensity, and variations in both need to happen when working your schedule around races. By this stage of your season, you should be less concerned with ‘getting the miles in’. Instead, sessions should be up to and only just over race distance.

In the week leading up to a race and the days afterwards, you should reduce session duration by 15-30% to minimise fatigue. More important is keeping an element of high-intensity efforts within sessions, to maintain the sharpness and muscle memory that’s created by hard workouts. You’ll only be able to race hard if you’ve trained hard, so you should maintain shorter and stressful efforts above race pace that continue to develop your physical ability to sustain high-threshold movement. In the two weeks leading up to an Olympic-distance triathlon you must include a number of these high-intensity efforts in the majority of your sessions.

Another key factor in being race ready is to be specific with your training, so there are frequent bike/run brick workouts to ensure you can fine-tune your target race pace and that your legs are ready for the run straight off the bike. The training plan offers both longer, full-distance bike/run workouts with shorter, faster multiple ones – a great chance to practise the transition from bike to run.

Lastly, remember to make your open-water swims productive by sticking to the plan and including a variety of drills and speed work. If you only ever plod around a lake doing the same thing, don’t expect to see any improvement. Stay fresh, stay sharp, race well.

Four tips from Dermott

Respect your body

Listen to your body for signs of fatigue. If you need extra rest to stay fresh, then take it.

Put the effort in

High-intensity sessions with quality hard work will maintain race speed between events.

Do your research

Research your races – see what kind of terrain is involved and train specifically for it. If it’s hilly, you’ve got to train to be ready for them.

Get organised


Organisation is key in tri, so make sure you have all the correct kit ready to execute your sessions. No excuses for being unprepared!