Triathlon training plans: New Year

Get ready for the forthcoming race season with our 12-week training plans for sprint, Olympic, middle and long-distance racers

Joe Beer's new year training plans

Moving into the new year must be about patient progress, not sudden speed sessions. Joe Beer has tips and tricks to build you towards springtime


The festive season is the period when most of you, hopefully, have a bit more free time on your hands. But this doesn’t mean you have to overload yourself with mid-winter mileage and a bounty of sessions many times more than normal.

Once the calendar flips over to reveal the new year, athletes suddenly get anxious that they’re in the same year as their goal events – and hard speed work or just bonkers training ensues. Grand new year resolutions can also get out of hand, resulting in doing far too much, too suddenly and too hard. Basically, it’s muppetry to do too much at this stage.

Train smart

One of the biggest drawbacks of training at this time of year is the risk of picking up illness. If, and when, it comes, you should adhere to the following rules: ease up, cutting, at the very least, 50% from volume and frequency; use warm-ups to assess how unwell you are and bail if it’s bad; and cancel any immediate races and lay low from hard group sessions.

Those who carry on with their Ironman volume or high-intensity group track runs learn the hard way. Good triathletes aren’t those that try to beat illness or the winter, rather they are the ones who work in synergy with these and many other constraints in their lives. Now is the time to be consistent, keeping skill and strength as key foci, and building volume once we get through January.

Click the links to download these 12-week plans…

Sprint distance (4-5hrs/week)

Olympic distance (6-8hrs/week)

Middle distance (9-10hrs/week)

Long distance (10hrs+/week)

… don’t forget, you can find lots more free triathlon training plans on the 220 Triathlon website, including sprint distanceOlympicIronman and more.

Jargon buster

Arm carriage The often individual movement pattern of the arms during running, ideally as a relaxed synergy with the legs.
Hypoxic Training with reduced frequency of breathing to make best use of oxygen available. In the pool, it allows concentration on stroke.
RI The rest interval between a swim set (inactive) and bike or run effort (often active low-level recovery).


Joe Beer is the author of the training manual, ‘Need to Know Triathlon’, who spends his time coaching triathletes of all levels, from beginners to pros.