SWIM – Triathlon Session

I’m lucky enough to live on a freshwater lake on the Gold Coast. So swim training is as easy as walking out the backyard. Nothing beats triathlon race specific preparation.

It’s a bonus for triathletes to be able to include open water training. My favourite race specific session I like to incorporate into my open-water training is based around a triangle course. Ideally with buoys for turn practice, or at least sighting and changing of direction.

Swim Warm up

Approximately 2 km including some fartlek changes in pace through the second half to really warm up. Obviously, you should adjust this session to your regular swim session distances and fitness – But for me it goes like this, from the shallow water;

  • 25 strokes fast / swim back easy
  • 20 strokes fast / swim back easy
  • 15 strokes fast / swim back easy

Swim Main Set

Three repeats of the triangle course.

  • Approximately 100 – 150 m best pace (like racing the field to the first buoy)
  • Approximately 300 to four hundred meters settle in race pace
  • Approximately 100 or hundred 250m easy back to start point
  • 60 secs recovery and reset to start again

Courtney Atkinson, Burleigh Heads, Qld, AUSTRALIA

BIKE – Indoor Triathlon Session

I’m a big fan of riding indoors for ‘bang for your buck’ in relation to time. I use it on weekends when I’m busy with family life and the kids. For most is more likely useful during the week when work and family places a lot of premium on time.

This is a mash-up session that works on both anaerobic and aerobic components completed in under an hour. I use a fan based ergo for my indoor training, which offers more of a strength component than road feel; but any wind training device or airport gym with ergo does the job.

Bike Warm up

10 mins as:

  • 3 mins spinning easy
  • 3 mins muscle activation – each 1 min decreasing RPM / cadence while building power
  • 1 min spin recovery
  • 3 x 10 secs MAX RPM, with 20 secs rest
  • 1 min spin recovery

Bike Main Set

Three sets of

  • 3 x {45secs @ 400w; 30sec @ 450w; 15sec @ 500+w} with equal spin recovery (adjust power to you fitness level)
  • 3 x 3 mins tempo 80 – 90 rpm with 30 secs spin in between

Courtney Atkinson (2)RUN – Triathlon Session

This is the only set I do around the track. My local is nice, soft grass.

I spent a good stint training as a young fella under Pat Clohessy. Pat guided Aussie great Rob De Castella throughout his career. I’ve use this speed session we did at training ever since. When completed properly the float between fast paced efforts should be still a decent clip – enough to slightly recover but definitely not easy jogging. Above race pace effort with a below race pace effort recovery.

Run Warm up

  • 20 minutes with 4 minutes building pace to reasonable tempo in second half
  • 3 x strides over 100 m or so building to a faster pace each one

Run Main Set

  • On track – 8 x 400 metres with 200 metres float = 4.8km

Run Warm Down

  • 20 minutes easy running

(sometimes when in a bigger block of training I will take two minutes break after the track work out and run a sustained aerobic effort for 10 minutes solid away from the track.)Courtney Atkinson Running on grass

Originally written for 220 Triathlon Magazine Issue 36 


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