Going The Distance: Training for Long Distance Triathlons
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Going The Distance: Training for Long Distance Triathlons

Going The Distance: Training for Long Distance Triathlons

Going The Distance: What to Keep In Mind for Long Distance Triathlons

So you have completed a Sprint Triathlon. Now what? Maybe going up to the next distance is your goal or maybe you have looked one or step steps further to a 70.3 or 140.6 distance. Here are some simple training reminders and workout tips you will have you on your way to conquering that longer distance triathlon of your dreams.

First, It’s Supposed To Be Hard. It is important to remember that part of the appeal of racing an olympic or 70.3 event is that it is not exactly easy.  Simply doubling your workouts isn’t going to cut it. In training, have a goal of completing 60-80% of the segment distance before the event.

Second, All About That Pace. With a sprint you could go all out but you will probably not able to keep this same pace in the Olympic or Half distance. Train at a pace that you are comfortable with so that you do not burn out on race day.

Third, Calories Calories Calories. These longer distances are going to require fueling. Test several products before committing, just because something works for your friend or someone at the gym, it doesn’t mean that it is right for you.

Fourth, Nothing New on Race Day. Take this old saying to the next level. Make sure you have tried everything at least 3 times before you arrive race morning. We are talking socks, shoes, hats, sunscreen, sunglasses, nutrition, which water bottle, ev-er-y-thing.

Fifth, Just Keep Swimming. If you have time for an extra workout – choose the pool. Swimming is great aerobics and can lead to gains on the bike and the run. Efficiency in the swim can leave you with more energy instead of being taxed right out of the water. More than hours logged make sure that you are making each workout count.

Sixth, Keep Balance. Make sure to find time for the friends and family. Many of them may not understand but make sure and thank them for being there to support you anyway. Make sure and inform them when, where and how long you are going out for a long run or bike. A safety post on Facebook is a good idea as well and a fun way to let everyone know how your training is going.

Seventh, Don’t Just Double. Training for a longer distance isn’t just about seeing the max amount of hours your can put in. Start thinking of speed training versus endurancetraining. Here is an example of workouts for training for an Olympic, the same idea can be applied for longer distances.

Swim 1: 10- 50meter swim intervals with 20 sec rest

1 set at faster than your last race pace

1 set of swim drill to work on your form


Swim 2: Long sets of 300- 500 meters each. Based on your longest swim add an additional 100 meters each week

Bike 1: 8 x 5 minute intervals with race pace.

Tempo intervals or hill workouts. These are best done based on heart rate zones, so we would suggest investing in a heart rate monitor.

Don’t have a heart rate monitor, just keep the same pace even when going uphill to increase your heart rate.  

Bike 2: Endurance Long Rides. Increase time each week no more than 30 minutes to avoid injury.

Run 1: Similar to the bike with interval and hill runs. 5 x 3 minute intervals with light jogging recovery.  

Run 2: Endurance run. Start with the last distance race you completed. If you did the Rookie this would be 2 miles. Increase by no more than 10% each week.

Other Workouts Tips:

  • Every other week make one of your run workouts follows immediately after your bike workout.
  • Switch it up. Don’t always do the same style work out on the same day.
  • Have Fun and Smile!

These 7 easy steps are your guide to getting to the start line with a high level of confidence that you are ready to be successful. Also, remember that no matter the distance increase it is important to keep your ultimate end goal in mind and then set up milestones that you can meet along the way.

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