Working with a Triathlon Coach

Since I committed to stepping up to a half-iron distance, I knew I needed some guidance with my training. I swim and cycle with my tri club, but outside of these sessions I don’t have a great deal of structure to my training. I’m motivated to train alone, but sometimes I’m unsure if the duration, intensity and frequency are right for the goals I’m working towards. 

There are a ton of training plans available online and in magazines, but these are quite generic and I wanted something tailored to my lifestyle, abilities and strengths. I wanted a coach who I could meet with on a regular basis, so Jon Brown who teaches my tri club swim session seemed the ideal choice. We discussed my work schedule, previous racing history, injuries and current training, so he could set up a plan leading towards my goal race. 

Jon inputs my schedule into Training Tilt every weekend, so I can see what is coming for the next 7 days. Everything is laid out for me- I just have to get on with the session and give as much feedback as possible. This really takes the guesswork out of structuring my week as I just follow the plan. Jon can then leave me feedback and structure my training according to how I am progressing. I have switched around a few of the days, but I’ve still been able to complete each of the sessions.  

Training Tilt

I’m still easing back into running after my injury, so the distances have only been short with some run/walk sessions. Jon has liaised with my physio to make sure I’m not doing too much too soon. I’ve running the Southampton Half Marathon as my ‘B’ race in just under 3 months, so we are conscious of starting to build up towards that goal. He has warned me that when I am ready for it, there will be a day containing 3 separate runs adding up to around 13 miles! I’m slightly dreading that! 

We’ve had to work with the equipment I’ve had available. For the first few weeks, I used an exercise bike in the gym until I got my turbo-trainer at home. It wasn’t particularly comfortable using a basic exercise bike, but I got the sessions done! There are more ‘brick sessions’ than I would have typically been doing without a coach, so these have been great for practicing the transition from bike to run. 

Here’s how my training has looked for the first month:

Week 1
Monday: 70 minute bike intervals
Tuesday: 45 minute swim intervals
Wednesday: 45 minute spin class
Thursday: 90 minute double brick session on exercise bike/treadmill
Friday: 48 minute (2km) continuous swim
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: 24 minute (2.5 mile) run

Week 2
Monday: 66 minute bike intervals, then 5 minute run
Tuesday: Swim analysis with Swim for Tri (more on this later)
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: 45 minute spin class, then 5 minute run
Friday: 70 minute brick session on bike/rowing machine
Saturday: 60 minute tri club swim
Sunday: 60 minute turbo trainer session

Week 3
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 45 minute spin class, then 37 minute swim pyramid intervals
Wednesday: 16 minute run/walk/run/walk
Thursday: 60 minute turbo trainer session, then 5 minute run
Friday: 48 minute turbo trainer session
Saturday: 29 minute (5km) parkrun, then 62 minute swim intervals
Sunday: 157 minute tri club bike ride

Week 4- Easy Week
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 46 minute (2km) continuous swim
Wednesday: 30 minute run/walk/run/walk
Thursday: Should have been rest day, but I did 45 minute spin class
Friday: 60 minute turbo trainer session
Saturday: 60 minute tri club swim
Sunday: 30 minute easy run

I’ve also completed my physio exercises 2-3 times a week in addition to this. Every fourth week is slightly easier, so the sessions are shorter with an extra rest day. I have to do spin classes as part of my job, so these have been incorporated into the training plan. I’m also still able to train with my club on weekends, which has been important as I benefit from the group sessions.

So far, I’m really enjoying the training- I feel confident that I’ll get to race day feeling prepared and strong enough to complete the 70.3 miles.  

Check out more details on Jon’s coaching plans here.

Have you ever worked with a triathlon coach? 

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