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Triathlon 21-Week Olympic-Distance Training Program: Week 21

Welcome to week 21 of the 21-week Olympic-distance triathlon training program. It's taper time... Get ready to swim 1.5k, bike 40k, and run 10k!

Triathlon Training Weeks

  1. Week 1
  2. Week 2
  3. Week 3
  4. Week 4
  5. Week 5
  6. Week 6
  7. Week 7
  8. Week 8
  9. Week 9
  10. Week 10
  11. Week 11
  12. Week 12
  13. Week 13
  14. Week 14
  15. Week 15
  16. Week 16
  17. Week 17
  18. Week 18
  19. Week 19
  20. Week 20
  21. Week 21
Important Notes on the Training
Be sure to read the important notes on the triathlon training program at the bottom of this page before you begin training. You should pay particular attention to the heart rate training information.

Week 21, Day 1
Activity Minutes Avg. Heart Rate (Goal AT HR) Avg. Heart Rate (Actual) Distance (Actual)
Swim 1500 meters/yards continuous (300 warm up, then 300 build, then 500 race pace, then 300 cool down) Varies
Week 21, Day 2
Activity Minutes Avg. Heart Rate (Goal AT HR) Avg. Heart Rate (Actual) Distance (Actual)
Rest, organize for the coming race
Week 21, Day 3
Activity Minutes Avg. Heart Rate (Goal AT HR) Avg. Heart Rate (Actual) Distance (Actual)
Bike 45 (warm up for 15 minutes; include 6X15-second pick ups, with 45-seconds recovery; 10 minutes cool down) varies
Run 15 (transition within 5 minutes of bike) Easy
Week 21, Day 4
Activity Minutes Avg. Heart Rate (Goal AT HR) Avg. Heart Rate (Actual) Distance (Actual)
Swim 20 70% or less
Run 20 (with strides) 70% or less
Week 21, Day 5
Activity Minutes Avg. Heart Rate (Goal AT HR) Avg. Heart Rate (Actual) Distance (Actual)
Rest and get your race gear ready
Week 21, Day 6
Activity Minutes Avg. Heart Rate (Goal AT HR) Avg. Heart Rate (Actual) Distance (Actual)
Swim, Bike, Run 15 minutes each sport (easy, stay loose; try to do before 1pm, and then rest and stay off your feet) Easy
Week 21, Day 7 - Race Day!
Activity Minutes Avg. Heart Rate (Goal AT HR) Avg. Heart Rate (Actual) Distance (Actual)
Warm up before race Run, Bike, Swim (Start 60 minutes before wave time; run/jog easy 10 minutes; bike easy 15 minutes; get in the water 15 minutes before your wave and swim easy, do some drills, kick, and get the feel of the water; when the race starts, take it out easy, then build into the race... most important, do your personal best and have fun!)

The RealJock triathlon training program is provided by Joey Hinton, aka UStriathlete, a highly accomplished triathlete with 16 years of experience under his belt. Hinton's training program is geared toward beginner to intermediate triathletes doing the Olympic distance event (1.5k swim, 40k bike, 10k run).

Low Intensity Workouts, Heart Rate 60 to 80 percent AT HR
For the first six weeks of the program you should focus on improving your technique. If you have weakness in one or more of the three sports, you may want to consider taking lessons and having yourself videotaped to identify and fix problems with your technique.

For the first week of training, your workout intensity should be low to moderate. Joey recommends you use a heart rate monitor with the goal to train at the intensity at 60 to 80 percent of your anaerobic threshold heart rate (AT HR), also known as your lactate threshold.

The AT HR is the heart rate in exercise where oxygen consumption results in lactic acid production exceeding lactic acid removal, resulting in buildup of lactic acid in the muscles. By tracking your heart rate and staying within the training goals, you will train your body to consume fuel more efficiently while racing and avoid hitting your lactic threshold mid-race.

If you don't know your AT HR, check with your local gym or fitness professional to get an anaerobic threshold test to find your own personal heart rate numbers. Trust us, this is important`51;triathlons are endurance events, so you need to not only strengthen your heart, but also train your body to burn more fat with carbohydrates so that you can go the distance.

Check out these AT HR resources below for a quick education:
  1. Anaerobic Threshold Defined
  2. Calculate Your Training Heart Rate Zones
A Simpler Calculation: Use your Max Aerobic Heart Rate
If you have trouble calculating your AT HR, you can also use a simpler calculation called your Max Aerobic Heart Rate. To calculate this rate, follow the instructions at Mark Allen Online. In this case, instead of using your AT HR, you would use your Max Aerobic Heart Rate for training. The numbers should be about the same. If they're not, use whichever number is lower.

Notes on Strength Training:
The training below includes two days of strength and flexibility training per week. Feel free to do a third day of strength training if you have the time and desire. You should focus on building core strength (top, front, back, sides, and bottom) at every session. See RealJock's Strength Training section for some exercise ideas.

Resources for Improving Your Technique
Hinton recommends the following two DVD resources for improving your technique:
  1. Swimming technique: Karlyn Pipes-Nielsen Freestyle DVD.
  2. Running technique: ChiRunning DVD
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