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How to set up a weekly training schedule for an Ironman triathlon and optimize performance

  10 February 2021

In this third and final part dedicated on optimizing the first three months of an Ironman distance triathlon season, Coach MD Luca Bianchini outlined the guidelines on how to set up a weekly training schedule for in Ironman Triathlon. “In the various books on training methodology – says Coach Bianchini – we talk about training cycles. The practice is to divide these cycles according to the days of the week and the pattern of months and weeks. Monday indicates the start of a training cycle and Sunday marks its end. Based on typical weekly commitments (for example working hours, swimming pool times, etc.) the training program is divided into 7 days. A micro-cycle (normally assimilated to a week of training) is identified as the shortest cycle in which all the conditional skills such as strength, speed and endurance are trained.”

From these initial indications, it is presumed that the minimum number of workouts to be sustained per micro-cycle is 9. “If we also want to include 2 physical training sessionscontinues Coach Bianchiniwhich are useful to prevent injuries and improve performance, we go up to 11 workouts. But sometimes 11 workouts within a week cannot be performed due to time constrains. If this is the case, an alternative can be to perform the so-called combined workouts, at least 1 per cycle, for a total of 12 workouts.”

Various authors insist on using the week as a reference, but no one forbids extending this time to 10 days. Coach Luca Bianchini, therefore, hypothesizes two micro-cycle modes, the first based on 7 days, the second on 10. Here they are in detail:

Training Schedule Ironman | Ironman Triathlon 1

as you can see, a high intensity workout is scheduled every day. Following this type of program for three months (even considering that you can modulate the loads) can lead to functional overload.

Training Schedule Ironman | Ironman Triathlon 2

By extending the cycle to 10 days, however, you can give more room to recovery and aerobic training, an important basis for endurance sports. As mentioned above, this type of schedule is sometimes hard to follow due to the many commitments we all have. The 7 or 10 day schedule needs to be adapted according to the competition date (which is necessarily held on Saturday or Sunday), therefore, Coach and athlete need to work together to find the right balance between all factors.

Assuming there is a race Sunday, the week can be adapted as follows:

Training Schedule Ironman | Ironman Triathlon 3

In the case of a race on the 7th day of training, the schedule will be as follows:

Training Schedule Ironman | Ironman Triathlon 4

In the case of a race on the 10th day of training, the schedule will be as follows:

Training Schedule Ironman | Ironman Triathlon 5

“The use of the JARVIS training system in triathlonconcludes Coach Luca Bianchiniallows you to perform specific training for each distance. There are different steps, from the analysis of the performance model to the planning of training. The continuous feedback between athlete and coach represents the ideal combination to optimize performance. And the collaboration between the MD Coach, the triathlon coach and the athlete is the optimal solution for scheduling training times and plan methods to achieve the desired goal.”

To better understand how functional indoor training in triathlon with MD JARVIS can optimize performance in the first 3 months of an Ironman season, click here.

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