16-Week Beginner Olympic Triathlon Training Plan

Training for a triathlon isn’t easy; you have to juggle three different disciplines over the course of the week, and unless you’re one of the few lucky professional triathletes, you have to fit all of your triathlon training around your job, family responsibilities, and so on.

For this reason, not many people have the time or energy to train for a full Ironman triathlon. This grueling endurance event involves 140.6 miles of self-propelled travel (a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, and 26.2-mile run).

However, training for an Olympic distance triathlon is a much more feasible plan and achievable goal for most beginner triathletes.

In this guide, we’ve created a 16-week beginner Olympic triathlon training plan that will help you build your fitness and competence in each of the three triathlon disciplines to finish an Olympic distance triathlon in 16 weeks.

Ready to become a multi-sport athlete? Let’s check out the 16-week beginner Olympic triathlon training plan!

We will cover: 

  • What Is an Olympic Distance Triathlon?
  • How to Follow the 16-Week Beginner Olympic Triathlon Training Plan
  • Then share our 16-Week Beginner Olympic Triathlon Training Plan

Let’s get started! 

People swimming in an Olympic Triathlon.

What Is an Olympic Distance Triathlon?

Like other triathlons, a sprint triathlon is a multi-sport event that involves a swim, followed by a bike ride, which is then immediately followed by a run.

The distances for each leg in an Olympic triathlon are as follows:

  • Swim: 1.5 km swim (approximately 1 mile)
  • Bike: 40 km (24.8 miles)
  • Run: 10 km (6.2 miles)

Between each of the segments of the race, there is a “transition” when the athlete swaps their gear or kit before embarking on the next portion of the event.

People in a transition in a triathlon.

How to Follow the 16-Week Beginner Olympic Triathlon Training Plan

Our beginner Olympic triathlon training plan is designed for novice triathletes who have an interest in the sport and some familiarity with each discipline but who aren’t currently doing much consistent training in any one discipline.

If you already have an aerobic base from cycling workouts, or you’re a runner who’s looking to migrate to the sport of triathlon, or you’re already up to the sprint triathlon distance, you can feel free to modify our 16-week beginner Olympic triathlon training plan.

This can be done by either skipping a few weeks into the program after the intensity has increased, or you can pick and choose which of the written workouts you do and which ones you substitute with a more challenging workout that you are capable of.

For example, if you’re already able to complete a sprint triathlon, skip to week 9 and complete the 8-week Olympic triathlon training plan portion, which can be thought of as a sprint to Olympic triathlon training plan.

Triathletes biking.

16-Week Beginner Olympic Triathlon Training Plan

Download The Training Plan Here

Enter your email, and I’ll send you this free training plan now, in PDF and Google Sheets formats (completely customizable), in both miles and kilometers.  

Previous visitor or not seeing where to sign up?

Head over to our triathlon training plan database for full access to all plans.

download this free training plan in pdf or google sheet
16 week olympic triathlon training plan
Week 1 Focus: Establishing a triathlon workout routine
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
Run:
Warm-up: Brisk walk for 5 min

Workout:
8 x 2 min run/1 min walk

Cool down:
5 min walk
Bike:
20 min at an easy effort
Swim:
10 x 25m taking 30 sec of rest after each length
RestRun:
Warm-up: Brisk walk for 5 min
Workout:
8 x 3 min run/1 min walk

Cool down:
5 min walk
Swim:
10 x 50m (1 full lap) with 45 sec of rest
Rest
Week 2 Focus: Building your base
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
Run:
Warm-up: Brisk walk for 5 min
Workout:
4 x 5 minute run/2 min walk

Cool down:
5 min walk
Bike:
30 min at an easy effort
Swim:
5 x 100m (2 full laps), taking 60 sec of rest after each 
RestRun:
2 miles (3 km), taking walking breaks as needed
Swim:
Easy distance:
10 minutes without stopping
Rest
Week 3 Focus: Starting to add some speed
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
Run:
Warm-up: Brisk walk for 5 min

Workout:
1 mile (2 km) without stopping

Cool down: 5 min walk
Bike:
45 min at an easy effort
Swim:
10 x 50m in zone 4, with 60 sec rest
RestRun:
1.5 miles (2 km) without stopping
Bike:
40 minutes total:
5-min warm-up then 10 x 2 min intervals in zone 4 or about 85% of max heart rate, 1 min of recovery

5 min cool down
Rest
Week 4 Focus: Recovering from the work you’ve been doing
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
Run:
2 miles (3k) at an easy effort
Bike:
50 min at an easy effort
Swim:
Easy distance:
15 min without stopping
RestRun:
Warm up: Jog for 5 min

Workout: 10 x 1 minute hard (zone 4) with 1-min easy jog (zone 1)

Cool down: 5 min walk
Swim/Bike Brick Workout:

Swim for 10 min without stopping and then immediately bike for 45 min (zone 3)
Rest
Week 5 Focus: Ramping up your training now that you’re getting fit
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
Run:
2 miles (3k) at an easy effort; 4 x 50m strides
Bike:
60 min at an easy effort
Swim:
2 x 300m in zone 3, with 90 sec of rest
RestSwim:
Easy distance: 20 min without stopping
Brick workout:
Bike for 30 min and then immediately run for 10 min
Rest
Week 6 Focus: Preparing for the race experience with a race simulation
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
Run:
2.5 miles (4 km) without stopping; 4 x 50m strides
Bike:
70 min at an easy effort
Swim:
2 x 400m in zone 3, with 90 sec rest
RestSwim: 1000m easy effort (zone 2)Race simulation: Swim 500m, Run 2 miles, Bike 10 milesRest
Week 7 Focus: Building endurance
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
Run:
3 miles (5 km); 4 x 75m strides
Bike:
75 min at an easy effort
Swim:
2 x 400m in zone 3, with 90 sec rest
RestBrick workout: Bike 45 min (zone 2) and then immediately run 15 min (zone 3)Bike:
40 min total:
5-min warm-up, then 5 x 3-min intervals in zone 4 or about 85% of max heart rate, 1 min of recovery,
5 min cool down
Rest
Week 8 Focus: Sprint triathlon simulation or trial
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
Run:
2 miles (3k) at an easy effort; 4 x 75m strides
Bike:
30 min at an easy effort (zone 2)
Swim:
10 min easy (zone 2 effort)
RestBike or run easy for 15-20 minSprint Triathlon Simulation or Official EventRest
Week 9 Focus: Recovery before the next build phase
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
Run:
3 miles (5 km) easy (zone 2-3)
Bike:
15 miles (24 km) at an easy effort (zone 2-3)
Swim:
4 x 200m in zone 3, with 90 sec rest
RestBike:
16 miles (25-25 km) with 4 x 5 min at tempo pace (upper zone 3) with 90 sec of recovery in between
Swim:
600m easy effort; 4 x 25m sprints
Rest
Week 10 Focus: Adding volume
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
Run:
4 miles (6 km); 4 x 75m strides
Bike:
18 miles (29 km) easy effort
Swim:
2 x 500m in zone 3, with 90 sec rest; 4 x 25m sprint
RestBrick workout: Bike: 60 min (zone 2) and then immediately run 30 min (zone 3)Bike:
40 minutes total:
10 min warm-up then 25 min at tempo pace, 5 min cool down
Rest
Week 11 Focus: Building endurance and strength
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
Run:
4.5 miles (7 km); 4 x 75m strides
Bike:
20 miles (32 km) at an easy effort
Swim:
800m easy effort; 4 x 25m sprints
RestRun:
4 miles (6-7 km) with 2 x 10 min at tempo pace
Swim:
8 x 100m (zone 3-4) with 60 sec rest 
Rest
Week 12 Focus: Race simulation
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
Run:
5 miles (8 km); 4 x 75m strides
Bike:
60 min with 3 x 10 min at tempo pace (upper zone 3) with 2 min of recovery
Swim: 1,000m easy effort; 4 x 25m sprintsRestBike:
20 min easy
Mini Race Simulation: Swim 1,000m, Bike: 18 miles (29 km), Run 3 miles (5k)Rest
Week 13 Focus: Building endurance
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
Run:
5.5 miles (9 km); 4 x 75m strides
Bike:
22 miles (35 km)
Swim: 1200m easy effort (zone 2)RestRun:
5 miles (6-7 km) with 10 x 90 sec in zone 4, with 60 sec recovery
Swim:
5 x 300m zone 4, 4x 25m sprints
Rest
Week 14 Focus: Building strength
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
Run:
6 miles (10 km); 4 x 75m strides
Bike:
75 min in zone 2 with 2 x 20 min in upper zone 3
Swim:
3 x 500m with 90 sec rest (zone 3)
RestSwim: 1500m easy effort (zone 2)Bike:
25 miles (40 km) at an easy pace 
Rest
Week 15 Focus: Building confidence before the race experience
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
Run:
6 miles (10 km); 4 x 75m strides
Bike:
60 min with 10 x 3 min (zone 4) with 1 min of recovery
Swim:
4 x 400m in zone 3, with 90 sec rest
RestRun:
4 miles with 10 x 90 sec with 30 sec jog in between (zone 4 for intervals, zone 2 otherwise)
Swim/Bike: Swim: 1,000m/Bike 18-20 miles (29-32 km)Rest
Week 16 Focus: Getting ready to race your first Olympic triathlon!
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
Run:
3 miles (5 km); 4 x 75m strides
Bike:
30-40 min at an easy effort (zone 2)
Swim:
15 min easy (zone 2 effort)
RestBike or run easy for 15-20 min RACE!Rest

Feel free to modify this 16-week Olympic triathlon training plan as needed. Good luck with your training!

If you are a runner looking to participate in a triathlon, we have a special guide just for you.

Download The Training Plan Here

Enter your email, and I’ll send you this free training plan now, in PDF and Google Sheets formats (completely customizable), in both miles and kilometers.  

Previous visitor or not seeing where to sign up?

Head over to our triathlon training plan database for full access to all plans.

download this free training plan in pdf or google sheet
A triathlete adjusting their swimming goggles.
Photo of author
Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, and contributes to several fitness, health, and running websites and publications. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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