Tips on how to create a training plan

I thought I'd share a few tips I've learnt along the way on how to build a training plan.

Allow for flexibility:

Building a training plan has proven to be, and continues to be a big big process and learning curve. It’s a working document that will change and adapt continuously. Life will throw curveballs, responsibilities will take precedent, such as work and family, so I need to be ready to change the plan around and be flexible

A training plan may seem rigid and set in stone to some. However, I like to view it as a journey and adventure. I’ll be discovering new things about myself, there will be highs, lows. There will be stories and tales from each ride and run. I’ll discover new places and people throughout the distance covered. I’ll hopefully be making new friends with similar interests too. For me, people in my life make life richer.


Take inspiration from yourself, others and reading

  • Take learning's from experience - previous triathlon, running and swimming events.
  • Knowledge is power! Every day I read articles through online publications - triathlete magazine, 220 triathlon to name a few. I read triathlon blogs, books on goals, training. I believe it’s important to continue learning everyday.
  • Take inspiration from everyone around you. As well as speaking to ironman finishers I try to learn from everyone I meet; bosses, colleagues, coaches… I believe you can learn from everyone around you. This is why it’s so important to surround yourself with positive, encouraging, supportive and inspirational people.

My Plan

My journey consists of a 30 week training plan. To reach Ironman I’ve split the plan into, micro and mesocycles. These are essentially short term, weekly cycles (micro) and medium term goals (meso, months):

  • Micro – There will be cycles of 4 weeks. 3 weeks of building on time spent on bike, the 4th week I decrease the time spent on bike and run by 1 hour. This is to allow the body to recover and adapt to the stress of training.
  • Meso - The plan is split between three phases; Base phase, build phase and peak phase.
  • I am training against time rather than distance. The advantages to these when it comes to endurance events:
    • Better Time Management – I work full time for a fast paced and demanding job in advertising, as well as building a personal training business outside of these hours. Training by time allows me to plan chunks of training sessions into my working week. I know when I’m training and how long for.
    • Aids training in Heart Rate Zones – Every training session is measured by heart rate zones. I look at time spent at a certain heart rate.

Each week consists of 9 key sessions between 8-10 hours:

  • Long Run

  • Long Ride

  • Tempo Run

  • Tempo Ride

  • Spin Ride

  • Interval Ride

  • Swim session

  • Yoga

  • 2 x strength sessions



As a qualified PT, my passion and interests lie in strengthmobility and flexibility. It’s important to take these 3 factors into account, to help the body avoid injury and aid training to become more powerful and strong. Not just in training, SMF can help people to live a healthier and happier life without aches and pains.

I attend yoga at Stretch in London Fields to help me improve mobility and flexibility. Training for long hours puts pressure on the joints, tightens muscles, namely the hamstrings from the long hours spent on the bike. As well focusing on time spent in the pool, on the bike or on foot, it’s also important to focus on what I like to call ‘after care’ functional strength training. Functional strength training is a whole body approach. Unlike gym weight machines that isolate muscle training.

When training for triathlon you are constantly using your core – this is the back, abdominals, obliques, glutes and hip flexors. I integrate strength exercises that make the core stronger, this will in turn aid my training so hopefully... I'll be stronger and less likely to injure myself.

alice thomasComment