Build up swim and saddle speed

Supercharge your triathlon training with these speed and hill sessions, designed by endurance coach Steve Whittle.

When you’re preparing for a tri, the majority of your training will be based around slow and steady aerobic exercise, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore the benefits of high intensity interval work, or the added resistance offered by hill training. 

Both will significantly improve your fitness by increasing your lactic acid threshold and enhancing your body’s efficiency at delivering oxygen to your muscles, while also boosting your top speed. 

Assuming you’ve got time to do two sessions of each discipline on a weekly basis and you’re already relatively fit, I’d suggest doing one aerobic session and one speed or hill session per discipline per week. The examples below are appropriate for a sprint distance triathlon: 

Swimming speed session 

Warm up: 
100m at RPE 2 (rate of perceived exertion on a scale of 1-7+ where 1-2 is very easy and 7+ is very hard) 

Workout: 
100m at RPE 6

30 seconds rest

Repeat x4 

Cool down:
100m at RPE 2

Cycling speed session 

Warm up:
5 minutes at RPE 2

Workout:
4 minutes at RPE 6

1 minute at RPE 2

Repeat x4 

Cool down:
5 minutes at RPE 2

Running hills session 

Warm up:
5 minutes RPE 2 on flat ground 

Workout:
50m hill ascent at RPE 4-6 (depending on gradient)

50m hill descent at RPE 1

Repeat x4 

Cool down:
5 minutes RPE 2 on flat ground 

Steve Whittle is an endurance and nutrition coach with over a decade’s experience. For more information, contact him at stevewhittlecoach.com   or via Twitter @coach_whittle  

Print this page