First Time Finisher Training Plans

Week 1, Sprint & International Distance

Week 1 is about getting accustomed to a training routine.  In previous issues of Coaching Corner (#1, #2 & #3) I wrote about the “basic week” and how to plan out ideas for training blocks.  The great part about being in the “First Time Finisher” category is that you don’t need to dedicate a ton of time towards training.  Most of your training time is geared towards accommodation to endurance training and not towards eeking out tiny improvements that take a great deal of time.  You’ll find that you are making steady improvement with a simple practice of routine training times.

You don’t have to follow these exact schedules, but do your best to fit in at least 2 workouts or practices in each discipline this week.

A note about safety on the bike: You should be prepared for the most common biking incident which is a flat tire.  Carry with you a patch kit, a pump and/or CO2 cartridges.  All of this and a small tool set can be stored in a small under-the-seat zippered pouch.  I put a business card with my emergency contact information in the pouch as well.  Always wear a helmet and carry some type of identification with you.  A cell phone is also a great backup safety device that you’ll be glad to have when you need it.

Sprint Distance Plan – Week 1

Week 1 is about 2 1/2 hours of training.  The numbers listed for bike & run are total minutes of cycling or running.  The Swim specifics are linked below.

Day of Week Run Bike Swim Core/Flex
Monday  20 min  15 min
Tuesday  30 min
Wednesday ~500 yd  15 min
Thursday  25 min
Friday  50 min  15 min
Saturday  ~500 yd

Run 1: The first run is an easy 20 minute jog.  You should keep your effort at a “conversational” level.  If you are breathing too hard to say more than a few words at a time, you need to slow down.  If you are not able to run for 20 minutes continuously, then alternate running and walking as needed.  A 5 minute brisk walk to warm up followed by alternating 2 minutes running & walking five times, followed by a 5 minute cooldown will add up to 20 minutes.  Treat yourself to a tall glass of water when you are done!

Run 2: This is a slightly longer run of 25 minutes.  If you are following the run/walk plan, continue with 5 minute walking warmup and cool down with 15 minutes of alternating running and walking in between.  Try to slowly increase the amount of time you are able to continuously run.

Bike #1: 30 minutes of easy riding.  Get used to your bike, change gears frequently to become accustomed to how they work.  Practice pedaling fast and slow and note the relationship between your gear selection and how fast or slow you can pedal.  Have fun with this ride, see if you can get a friend to come along.

Bike #2: 50 minutes of easy riding.  For this ride, focus on staying in a gear that lets you pedal at a cadence of around 90 rpm.  You don’t need a fancy bike computer for this, just count the number of pedal revolutions you make in 10 seconds and multiply by six.  Fifteen revolutions in six seconds equals 90 revolutions per minute.  This may seem difficult at first, but if you practice it will get easier and it will pay off in the long run.

Swim 1: Practice Sprint-A

Swim 2: Practice Sprint-B

Core/Flexibility: I’ve grouped these together but in reality both Core Strength & Flexibility are ultimately key elements of a successful training plan.   For just starting out, see if you can incorporate 15 minutes 2 – 3 times per week.  I like to do 10-15 minutes of Sun Salutes as soon as I get dressed in the morning before starting other activities.   Here is a video of the basic sun salute.  Perform 3-4 of these to start your day, and it will take only 10-15 minutes.