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12-week triathlete

Hi Folks,

I am busy reading Tom Hollands' book The 12-Week Triathlete. It is an interesting read, very informative, although judging by the copious amount of photos, the author does love himself a bit.

Anyway, my question is this. Has anyone actually followed the 12-week plan for any of the distances in the book and most importantly, have they worked?

The plans seem a little light weight but that may be just me being somewhat prone to overtraining at times. Would be interesting to know what other people think.

Cheers, Matt


  • WellaWella Posts: 188
    Hi Matt,

    I followed the performance programme for the sprint distance for my first triathlon earlier this year. I started the plan in April for a triathlon in July.

    Prior to starting the programme I had spent about 8 weeks getting in some swimming and bike training. I found the real benefits of training kicked in once I started following the programme.

    The phased approach was useful and I think, with the nature of triathlon, its essential to follow a structured plan that includes bricks etc.

    I preferred the plan other some others as it included weight training, something I enjoy. For my first tri I think the training was balanced about right and I noticed some real improvements in time and ability between week 1 and 12. I can see how it could be considered lightweight if you've trained before as my training now and into next year will be much heavier now I have the triathlon bug.

    I agree, the author does fancy himself but I have to say the book is informative, well written, light-hearted where necessary but most importantly achievable. I'm going to use the olympic performance plan for my lead-in to London next year.

    In summary, stick with the plan and good luck with it.

  • Cheers Wella. I agree. the book has some useful tips, especially on little things like what to expect in transition, advice on clothing and weather etc. Little things like this often are neglected in other books.

    But back to the training then. Does that mean that after your prep work, did you need to cut back your training when following the plan? For example, in nearly every plan, the base phase has at least one full day off, if not more. Like you, I enjoy weight training but do not really see this as part of my tri-training. I envisage a lot of twiddling of thumbs and frustration if I need to rest when I am itching to do some sort of training!
  • WellaWella Posts: 188
    To be honest my prep work was mainly cycling and remembering how to swim. It had been at least 7 years since I had previously ridden a bike over any distance and my swimming in that time usually involved being on holiday. My prep work was a gradual introduction into proper training.

    When I started the 12 week plan I found I was training 6 days out of 7 as I couldn't manage the weights on the same day as the swim (as in the book). I'd never trained like this before so I found it enough to deal with at the time.

    Now that i'm fitter and somewhat committed to tri I'll probably do more training than the book suggests as I probably feel the same as you, I feel I should do more and know that I can.

    I like the structure of the training as it gives good balance. I don't think there would be a problem in riding for 90mins if it only states 60, everybodies different and will react to the plan appropriately. I think the day off in the base phase reflects the fact that some people, like me, will be starting the plan with not much training experience. Also, the way my work and family life was at the time meant that A day off was welcome as I needed it for other things therefore I could juggle the plan to suit.

    But it worked for me and my first two tri's. Is this your first or one of many?

  • 2007 will be my first competitive tri season but I have been running competitively for 2 years now. I stepped up to tri training about 6 months ago just to add some variety to my week. I train with a triathlon coach on occasion and he encourages me to do far more than the book suggests. I even do an indoor sprint triathlon at the gym each Thursday. I know this is slightly different from the real thing but it does give some indication of my times/weaknesses/strengths. I think the best thing for me is to just enter several events in Spring & Summer 2007 and see how I get on. My aim is still Ironman Germany 2008 so I am just keen to maintain as much structure as possible to each training week, without feeling like I am under-doing things
  • WellaWella Posts: 188
    I've only done two sprints so far, both back in July. My aim is for 1/2 Ironman in 2008 with the full Ironman in 2009. Seems a long way away but also not long enough!

    I think drive and determination will see you through whatever training you do. If you listen to your body you know when its time to rest but if you've the strength and energy then use it.

    Good luck with training.

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