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Tue 16th Aug 2022
9 Training Sessions To Inspire...
Posted by: Editor
Posted on: Wednesday 13th May 2015

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IMG Challenger World recently announced that all competitors entered to the Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research Blenheim Palance Triathlon and the AJ Bell London Triathlon receive a one years premium access to the fitness app Endomondo for FREE.

Here at we thought we'd offer some training session inspiration for those lucky competitors and any other beginners taking on their first race this season. Olympic coach Bill Black is no stranger to nurturing beginners through their first race and to ever greater achievements and here are nine of his recommended sessions. Those looking for greater support should consider the services offered by Bill ( and other coaches.

Bill Black Coaching

Bill has over 25 years of experience of developing high quality coaching for athletes. In that time he coached Spencer Smith to UK, European and three World Championships; Stuart Hayes to UK Junior Champion; Annie Emmerson to UK Duathlon Champion; Richard Stannard to UK Champion, and Richard Jones to UK 70.3 Champion.

Bill was the GB Mens Olympic team coach for Sydney 2000, a team which included Simon Lessing, Andrew Johns and Tim Don.

Bill continues to coach Elite and Age Group triathletes at all levels of ability, in all triathlon distances both here in Great Britain and throughout the world.

We've got three sessions per leg of the triathlon with an emphasis on endurance, strength & speed with all aimed at the beginner triathlete starting out or early on in the training plan.





Warm Up

400m as 100 swim, 100 kick, 100 pull, 100 swim continuously at easy pace. 60 seconds rest.

400m at easy pace as 4 x 50m (odds swim, evens kick) then 4 x 50m (odds drill, evens swim) with 5 seconds rest after each 50m.

600m at very easy pace (swim 200m, 10 seconds rest, kick 100m, 5 seconds rest, pull 200m, 10 seconds rest, swim 100m, 10 seconds rest)

Prep Set

8 x 25m (odd lengths drill, even lengths swim) with 10 seconds rest after each 25m

Steady 400m with fins or zoomers (alternate 50m kick, 50m swim continuous, 20 seconds rest)

4 x 50m (drill 25m, swim 25m), 10 seconds rest between each 50m

Main Set

8 x 200m swim with 30 second recovery after each 200m

4 x 100m (1 & 3 are pull with paddles, 2 & 4 pull with no paddles) with 15 seconds rest after each 100m.

4 x 100m swim (1st: 50m fast; 50m easy / 2nd: 50m fast; 50m easy / 3rd: 100m fast / 4th: 100m easy) with 20 seconds rest between each 100m.

Repeat the whole thing again for a total of 800m

4 x 100m: 1st 100m as 75m moderate, 25m fast with 10 seconds rest; 2nd 100m as 50m moderate, 50m fast with 15 seconds rest; 3rd 100m as 25m moderate, 75m fast with 15 seconds rest; 4th 100m all fast. Repeat 3 times with 60 seconds between each set.

Recovery Set

100m kick with fins or zoomers as 50m on front, 50m on back then 10 seconds rest. 100m swim with fins and paddles then 10 seconds rest.

Swim Down

200m very easy non-freestyle

200m very easy alternating freestyle and back strokes every 50m.

200m very easy as 50m swim, 25m drill, 50m backstroke, 50m swim, 25m drill.

TOTAL Distance




* Recovery times may need to be adjusted depending on ability


Catch up: free style swimming where one arm/hand remains in the forward position until the other swimming hand reaches the forward position and "catches up". Once there then that arm remains forward and the other starts the pull and full stroke.

Fists: clench both fists when swimming so that you feel the water pressure on your forearms as you swim.

Single arm: one arm held stretched out in front, the other arm performs the stroke. Breath to the swimming side. Change over either every half length or every length.

Thumb to thigh: at the end of each stroke under water, brush your thigh with your thumb to ensure that you have completed the full distance of the stroke, before your hands exit the water and starts the recovery.


  • Refuelling bottle of sports drink
  • Pair of short fins or zoomers
  • Pull buoy (which can be used also as a kick float / board).





Session Overview

2 - 3 hours on undulating route. Stay seated on climbs.

You can use a long moderate hill which will take you around 6 mins to get to the summit OR a shorter but steeper hill which takes around 3 mins to climb.

To standardise each climb put marker down on your first climb and try to keep hitting that mark for the remaining climbs in your session.

If however there are no hills near where you live you can use a turbo trainer instead. For a Long moderate hill put a 4” block under or your front wheel. For the Short steep hill use a 6” block under your front wheel.

Interval session on road or turbo trainer.

Warm Up

20mins as 4 x 5mins. 1st 5min @ 90 rpm, 2nd @ 95 rpm, 3rd @ 100 rpm and 4th @ 105 rpm.

5 mins easy recovery.

Followed by 5 x 1 min as 15s hard, 45s easy; then 5 x 1 min as 20s hard, 40s easy; then 5 x 1 min as 30s hard, 30s easy.

10 mins easy recovery.

5 mins easy @ 90rpm, then 5 mins alternating 30s standing & 30s seated. Followed by 5 mins alternating cadence as 30s @ 80 rpm, then 30s @ 100 rpm.

Starting at 65 rpm for 1 minute increase by 5 rpm's every minute, until you get to 120 rpm. Then 5 mins alternating fast 30s then 30s easy.

Main Set

This main set is by dividing remaining time into 2 equal halves. First half ride around @ 60 – 65% heart rate and the second half @ 65 - 70% heart rate.

Try to keep in the large chain ring (LCR) at a cadence of around 90 – 100 rpm for most of the ride. Change to the small chain ring (SCR) for last 25 mins with a cadence of around 95 - 100 rpm.

Long Hill Session: 6 mins in LCR @ 60 -70 rpm and moderate heart rate @ ~ 75% - 85%. Recovery for 3 mins in the SCR. Repeat 4 – 5 time for a total of 36 – 45 mins.


Short Hill Session: 3 mins in the LCR @ 50 – 70 rpm and heart rate @ ~75% - 85%. Recovery for 2-3 mins in SCR. Repeat 6 times for a total of 36 mins.

6 – 8 reps of 5 mins @ ~ 85% – 88% heart rate with 1 minute recovery between each.

Spin Down

10min in SCR easy pace.

10min in SCR easy pace.

Spin down pyramid in the SCR. Start at 60 rpm increasing by 10 rpm every minute until you are at 110 rpm. Then return back down by decreasing 10 rpm every minute until at 60 rpm.





Session Overview

60 - 90 minutes in duration. If possible undulating & off-road.

Hill set either outdoors or on treadmill @ ~ 85% - 90% heart rate.

Long, shallow hill: do 400m – 800m (taking about 2- 5 mins to run up ) at race pace. Recovery is an easy slow run back down to the start. Repeat 3 - 6 times. Use your 1st run up to standardise each run.


Short steep hill: do 50m – 200m metres which should take 30s – 90s. Pace is NOT an all out sprint. Recovery is a very easy slow jog back down. Repeat 4 – 8 times. Use your 1st run up to standardise each run.


Treadmill session: for long hill set use an incline of 4-5%. For the short hill set use inlcine of ~ 8%. Recovery is @ 1%.

Intervals @ 10km pace @ 90% heart rate. Can be at the track, or on a treadmill or flat grassed area in a park. If on a treadmill set it @ 1% incline.

Warm Up

15 mins very easy. Include running drills and a few strides. Then 5 mins as 15s hard, 45s easy recovery and then 5 mins as 20s hard, 40s easy recovery. Then 5 mins as 30s hard, 30s easy recovery.

Warm up should be slightly longer for hill & speed work. Set aside 20 – 30 mins. Start by running easily for 10 – 15 mins, then add some strides (these are short brisk pickups of pace) but not sprinting. Cover about 20 - 30m per set.

20 – 30 mins as above for the Strength sessions.

Main Set

As with the bike endurance set divide the remaining time into 2 equal parts. Run the first half at an easy pace at 65% - 70% effort and the second half a bit quicker at 70% – 75%.

Your choice of long or short hills depending on availability / preference.

6 x 1 mile at race pace. Recovery jog for 3 mins (400m) between each effort.

Cool Down

5 x 30m stride drill with a walk back recovery after each.

10 minutes very easy running with a few stride drills added.

10 minutes ending with 6 x 50m strides with a walk back recovery.

* For runs over 90 minutes ensure you carry liquid or gel energy products to refuel

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