The Easy step up from Sprint distance Triathlon to Ultra Distance

The Easy step up from Sprint distance Triathlon to Ultra Distance

Okay, so you have done a few triathlons before but mainly over the sprint distance. Perhaps your still keen to try triathlon and not too sure of hwo to go about training for it?

Have you ever considered stepping up and doing an Ultra Triathlon?  And NO! I don’t mean some crazy 226km race called the Ironman either. An Ultra Triathlon is defined as a distance greater than the Olympic distance of 1.5km swim, 40km bike and 10km run.

I have an easy-to-do program designed to step up your fitness from short distance to ultra distance without spending hours and hours of training. We will have some “key” sessions that are crucial to success but generally, the training program is manageable and certainly within reach of the vast majority of you…

Week 1- Week 4

Mon: rest day (all 4 weeks, use Monday as your recovery day)

Tueam: cycle session

Week 1 – 20km spin easy

Week 2 – 30km spin easy

Week 3 – 40km spin easy

Week 4 – 30km spin

Pm: run session

Week 1 – Week 4

Time Trial session (1km warm-up with stretch followed by an 8km time

Trial done at tempo pace (hard but you can still afford to chat, 1km cool

Down) Total = 10km………….Do this over a period of 4 weeks and try

Improve your time during that course. Always use the same marked and

measured course. Try keeping it relatively flat

Wed: am: swim session

Week 1 – week 4

Warm-up 200m swim, 200m kick, 200m pull

10 x 100m rest 30 secs pace is easy.

(as you get fitter over the course of the 4 weeks, reduce the amount of rest and

increase the amount of effort per each 100m)

16 x 25m sprints (on 45 secs) reduce rest time by 5 secs each week

200m easy recover

Total = 2.2km

Pm: run session

Week 1 – 8km easy

Week 2 – 10km easy

Week 3 – 12km easy

Week 4 – 10km easy

These run sessions are to be used purely for recovery purposes especially

After having done the hard time trial session the night before

Thu: am: cycle session

Week 1 – Week 4

We will use this 1 x per weekly session for speed work. Warm-up 10km

Nice and easy with lots of spin. We then work on time rather than distance

Start with 30 minutes comprising 5 minutes at race pace followed by 5 minutes

Of recovery time. What you will now do is increase the amount of time spent on

the speed work by 10 minutes per each week (i.e. 4th week = 60 minutes). As you

get fitter, you will also increase the race pace effort and reduce the recovery time

Cool down after this effort with another 10km spin session. In total you should

Average anywhere between 35km (week 1) and 50km (week 4)

Pm: rest

Fri: am: Run session

Week 1 – Week 4

We will use the Friday morning as our weekly long run. We will start with 12km

1st week and then gradually increase the distance by 3km each week to

eventually end on 21km for week 4. Pace is moderate, not too hard

pm: swim session

This session will be nice and easy. After a long run in the morning

you need some time to let the legs recover……..

100m swim, 50m kick, 100m pull buoys (rest 20 secs only after all 3 of these)

Complete this set of 250m 5 times in week 1, going up to 8 times in week 4

Total = Anywhere from 1.2km – 2km

Sat: am: Brick Session

This is one of the key sessions you need to follow each week to ensure a

Successful race in March. We will start off with some moderate distance and

Then slowly increase that over the period of 4 weeks.

Week 1 = Cycle 40km and then follow that with a 5km

Week 2 = cycle 50km with an 8km run directly after

Week 3 = cycle 60km (race distance) and run 10km slowly after

Week 4 = cycle 80km and run 12km after finishing the bike ride

You can use these sessions to simulate race conditions. You can also

Experiment and use different forms of nutrition so you get it spot on

Come race day. You need not go too hard during these sessions, its

More a case of getting used to cycling far and then running directly after.

Another key point to remember is that some of the run route at the midlands

Ultra is on dirt, so you may want to choose a run route that has a combination

Of tar and some off-road to familiarise yourself with the change in run


Sun: open water swim

This would be a great day to do some open water swimming if possible

It is a little different to swimming in a pool, so best you get used to it

long before race day. Practicing drills such as lifting your head to find

markers, swimming in a wetsuit etc. Some people are also a little

intimidated by open water and can often overcome their fears by

doing some practice drills and sessions in a safe environment.

We can work on time starting with a short 20 minutes and eventually progressing

to a maximum of 50 minutes after week 4. This should be more than sufficient in

terms of mileage to give you the arms and fitness to complete 1.8km of


I have outlined a basic weekly schedule that you can follow over the course of the next 4 weeks. This should be enough to get you across that finish line of your very first ultra triathlon. If this program is still too hard and you’re not quite ready to jump up to this distance, then use the 10% rule. Reduce the volume by 10% for each session you battle with and increase your rest periods. As you get fitter and more accustomed to the training routine, you increase the volume as per program and slot into the normal rest periods. The same rule to stepping up your game will apply when this 4 week cycle ends. You can use the same program structure but increase the raining volumes by 10% and reduce your rest periods as you get fitter. Consistency is the key here. You put together at least 4 weeks of un-interrupted training based on this program and I guarantee you that you will find success.

Please follow and like us: