Who is the plan for?
This program should be used for an athlete who is an experienced duathlete and their goal is to complete a medium distance duathlon without difficulty.
The schedule consists of 3 workouts per week in each sport, 2 days of strength training and core work too. The maximum volume is around 9 hours toward the end of the 12 weeks and most of the weeks are around 8-9 hours with some lower volumes thrown in there in the beginning and toward your race at the end.
This plan uses heart-rate training zones for intensity specific training. There are also a few weeks with some additional testing in this plan, see See 'Related Links' at bottom for testing protocol and how to determine and setup your heart-rate zones.
Since this is a basic program and some athletes may not be able to complete the test outlined in this article above, I thought it would be best to leave out the testing in the program.
You should be able to bike at least 90 minutes and be able to run at least 45 minutes. It’s ok if you have to use the run/walk method for the running (more on that below). If you are a weak swimmer or runner, you can certainly do the best you can on your weaker events but its best if you are already up to the base fitness levels suggested.
If you already excel in one of the sports
If you have a cycling or running background and feel the need to add volume to the program, you are welcome to do that as well.
If you are deficient in the sports
On the opposite extreme if you feel as though you need help in one area or the other, you may want to drop a workout that you are strong in, and add an extra where you are weaker.
If you can complete the bike workouts, but you are a weak runner and you need to use a walk/run plan that is perfectly ok. I have many runners who use an 8/2 method. This is where the athlete runs for 8 minutes and walks for 2, getting their HR back down. I have had marathoners use this method that run in the 3:00 range for 26.2 miles, so don’t feel like you are less of a runner if you use this method.
Weight Training and Core Strength
The program that I am using this time around is adapted from The Training Bible and has been tweaked to include some exercises that I think are important. The program should be fairly balanced between core and strength training.
Good Luck in your Intermediate Distance Duathlon!
USAT Level II Coach
USAC Expert Coach