Our Favorite Workouts: Speed Work

Triathlon is an endurance event, no matter what distance you choose. From a one-hour to 17-hour race, you are asking yourself to race for a long time. This kind of racing take strength, it takes endurance, and most of all it takes a lot of conditioning. If you’ve frequently raced long and for a number of years it’s easy to get sidelined into only going slow, long, easy.

If you find yourself getting “slow,” remember there needs to be a certain amount of speed and power in your plan all year.

You may not be looking into full blown speed work in the middle of winter. But what you may be looking for is some work to get you ready for that speed work come summer.

Some tips:

  • Keep the reps very short: 30 to 90 seconds.
  • Keep the rpm quick; be it run, bike or swim.
  • Do a lot of them, but on a lot of rest.

Here are some workout examples:


  1. Warm up 400 mixed strokes
  2. 4x 50m as 25 fast / 25 easy
  3. 200 easy
  4. With fins: 20x 10-15m as fast as your arms will go, the remainder of the 25 flip onto your back and glide easy to the wall. Do these on equal rest to work.
  5. 4x 100 pull with paddles, buoy and band
  6. 200 kick

Sprinting for city limit signs or to add breaks when on trainer.

Goal: Sprints develop acceleration, pure and simple.

Sprinting improves the effectiveness of your fast-twitch muscle fibers and improves your body’s ability to use the high-energy adenosine triphosphate (ATP) stored in your muscle tissues.

How to do it:

  1. Sprints are always performed at 100% maximum output. On flat terrain, you should be rolling along at a moderate speed (15-22mph depending on your stage of development) in a light gear.
  2. Jump out of the saddle, accelerating the entire time, then return to the saddle after a few seconds, focusing on maintaining high pedal speed with smooth and efficient form for the entire sprint.

These sprints should be 8-10 seconds in length. Full recovery between sprints is very important to allow for rebuilding of ATP in the muscles and to ensure a quality sprint workout. Normally, 5-10 minutes allows for enough recovery before adding another sprint to your workout.

Fartlek and downhill strides.

  1. Warm up with 5 minutes walking then 15 minutes easy jog
  2. Then go 1 minute on with quick but relaxed running, focus on turnover and cadence / 1 minute off can be walk or very slow shuffle jog. Repeat for 20 minutes total.
  3. 5 minutes easy
  4. On a slight downhill, do 6-8 x 30 seconds quick cadence strides, keep stride length short and quick.
    Cool down easy with 5 minutes walk/jog.

Stay fast while you get strong and build that base.

Categories: Bike, Run, Swim, Training

About Author

Marilyn Chychota

You can contact Marilyn via www.marilynchychotacoaching.com