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Getting started with an online training plan

Updated: Mar 4, 2021

Reading this article will help you get set up correctly and allow you to focus on proper training right away.

If you are new to TrainingPeaks then it is best to get set up on your desktop. Once you are done you will be able to view your planned workouts on the mobile app. Have a read of the TrainingPeaks user guide for more details if you are getting stuck with this.

What fitness tests are included?

For all plans, there will be fitness test, so whether you are completing one, two or three disciplines, expect a fitness test roughly every 6 weeks for each one.

Swim involves a CSS test

Can I add other races (B & C) into the programmes?

Including races in the lead up to your "A" race has many great benefits so I'm going to explain how to include them into your plan to enable you to get full benefit without detracting from your key focus.

Essentially you will need to have your main A race in mind, and then can slot in additional races leading up to this one.

If you are looking to include a Sprint or Standard Distance Race:

  • You only really need to take one day off before the race and the day before that, do an easy 1 hour session in Z2.

  • You may need to move some workouts and drop a couple of sessions (ideally anything long - you can keep short sharp speed sessions if they are planned).

  • The day after the race do an easy recovery swim or ride for 40/45 mins, and possibly rest day the following day, particularly for the standard distance event.

  • For the remainder of the week continue with training as planned but monitor how you feel and if still tired, reduce intensity to Z1/2 until later in the week.

  • After this resume training to plan

If you are looking to include a IM 70.3 Race

  • Follow your training plan normally until the Thursday before your race (if your race is on Saturday then follow until the Wednesday).

  • Then follow the last few days of the final week of your training plan (i.e. your "A" race taper) leading into the race.

  • After your 70.3 take the first 48 hours as complete rest

  • For the remainder of the week continue with training as planned (reducing volumes and intensities to Zone 2 until you feel well recovered)

  • The following week you may also need to reduce intensities depending on your recovery.

Your training plan includes an active recovery week every 3 or 4 weeks, if your race is before one of these then this will fit well to promote recovery.

Can I move workouts around?

Yes you can!. We all have busy lives and some days the scheduled workout just won't fit with your own diary, work and life.

If you have Premium Training Peaks you can drag and drop workouts onto future dates. If you have a free account you can move workouts back in time once the date of that workout has passed.

Swapping days is easiest for the Beginner plans, do-able for the Intermediate plans and trickier for the Advanced plans. That's because there are fewer workouts in the Beginner and more to juggle in the Advanced.

If ever you want to change things around we recommend:

  • Don't do too many hard workouts on the same day or consecutive days (the hard workouts are simply the ones that leave you feeling the most tired in the following 48 hours)

  • Maximise recovery between the hardest workouts meaning you're as fresh as possible for the key workouts

  • Don't stack up your missed workouts - just move on.

What happens if I am sick or injured?


In the case of injury you should stop doing the discipline that exacerbates it, but carry on doing the other workouts (for example, swim, bike and strength) providing they don't cause a problem. If you have a running injury you could also add 1 or 2 extra rides or swims to your weekly training.

See a sports injury specialist straight away. Do your research and find someone with an particular interest in running, cycling and swimming, even if it requires traveling further to see them. Don't wait for the injury to magically go away, it almost never happens and you'll just waste weeks waiting.


Wait until you are at least 99% better before you start training again, particularly if you had a chest infection. Training with a virus can cause scarring of the heart, which you will never get rid of.

Don't attempt to catch up the training, just let it go and carry on from the point where you got better. Ideally start off with an active recovery week, just to ease you back in gently. Otherwise, you risk injury by running on de-conditioned legs.

If you've missed a week, you won't lose any fitness. If you've missed two weeks you'll lose a tiny bit, but you'll regain it in two weeks.

Illness and injury happen to the best of us, so don't get downhearted. Everyone gets at least one cold during the winter, it's a normal part of being an athlete. If you stay positive, remain patient and do the right things you'll bounce back in no time.

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