Tom Danielson Training Program

Retired pro cyclist Tom Danielson who cycled for world tour teams like Discovery Channel, Slipstream-Chipotle developed into a general classification rider (GC) for these teams.

Tom’s preseason training program looked like:

Day One: 4hr ride with 3x 20min efforts on mountains @ sub threshold power (approximately 95% of FTP)

Day Two: 5hr ride with 3x 40min efforts on mountains with a lower cadence @ sub threshold power (approximately 90% of FTP)

Day Three: 6hr aerobic ride with no calories before or during.

Day Four: Same as day one but with 5-10 watts extra

Day Five: Same as day two but with 5-10 watts extra

Day Six: Same as day three

Day Seven: Full rest

Tom trained using the threshold training method. He dedicated a lot of his effort to “power control” with the aim to sit on a set watt and not move from it despite what the weather or terrain was, his goal was to be the best in the world at power control.

Side Notes:

I translated these sessions to FTP to give context to Tom’s training. Tom didn’t do FTP tests, like most pro cyclists everything arrived from lactate field testing and VO2 lab testing.

Tom was also suspended for doping twice in his career.

Cam Wurf’s Training into Ironman Copenhagen

Following on from the past articles I wrote about Cam Wruf’s Ironman Training and how Cam Transformed his Running, the triathlon community started buzzing last weekend when Cam won Ironman Copenhagen with a finish time of 7:46:10 (Swim 49:08 – Bike 4:02:19 – Run 2:49:37).

I thought it would be fun to go back and revisit Cam’s training in the six weeks leading into Ironman Copenhagan and note some differences between the two Ironman builds when he finished top five at Ironman World Championships.

Swim: Cam swims between 5-6 times per week with most sessions being between 3-4km with his longest swim being 5.7km

Bike: Cam rides normally 4 times per week. It is clear that Cam sees little value in riding under 3hrs as just about all rides were over 3hrs with most being very hilly. While I can no longer see Cam’s power data, in the past I never found a interval shorter than 15min in length. Cam does do regular cadence change sessions going from low cadence to high cadence within a structured set.

Run: Cam has been averaging around 100km with 5-6 runs per week. The majority of his run volume is in and around his goal race pace. Even his “moderate effort runs are around 20sec per km slower than race pace. Cam’s faster sessions he does on the track are at 3:25 min per km pace and Cam doesn’t every go much faster than this.

Recovery: The main differences between Cam’s 2019 Kona build and Copenhagen was clearly his rest days. Can took every Sunday off in the lead up to Kona while most weeks (except six and five weeks out and race week), can would train everyday however he would give his legs a full day off most Mondays with just a swim session.

Taper: Cam doesn’t really taper, he just has a few full rest days before the Ironman and he is good to go. This is very uncommon in endurance sports and very few elite athletes would ever consider doing this but it seems to work for Cam.

Cam’s Weekly Training

While Cam’s training week often changed from one week to the next, when looking at everything, his week would often look like this:

Monday: Swim 3km however if Cam took a rest day the week before like he had in week 6, 5 out from Copenhagen, he would also add a 3hr hilly bike with a 12km moderate run

Tuesday: Track run 10x 1mile @ 3:25min per km pace with 200m easy – The total run volume for this would be up to 24km. + Swim 1hr + Afternoon 45min moderate run

Wednesday: Bike 3-4hrs, if he wasn’t with a group, he would do this on his TT bike + Swim 1hr with some weeks an extra 45min run

Thursday: Swim 90min + 4hr ride

Friday: Bike 4-5hrs often hilly and a long run 28-38km @ or just a little over race pace.

Saturday: Swim 60-90min + Bike 3-7hrs and will often add another long run of 19-31km @ or just over race pace.

Sunday: Bike – 3hrs and every 2nd week he will add either a 40min swim or a 40min run

Eliud Kipchoge’s Training Program

Eliud Kipchoge who is undoubtable the fastest marathon runner in history’s keeps his weekly training very similar every week in the lead up to a marathon. This is a typical training week of Kipchoge.


AM: 70min moderate run

PM: 40min easy run


AM: Track 1hr with main set often something like 1200m, 5x 1km, 3x 300m, 2x 200m

PM: Rest


AM: 70min moderate run

PM: 45min easy run


AM: 40km tempo

PM: Rest


AM: 70min moderate run

PM: 40min easy


AM: 80min run with 30x 1min fast, 1min easy as the main set


AM: 80min moderate run

Adam Hansen’s Program

Recently retired pro cyclists and turned pro triathlete Adam Hansen has been a pro cyclist since 2004 and has completed in 29 Grand Tours and completed 26 of them with a record of competing in all three grand tours six years in a row.

Adam’s Four day training cycle

  • Day One: Speed day (short high intense intervals)
  • Day Two: Strength day (over gearing on hills)
  • Day Three: Long endurance day
  • Day Four: Complete rest day

Adam will sometimes add an extra strength day or an extra endurance day before the rest day but it always follows this pattern of Speed / Strength / Endurance / Recover.


Adam really focusses on in training to burn fats as fuel however he races on high carbs with the goal to intake between 90-120 grams of carbs per hour. This needs to be trained. Adam uses his speed days to use high carb intakes and the strength and endurance days burning more fats.

Regular Sessions from Dr. Michele Ferrari

In a recent post, I have an overview on Dr. Ferrari’s training method. In this, I thought I would cover a number of training sessions that I found when researching Dr. Ferrari.

Please note that I translated these sessions to a percentage of Functional Threshold Power (FTP).

When building up threshold volume

Before the athlete starts to building threshold volume, the athlete must spend a considerable amount of volume and become efficient at Medio (81-91% of FTP).

  • Week One: 10x 4min @ 98% of FTP, 2min @ 72-75% of FTP
  • Week Two: 5x 8min @ 95% of FTP, 4min @ 82-85% of FTP)
  • Week Three: 3x 12min @ 98% of FTP, 4min @ 72-75% of FTP

For Ironman Training

Starting off at 2x 30min and building to 4x 45min at @82-91% of FTP with 6min @ 75% of FTP

Increasing FTP

  • 4x 12min @ 100% of FTP with 2-3min @ 72-75% of FTP twice a week.

Getting good on long climbs

  • Week One: Twice a week ride the climb with the first half of climb 6x 6min @95-100% of FTP with 2min @ 72-75% of FTP
  • Week Two: First ride, the climb with the first half of climb 7x 6min @95-100% of FTP with 2min @ 72-75% of FTP, Second ride on the climb is a time trial.
  • Week Three: Twice a week ride the climb with the first half of climb 8x 6min @95-100% of FTP with 2min @ 72-75% of FTP

To read about Dr. Ferrari’s coaching methods – CLICK HERE

Coach Faris Al Sultan

The 2005 Ironman World Champion Faris Al Sultan and now coach for the German Federation, past coach for two time Ironman world champion Patrick Lange.

Here are some of Faris’s coaching philosophies with a focus at more Ironman.

How to win an Ironman

Faris’s quick guide on what it takes to win at Ironman, you need to be within the range of what he calls “The Big Four.” If you are able to swim a minute and a 4th of a minute (1:15 per 100m), can cycle 4 watts per kg and run a 4min kilometer, you put yourself in a position to win the Ironman race.

Training Volume & Quality of Movement:

When it comes to Ironman training, there are two key factors that are just as important as each other. Volume and the quality of movement. There is no point increasing training volume unless the athlete has good quality of movement. Even if you cut back the volume to focus on the quality of movement then increase volume.

For the majority of world class athletes Faris coaches, a yearly volume of 1000 to 1200 hours is required.

Training for an Ironman

The athlete maintains a solid amount of volume with no tapers throughout the year. Once the athlete reaches 6-5 weeks out from Ironman, there is a bigger block of training and the athletes starts to taper from two weeks out from their key race.

To get faster at Ironman

With an endurance sport like Ironman, volume is very important, it also needs to be managed correctly. You can’t take an athlete who has an annual training volume of 800 hours and suddenly increase it to 1200 hours because this is where they need to be competitive. It takes time

Speed Training

Throughout the season, there is an effort for the athlete to focus on maintaining their natural speed they use to have at a younger age. This includes a lot of short faster efforts at the track.

Strength Training

Feris is big on athletes lifting weights with squats and deadlifts are two key aspects he gets his athletes to do within their programs. Weight training is done throughout the year.

Mental Focus

While a good training session may help a athlete 1% of 1%, focusing of the athlete’s brain could all of a sudden have a percent improvement within one key session.

Jordan Rapp’s Ironman Nutrition Plan

Optygen HP, Multi Vitamin, Ultragen & Banana smoothie with So Good Coconut Milk. Two Koala Crisp cereal bars with table spoon coconut oil and 1/2 bar of dark chocolate. Two laughing giraffe coconut macaroons. Calories about 1,500.

  • I have pre-determined that I need A LOT of salt. The amount of salt I consume is not recommended for all.

One serving EFS LL or Fruit Punch + 2 salt stick caps + 1 scoop Pre Race

On bike at start of race:

  • 1x 26oz bottle with 3 scoops of EFS fruit punch with 3x salt stick (~300cal)
  • 1x 20oz specialized virtue aero bottle with 2 scoops of EFS lemon lime with 1x EFS liquid shot berry (~600cal)
  • 4x gel pack taped onto frame. I’d prefer EFS LS, but I use GU Roctane until you can make some single serve gels.
    At Special Needs: I don’t always count on this and adjust my plan accordingly.
  • 1x 22oz bottle with 2 scoops of EFS and 2x salt stick at special needs

On Course/Aid Stations

  • 6x salt stick caps (2x/hr starting at hr #2)
  • 4 (maybe one more; maybe one less; I forgot) Powerbar Ironman Perform
  • 4 x 1/3 bottle water (maybe less actually drank. Mostly just to rinse the mouth out and wash off my hands and keep cool)
    Calories about 1,800 to 1,900

I leave the run with one EFS LS flask which I carry in my hand. I plan to sip on this and follow up with water at aid stations. I also carry salt-sticks and use as needed. If the race gets really hot, I tend not to want anything thicker than water. If this is the case, I have the confidence that my on-bike nutrition will help me get through the run with minimal issues. I will consume the on-course drink and on-course coke and water until the finish.

Alistair Brownlee’s 2012 Training Program

Alistair Brownlee who trained approximately 35 hours per week in the lead up to the 2012 London Olympics where he won gold. Below is Alistair’s training program he was completing in February 2012 (5 months out from the Olympics)

Alistair’s Training Week

  • Monday: Run 80min steady + Drills S&C + Swim (easy) + Bike 2hr easy
  • Tuesday: Swim (hard) + Run 40min (easy) + Bike 1hr (easy) + Brick run (15min hard done at the track)
  • Wednesday: Swim (aerobic) + Run 75min (easy) + Bike 3.5hr
  • Thursday: Swim (strength) + Run 1hr + 2hrs with 20min threshold
  • Friday: Swim (mixed pace) + S&C + Run 1hr (easy) + Bike 1hr (easy)
  • Saturday: Run 30min (hard) + Bike 3.5hr (easy) + Brun 30min (easy)
  • Sunday: Bike 4hrs (easy) + Run 1:40hr (easy)

While 35 hours training per weeks for an Olympic Distance athlete seems high, it is around average for a top would class athlete at this level. Other athletes like Javier Gomez who trains approximately 30 hours per week and Jan Frodeno who in 2008 was training 35 hours per week. These athletes do a lot of short sharp sessions with recovery time between each session.

Lance Armstrong’s 2008 Strength Program

In 2008 when Lance announced he was making a comeback to professional cycling, Lance hired strength and conditioning coach Peter Park to help prep his body for the demands of training for the 2009 Tour de France. The goal was to focus on core strength, build leg power and work on a few imbalances Lance had developed since he retired in 2005.

“If you’re a cyclist, you need to have the upper body of a 12 year old girl and the lower body of a power lifter” coach Park said

Lance’s strength program looked like:

Warm up:
Perform one set of each exercise without resting

Lateral Band Walk
20x 20sec Plank
6x per side Iliotibial Band Roll
8x per side Groiner
3x Hand Crossover
10x each side Lunges
5x Lunge with Side Bend
10x each side Elbow-to-Foot Lunge
2x Sumo Squat to Stand
3x Kettlebell Goblet Squat
1x Doorway Stretch

Core Circuit
Perform one set of each exercise without resting
Side Planks (30 seconds per side)
3x Back Extensions
30x per side Swiss-Ball Roll
20x per side Swiss-Ball Pike
30x Mountain Climber with Feet on Valslides
25x Wrist-to-Knee Crunches
6x Plank

Strength Circuit One
Perform one set of each exercise without resting
5x each leg Pistol Squat
8x each side Single-Leg Deadlift

Strength Circuit Two
Perform one set of each exercise without resting.
12x Single-Leg Squat
10x each side Lunge

Metabolic Circuit
If Lance is exhausted, he stopped here. But if he still had energy, he performed this final circuit up to three times, depending on how good he felt. Perform one set of each exercise without resting.

25x Single Arm Dumbbell Swing
15x High Box Jump
25x Single Arm Dumbbell Swing
12x each side Split Jacks
25x Single Arm Dumbbell Swing

Pete Jacob’s 2012 Ironman Program

“I didn’t do anything special to win Kona, I just did what I needed to”

In 2008, Pete Jacobs created with his than coach Allan Pitman a plan to win the Ironman World Champions within five years.

Pete’s results at Kona looked like:

  • 2008 – Finished 60th
  • 2009 – Finished 8th
  • 2010 – Finished 9th
  • 2011 – Finished 2nd
  • 2012 – Finished 1st

While Pete isn’t a high volume athlete, he is very much focused on good technique and staying in tune with his body and isn’t afraid to take a rest day or turn a hard session into an easy session. After the 2011 Ironman World Championships, Chris McCormack asked Pete what he will change for the coming year. Pete replied he doesn’t need to change anything, he simply needs to improve by 1%”.

For the lead up to the 2012 Ironman World Championship, Pete’s weekly training didn’t really change that much, he would add more run volume if he was feeling good. Each week looked like:

  • Monday: Run 20km + Swim 4km with 1k warm up, 7x 400 leaving on 5:30
  • Tuesday: Swim 2.5km easy + Plates
  • Wednesday: Bike 4hrs + Swim 3km with 1km TT + Run 45min easy
  • Thursday: Run with 4x 1km intervals + Run 1:15hr
  • Friday: Bike 5hrs
  • Saturday: Run with 2x 3km intervals
  • Sunday: Bike 5hrs + Swim with 5x 400 leaving 5min

What does Pete’s training look like now?

Pete’s training is very much aerobic base training with all his bike and runs done at MAF heart rate. His average training week looked like:

  • Monday: Light gym session
  • Tuesday: Run 15-20km + Swim or recovery ride + Strength session
  • Wednesday: Bike 2-3hrs + Swim 4km
  • Thursday: Run 15-20km + Bike 2hrs
  • Friday: Easy ride/swim/run/gym
  • Saturday: Bike 3hrs + Swim 2km
  • Sunday: Run 25-30km + Ocean swim 2km

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