My training plan of attack: the Milestone Method

Before signing up for this tri, I spent a LOT of time researching different training plans, and to be honest, I got super overwhelmed. I found them all to be a little too detailed and not tailored to my needs – for example, most were for beginner swimmers when I have some experience. I also wanted to make my plan more run-heavy since I’m also shaping up for marathon season. And so, I decided to customize my own plan and approach training my own way: I like to call it, the Milestone Method.

The Milestone Method:

Don’t get me wrong, I love LOVE lists, plans, spreadsheets, organization, etc etc etc, but after several marathon/half marathon training cycles, I’ve learned the importance of listening to your body, being flexible, and making changes to plans.

Listening to your body – what I mean by that is: 1) taking a day off if you feel you’re getting injured. 2) Or replacing a run with cross training if your legs have absolutely no will to run one day. 3) Or increasing mileage if you have a burst of energy, even if it’s not to plan! I definitely don’t mean to take rest days whenever you feel like it, but rather really staying in tune with your energy level, muscle capacity, even hormones to dictate your workout that day.

For this race, I made a general outline of how many times per week to swim/bike/run, as well as some weekly/bi-weekly goals (or milestones), but not much more than that, hence the “milestone” method.

My general shell of the week: workouts can switch around

Monday – Friday: swim 2 days (45 min – 1 hour), run 2 days (3-5 miles), 1 rest day

Saturday: long run

Sundays: long bike or rest day

Example milestones: NOT negotiable 

  • Weekly long run milage (up 10 miles 2 weeks before the race)
  • Long bike mileage – will start to do long bike rides in 5 weeks
  • Being able to swim 2000m without much fatigue

With these general outline and goals, I’ll have the flexibility to change things up. If my body is feeling more up for swimming one week, I’ll replace a run. Or, if I find myself biking around the city a lot one week, I’ll skip the long bike that week. Or, if I had a stressful day and want to unwind by doing a fun class at the Y, I’ll do it! I’m planning to take everything week-by-week, day-by-day, to listen to my body, figure out my needs, and choose a workout that I’ll have fun with!

The triathlon is the epitome of fitness, and my one and only goal this time around is to have a level of fitness where I can finish the race with a smile on my face 🙂

I will admit, the Milestone Method is not for everyone. I completely understand that some people thrive under more direction and specified workouts, and push their body to its limits to make it stronger – I believe it! The Milestone Method is for you if….

  • You have an unpredictable work schedule. As a consultant, my day to day changes all the time, so it’s helpful to have a training plan that I can switch around.
  • You are a spontaneous person
  • You generally make decisions by “feel.”
  • Your have other priorities in life / your race goals are more relaxed 
  • You are naturally a type A person who’s default is to push themselves. This plan does leave room to get lazy. It helps to be someone who can naturally self motivate vs needing the push like a detailed plan.
  • You have experience and have trained for this race before. Okay, this is one area when I break my own rule since this is my first triathlon, but with my competitive swimming and marathon experience, I think I have a good enough idea for what it takes to complete these distances together.

I am open to comments on this!! Like I said, this is NOT for everyone, so please take all my thoughts knowing that this was a very personal decision and tailored for me. Now let’s see if it actually works… 

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