Season Planning 101 – The Southern Hemisphere Edition

279 143 Patrick McCrann
Author’s Note: This article is part of the Down Under Series focusing on athletes in the Southern Hemisphere (And expats in the Middle East!) who are currently in the winter training months. Athletes can save on our OutSeason® Plans in the EN Plan Store with the code DownUnder20 now until 8/31/2016.
Use code "DownUnder20" to Save 20% On An OutSeason® Plan Thru 8/31/16!

What does it mean a plan a season when the vast majority of people that you are reading or talking to are not? Sure, triathletes are used to going against the grain. But mapping out a solid winter training protocol when everyone else is talking about 112 mile rides and epic races is no small task.

Here’s the Endurance Nation season planning process to help athletes in the southern hemisphere. Let’s get to work!

Step One: Defining Your Most Important Race

It all starts with your “A” race. You can certainly do other races in a given season, but there is the one race that you are training for. That race then dictates how your season flows across the rest of the year.

  • Are you going to taper for another race?
  • Is there a specific cycling block or swimming phase that could better prepare you for race day?
  • Is there travel or vacation on the calendar that needs to be taken into consideration?

Everything flows backwards from that “A” race.

Step Two: Race Preparation Training (12 Weeks)

Once you find that a race, count backwards to create room for twelve weeks of race specific training.

It is during this phase that you are training for the race itself. You’re not training to get fit, that should’ve already happened earlier (more on that in the next section).

The Race Preparation phase is all about specificity. Your swim, bike and run volume will reflect your race distance. You will ride on condition similar to your course. You should run on terrain that matches the run course.

In addition to the above, there will be a huge focus on pacing. Your job is to get really good at being steady. Visualize a diesel engine…slow to start but runs all…day….long.

Don’t forget to practice nutrition.  Across twelve weeks, you’ll only have ten long rides to dial in your food. This means picking the right food and then creating the best process for consuming it.

The General Preparation Training (8 Weeks)

During this phase, beginner athletes start doing the basic work to get ready for the final twelve week push to the race.

Intermediate and Advanced athletes will do slightly different work during this period. This work is designed to accelerate their fitness; this fitness will come in handy on race day.

How you approach these eight weeks is a function of your baseline fitness and your race day goals. Inside Endurance Nation we work closely with you to ensure you are doing the right type of training for your race.

If you aren’t a member of Endurance Nation, you can purchase a 20-week training plan that includes both General and Race Prep.

As a member of the Endurance Nation, we plan your season for you. We’ll recommend either a single sport program (depending on your abilities) or a general program designed to leverage intensity over volume.

We strive to come up with the most impactful training approach for your body and your goals. Once you get into Race Prep, the amount of volume training you’re doing crushes your ability to do any intensity.

The alternative isn’t pretty. Most athletes simply can’t sustain long rides and long runs and high threshold work at the same. At least not while they keep their jobs and sleeping just seven hours.

OutSeason® Training (14 weeks)

The OutSeason® is an intensity focused plan designed to raise your threshold power and pace. In just fourteen short weeks you will improve your fitness back to peak levels from last season.

Most triathlete’s start training, pretend they haven’t lost any fitness. The consequences can be disastrous for your health. The OutSeason® requires that you test your fitness at the start– honesty is the best policy.

In just six to eight hours a week, you will boost your fitness to new levels. There is minimal swimming during this period, although you have the option to do it should you want to.

Use code "DownUnder20" to Save 20% On An OutSeason® Plan Thru 8/31/16!

What if I Have Two “A” Races in a Season?

Of course, we recommend you to become a team member for so that the coaches can help you map out your year for the optimum training cycle. In the meantime, here’s more detail on how we would do the work for you.

Given how the races layout, you might be doing more than one big race in a season. You might do an early season half before a late-season full. Or an early-season half and another late-season race.

If your big races are several months apart, we structure your year by dividing it. We have you start the OutSeason® and transition quickly into the final few weeks of an EN*Half plan. At a minimum you would need six weeks to get race ready, eight weeks is ideal. Combined with the 14-week OutSeason® it’s actually a 20-week build.

In between races you can shut things down for a bit. Enjoy being active with zero pressure to achieve a set training time. Maybe put the gps devices away for two to four weeks. Then depending on your timing, and the desire to return to training, you would transition to your second training phase.

During the second phase you will have a much longer race specific build up – a minimum of twelve weeks. Some athletes will even use an Endurance Nation Get Faster Plan, using intensity to build fitness.

The flexibility in the middle of the year is intentional. You’ll return to training with anticipation and focus for the second half of the year.

One of the biggest mistakes that we see every year is too much enthusiasm. Beginner athletes sign up for race and start training the next morning at 5 AM! History has shown that 99% of athletes can’t sustain the focus and attention required to be successful across a full season without a break.


That’s just one example, but we can be more detailed with any race you choose. If you want our input, please Become a Team Member. We’ll walk you through the season and outline a plan to get you ready for peak performance.

Date Race Location Race Prep Start Gen Prep Start OutSeason® Start


Western Sydney 70.3 

Penrith, New South Wales, Australia 9/12/16 7/18/16 5/30/16


Ironman Western Australia  Busselton, Western Australia 9/19/16 7/25/16 5/30/16

Western Australia 70.3 

Busselton, Western Australia 9/19/16 7/25/16 5/30/16


Taupo 70.3 New Zealand 9/19/16 7/25/16 5/30/16


Ballarat 70.3 Ballarat, Victoria, Australia 9/19/16 7/25/16 5/30/16


Geelong 70.3 Geelong, Victoria, Australia 11/28/16 10/3/16 8/1/16


Ironman New Zealand  Taupo, New Zealand 12/12/16 10/17/16 8/1/16


Port Macquarie 70.3  Port Macquarie, Australia 2/13/16 12/19/16 8/1/16

Ironman Australia 

Port Macquarie, New South Wales, Australia 2/13/16 12/19/16 8/1/16

Busselton 70.3 

Busselton, Western Australia 2/13/16 12/19/16 8/1/16


IRONMAN Asia-Pacific Championship (Ironman)  Cairns, Queensland, Australia 3/20/16 1/23/17 8/1/16

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.