Welcome to TriStrong: Your On-Ramp to Triathlon and Total Fitness


Welcome to TriStrong: Your On-Ramp to Triathlon and Total Fitness

I will never forget the day I stumbled into triathlon - full of enthusiasm but woefully under-prepared. Truthfully, I entered my first race on a dare from a friend and tried to learn how to swim in less than a week - bad idea! It was not the most well thought out adventure in the world, but I can tell you one thing: it was fun! I walked away sure I wanted to do a whole lot more of it.


And that’s what this program is all about: introducing you to the sport of triathlon and making sure you have tons of fun along the way. Think of this training plan as an on-ramp to the sport, the all-around fitness you get from training and the wonderful community that surrounds it.


Who Is This Program For?

This program is perfect for you if you:


  1. Are curious about the sport and have wanted to try it out for awhile.
  2. Are someone who wants to develop total fitness while trying something new.
  3. Have a real life that you need to work around (jobs, kids, etc.).
  4. Want to make some awesome friends. Triathletes, for the most part, are just awesome people.
  5. Are not 100% new to swimming. While there will be guidance for beginner to intermediate level swimmers, this program is not a replacement for swimming lessons. You should be able to swim at least 400 meters continuously before starting this program. If you need help? Check out some of my swimming articles available on Breaking Muscle.


How is TriStrong Different?

There are three key components that make TriStrong stand out: it’s built for fun, it is made to work with real lives (you know, like the ones with crying babies, demanding jobs and all that stuff that gets in the way of training sometimes), and it focuses on total fitness, not just endurance.


In the programming guide you will get a good feel for how this program is built to be flexible enough for your unique life. It is my aim to give you the building blocks and guidance needed to empower you to make it your own. By the time you get through the guide, you should have all the tools necessary to tweak this program to your lifestyle and prepare for your very first race.


While most training plans for triathlon focus primarily on developing the swim, bike and run components to ensure you can cover the distance, that is not the case here. Yes, I want you to have the endurance to go the distance but I also want you to be able to do it well, be injury free and develop fitness that translates into everyday life. That being said, you will will see strength workouts taking a key role along the way to ensure you are not only able to cover the distances but are also strong and powerful.


And most importantly, I want to insert a little fun and whimsy to keep it lighthearted. After all, this is a hobby, not a career. It shouldn’t feel like work or another thing on your to do list. It should be fun! In fact, this idea is so important to us that it is one of the five pillars of our training philosophy.


Coaching Philosophy

Our coaching methodology hinges on two core beliefs that create the foundation for everything else we teach:


  1. That athletes, regardless of ability, achieve their best results when they take a big-picture, balanced approach to their training.
  2. That, as much as possible, training should fit around life, not the other way around. Very few of us can train like pros without the rest of life catching up with us in a very real way.


Taking a balanced approach positions our athletes so they can nail the biggest factor to their success: being consistent. If you are able to stay healthy, enjoy the training and still maintain a somewhat normal life, you are far more likely to stick with it and be consistent.


While consistency may seem as simple as showing up and putting the miles in every day, it is so much more. The endurance portion of training is really just one aspect that is always at play with the other five pillars of performance: strength, nutrition, recovery and fun!


When athletes balance these five concepts well they are able to stay injury-free, recover quickly and consistently put in the high-quality work necessary to perform well. That’s why these two core beliefs form the foundation of all of our plans and coaching.


Speaking of the five pillars of performance, let’s take moment to dig into them a little more deeply:


Endurance Training: This is the work done in your respective endurance sport, whether that is swimming, cycling, running or all three! We work with our athletes to achieve the necessary volume and intensity to ensure they can more than cover the distances they set out to complete.


Strength: Endurance sports are highly repetitive endeavors. If your body cannot move well in small doses, it certainly will not hold up well over the longer durations. That’s why it is so crucial to spend time building functional strength and working on mobility. Ensuring the body can repeatedly achieve the correct, efficient positions the sport demands of it leads to a strong, durable athlete. That, and we want to build athletes that are not only good at the sport but have strength that translates well to the rest of life, too.


Nutrition and Fueling: We break this down into two categories, both equally important to recovering well and performing optimally. Fueling is how we describe the calories (and hydration) you take in right before, during, and after exercise. Smart fueling drives excellent performances. Nutrition, on the other hand, is how we refer to the daily diet. How you eat on a daily basis sets the stage for how your body responds to the demands you put on it through challenging training.


Recovery: One of the most important aspects of training, recovery is the body’s way of harnessing all of the gains possible from the hard work you will put in preparing for your race. Recovery includes sleep, massage therapy, easier workouts and so much more. Regularly scheduling recovery days (both active and inactive) as well as recovery weeks is fundamental to long-term success.


Fun (Play): Let’s be real for a moment: as adults, most of us kind of suck at having fun. Over time we lose touch with our inner child - growing up has a way of doing that to you. Making room for fun in in all aspects of your life makes living so much more enjoyable and rewarding. It feels better. And when you are enjoying your life more, you are able to be more consistent with the things you care about. That’s why we think it’s so important to include fun and play as a key component of triathlon training.


On Goals and Outcomes

As in all things success and training, having goals in mind from the beginning is key to attaining your desired outcomes. That being said, here are the outcomes that this program aims to achieve for you.


This program will:


1) Develop endurance required for olympic distance triathlons and shorter.

2) Create a firm athletic foundation by focusing on strength, mobility and movement quality to make sure you are a durable and efficient human being.

3) Create programming that is challenging yet flexible so you can make training fit around life and get results!

4) Teach you how best to recover and when to make guilt-free judgement calls in favor of recovery.

5) Leave you with a basic nutrition game plan, both throughout training and on race day.

6) Enable you to have fun!


Want to Make It Even More Interactive?

If you are a visual person or would like to have this whole plan be more interactive and intuitive, I highly recommend using TrainingPeaks to log your training. It makes it incredibly easy to sync up with your devices and keep a running record of your training.


To make it even easier, this entire plan and all of it’s workouts are available to be downloaded into your TrainingPeaks account, making it super easy for you to take the templates, visualize them against your other responsibilities and quickly adjust them to your life.


If you want to snag that, you can grab the TriStrong program for TrainingPeaks here.


The Time is Now

With that out of the way, why don’t we get started? It’s time. What do you say? The next step is to look at the programming guide so you can equip yourself with the tools that will help you make this program your very own.



Dale K.


In just 18 months, Shawn has helped me go from a complete beginner to a half-ironman finisher. He understands my busy schedule and writes plans that fit into my life and pushes me to do my best. Shawn has helped me to aim big and meet goals that I used to think were out of reach!



Diane B. (Currently training for 2017 Ironman Chattanooga)



One year ago I could not swim, I was injured and defeated…..this year however, I finished multiple Sprint  an Olympic and a half IM distance tri—even better accomplished , I found joy, purpose and what moves me.  Beyond my wildest dreams I found what moved me was to accomplish a full Ironman.  


Jill W. (Currently training for 2017 Ironman Chattanooga)



Before training with Shawn, I could barely swim 100 yards without stopping.  After 5 lessons and a few months of hard work, I completed a 1.2 mile swim in 22 minutes and 32 seconds during my first race!  Special thanks to Shawn and the current of the Hudson River for helping me achieve my goals amidst the never ending demands of a fast paced, on-the-go lifestyle.


Chad M.



Having an interest in endurance sports, I started with Shawn overweight, out of shape and unhealthy from all angles.  I quickly learned that what I was getting into would eat up a great deal of time and Shawn helped me continuously work towards my goals no matter the ever changing kaleidoscope of life. 

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