Karen Parnell

Electronic Triathlon Training Plan or Training Book?

November 12, 2021


By Karen Parnell

 If you are a triathlete, runner, swimmer or cyclyst training for a specific event your know you will need structured training to reach or exceed your goal or smash your A race. There are many ways to do this from buying a training book, joining a local club, downloading a free training plan PDF, engaging a 121 coach or purchasing a training plan from a training platform like Final Surge.

In this blog we will discuss the differences between buying a training book or buying a training plan from a platform.

Triathlon Training Books

Many triathletes have reached their training goals by purchasing a triathlon training book. Books are packing with a plethora of information on training phases, training sessions, nutrition & hydration advice and more. Once you purchase one you can follow the level of plan your require (beginner, intermediate or advanced) and read all the relevant sections as many times as you want. Many contain a matrix of training sessions which you need to piece together and probably type up or write out before each session.

The books will be based on the training principles of the day it was written so if you buy a book published many years ago it may be a little out of date but if you stick to the plan you will probably meet your goals.

Choosing a book has shown that you know you need guidance and structure to your training which is a big step towards meeting your goals.

Training Plans delivered via a Training App

Training plans devliered via an App like Final Surge are relatively new but gaining traction for a number of reasons. The plans are written by professional coaches and delivered to your phone, table or PC daily, weeky, monthly or annually depending on your preferences.

Many training platforms like Final Surge are FREE for athletes so you can sign up quickly and easily to start using a structured plan. You can choose a plan from the online store based on your specific needs from a coach you like. The coaches bio is usually there so you can check out their credentials and read athlete testimonials. Most of the App sites let you filter down to event type, distance, how many weeks you have to train before your event and even race name! 

As you can see you can get really specific with what plan you need. Once you have selected your plan you purchase it and that´s a one time fee. You assign it to your athlete area and start the plan. Your sessions come through every day and most plans include structured sessions so you can train to RPE, Heart Rate or Power. You can even download your session to your Garmin, Polar or other device so no more writing down your sessions. Some plans include session compatible with Zwift, The Suff, Trainer Road etc.

Because they are electronic they will be using the latest training methodologies and some even include the ability to email your coach for extra advice or join their facebook group. You can also swap sessions around if you can´t get to the swimming that day for example. You should also get videos of swimming drills, running drills, execises and more embedded in each training session so you always know what you need to do.

This table shows the main differences between book and App based training plan:


As you can see there are pros and cons for each method of training and it comes down to your budget, how you like to train and whether you would like to train with the latest techniques. The price differential is not that great so maybe take a look at Final Surge or other training platform to see if there´s a plan for you?

You can take a look at some training plan examples HERE.

Would you like a free training plan? Claim your free plan or e-book.

Would you like to talk about your training? Get in touch here.

Karen Parnell is a Level 3 British Triathlon and IRONMAN Certified Coach, NASM Personal Trainer and Sports Technology Writer.