Seven days in the life of an Olympic medal-winning triathlete - in other words, Alistair and Jonny Brownlee

Ever wondered what an Olympic triathlete has to do to get in medal-winning shape?

Well the Brownlee brothers, Alistair and Jonny, certainly know what it takes after dominating the Olympic triathlon to win gold and silver, respectively.

Alistair became the first triathlete ever to retain an Olympic title and the Brownlees were the first British brothers to finish one and two in an individual event.

The brothers are among those who train at the University of Leeds, where world-class sports science and development facilities are now setting the standard in the sport.

This is what their typical training schedule looks like, courtesy of Leeds Triathlon Centre. And, as you might expect, it's not for the faint hearted (even those sessions the centre describes as 'easy' would probably be anything but for us)...


The week starts with an 80-minute steady run with a heart rate of 120 beats per minute, followed by strength and conditioning drills, a hard swim and a two-hour 'easy' bike ride.


Most mere mortals would barely be able to move after Monday's exertions, but the programme continues on Tuesdays with an easy swim, a 40-minute easy run and one easy hour on the bike, rounded off by a hard track running session lasting 15 minutes, getting the heart rate up to 170bpm.

the brothers cycle (Mike Egerton/PA)
(Mike Egerton/PA)


The day begins in the water again with an easy swim to get the blood pumping, followed by a 75-minute easy run. The day is rounded off by a three-and-a-half-hour bike ride.


Back to the water, but this time for a hard swim with an hour's easy run to follow. Next up is a two-hour bike session, with 20 minutes' worth of more intensive riding within it.

the brothers collapse at the end (David Goldman/AP)
(David Goldman/AP)


On the face of it the easiest day - or as easy as life ever is for a triathlete training for the Olympics. It begins with an easy swim, a strength and conditioning programme and the weekday programme concludes with an easy run and easy bike ride. But anyone tempted to celebrate by going to the pub might want to think again because...


... the weekend begins with a hard 30-minute running session of 160bpm. Next up is a three-and-a-half hour easy bike ride - although by this point in the week can any bike ride be classed as easy? The day ends with a 30-minute easy run.


The seven-day programme concludes with a four-hour easy bike ride and an easy run lasting an hour and 40 minutes. And then before you know it, it's Monday again.

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