Train Like Champion Triathlete Heather Gollnick for a Week

Train Like Champion Triathlete Heather Gollnick for a Week
Presented by Spartan Training®

We all want to know: What makes the best-of-the-best Spartan athletes out there tick? How do they keep their edge? In our Train Like a Champion series, we dig into the details of a Heather Gollnick workout that keeps her on top. 

The One-Week Heather Gollnick Workout

Heather Gollnick spent a decade as a professional triathlete. She has five Ironman titles and over 200 multisport event wins. She also won the 2016 Spartan World Championship in the Masters division. Her training has always been cross-training focused given her background, but more recently, as she approaches 50 years old, she’s also focused on training for longevity. This means more swimming and biking are incorporated to keep the impact levels on her body low. 

After suffering an ankle fracture this year, Gollnick has been training in recovery mode and hasn’t been on her typical routine, but when she’s healthy, her week would include everything you’d expect to see from a highly-accomplished athlete: running, biking, swimming, strength, obstacle-specific, and core exercises. 

Related: Train Like a Champion: A Q&A with Heather Gollnick

This is a healthy one-week Heather Gollnick workout:

Saturday (or Sunday) 

Long Run: 2-3 hours preferably on trails.

The day is dependent on work/ travel with the University Team. The other day would be cross-training or off. Typically after a long trail run the cross-training session would be a swim to loosen legs but still get a cardiovascular workout if legs are tired. The main swim set is pulling (using paddles to work upper body more) or upper body focus after a long leg day.


Run 5-6 miles with “fartlek” work if recovered from the weekend run, if not just run at a moderate pace.

SWIM: 2,000 yards

200 warm-up with drills

6 x 100 moderate: 20

4 x 100 (50 pull - 50 swim): 20

2 x 300 long and smooth: 30

200 cool down


Bike Session 1.5 hours

Upper Body Grip Work: specific obstacles work or spear throw practice. Adding in: pull-ups, push-ups, grip hand changes until fatigue.


Run Hills: Quality high-intensity run or Speed work depending on what phase of training I am in.  

Speed: Warm-up 15 minutes then incorporate run drills and mobility work followed by 4 strides (30 meters each), then: 6 x 800 FAST descending 1-3 & 4-6 OR 6 x 400 meter Hill Repeats working hard (V02max uphill) and recovery down.

Related: Train Like a Champion: A Q&A With Ashley Heller


Swim: 3,000 yards

200 warm-up

6 x 150 (drill/swim/drill): 20

6 x 200 (long and smooth): 30 

6 x 100 (fast): 15 

2 x 50 sprint :20

200 cool down

Core Session


-20 mountain climbers

-Russian Twist 30x with weight

-15 v-ups, keep legs straight

-10 plank up / up / down / down (hold plank and use hand to elbow)

-Flutter kick core 1 minute (keep back rounded)

-1-minute skaters (side with one leg back to side with other leg back)

-30 bicycle crunches

Related: Heather Gollnick Talks Staying Fit as you Age


Run 4-5 miles easy on lunch break

When on the road traveling, incorporating a workout “no equipment” needed warmup then:

10 push ups 10 mountain climber crossovers 15 forward lunges each leg 15 v-ups 20 jump lunges 20 bicycle crunches 25 windshield wipers (core) 25 dips 30-sec wall sit right leg up 30-sec wall sit left leg up 25-sec plank (w/ superman lift opposite arm and leg) 25 glute bridges 20 single leg deadlift (10 each leg) 20 wide push-ups 15 reverse lunges each leg 15 tuck crunches 10 jump squats 10 burpees

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