How to train for a triathlon

August 6, 2021

Everyone who knows about triathlon will confidently say that this is not a sport for everyone. Only those who have a strong spirit can row in the water at full power so that they can then start a bike race. And after all, staggering from fatigue, join the fight on the running distance to the finish line. Despite the difficulties, this sport is gaining popularity among those who love movement, do not look for easy ways, and believe in victory. What should be the preparation for a triathlon from scratch to withstand all the challenges with dignity? The system is everything. This article tells all the subtleties that you need to take into account when preparing for competitions.

How to start training for a triathlon

Many beginners couldn't help but wonder how long does it take to train for a triathlon?

At least three months should be taken to prepare for the competition. Look for sprint competitions in triathlon and register. The sprint triathlon is a continuous race consisting of 750 meters of open water swimming, 20 km of cycling, and 5 km of running. Here the athlete will need iron endurance, crazy pace, and speed of passing the distance. The approximate plan, which this article shows, is suitable for a person of any level and age.

How to train for a triathlon in 3 months


To start training, you need to understand that you will participate in a swim, a bike, and a run race. So for all this, we will need approximately the following list:

For swimming:

  • a wetsuit for swimming in cold water;
  • buoy for swimming;
  • women's swimsuit or men's swimming trunks;
  • glasses for swimming in open water;
  • a swimming cap.

To participate in the bike race:

  • bicycle;
  • helmet;
  • bicycle shoes;
  • bicycle uniform;
  • cycling glasses;
  • tools.

For running races:

  • running shoes;
  • cap;
  • running form;
  • glasses.

Program for three months

Now you are ready to start training for a triathlon from scratch

Spend the first month setting the correct technique in all sports. Do not strive for Olympic heights. Exercise moderately. A general set of strength exercises should be added to the triathlon training program for beginners.
 At this stage, you need to monitor the indicators. The heart rate should not exceed 170 beats per minute. The optimal heart rate values are 120-160 beats/min. Take 45 minutes to 1.5 hours for classes. Try to study without fanaticism. It is significant to enjoy the training process itself.

Program for the first month

  1. Monday — rest.
  2. Tuesday —  swimming. Before the lesson, do 5 minutes of stretching. Devote half of the training to technique.
  3. Wednesday —  bicycle. Work out the correct landing technique, learn to ride standing up. You must become one whole with the bike.
  4. Thursday — running. The chosen running shoes should be comfortable. Pay a lot of attention to the technique. In the end, do stretching and strengthening exercises for the whole body.
  5. Friday — swimming. During the class, work on the correct technique and breath retention. You can find out how to train swimming for a triathlon in our blog. Do a set of exercises called "dry swimming".
  6.  Saturday — bicycle. The training can be longer. Do not exercise too much on high gears.
  7. Sunday — one hour of running. Try to maintain a pace of at least 170 steps per minute. Do not exceed the pulse rate above 140 beats per minute. Finish with stretching and a general set of exercises.

Program for the second month

 Under the condition of a responsible attitude to sports, the first month prepared the body for increased loads. From this moment, you can begin a short acceleration, lasting up to 1 minute. In these accelerations, give your best as much as possible. After that, rest, restoring your strength. Gradually increase the acceleration periods to 5 minutes. The common quantity should be from 4 to 8 times per workout. Monitor the pulse in the interval between 160-180 heartbeats.

Program for the third month

 Intensive exercises allow you to feel the difference. The muscles became stronger, the endurance increased. To understand your results, start performing some tests:

  • How long will it take to swim 800 meters?
  • Time to overcome 20 km by bike.
  • How fast will it be possible to run 5 km?

All tests are carried out on different days, taking time for a full recovery of the body. The tests will help you understand what success you have achieved in two months of training, and psychologically prepare you for participation in competitions. Next, adhere to the second-month program.

 It often happens that non-professional athletes begin to work hard in the last week. And as a result, they are physically exhausted. The participant of the race enters the competition, already being in the stage of physical and mental exhaustion. Therefore, it would be more reasonable to arrive at the competition site a week before the start. Get acquainted with the running and bike paths. Do not forget to bring a health certificate, which the organizers of the competition will require.


And finally, day X has arrived. You have been training hard for the past three months. The race will start with a total swim of 750 meters. Then you rush with all your might to the next stage of the competition. It should not be forgotten that the time between the start and the finish does not stop for a second.

 Try to properly allocate your forces so that they are enough to complete the entire distance. Do not forget about the average heart rate and speed recorded by you. Leave the main forces for the last dash, run the remaining 3 kilometers to the finish line at maximum speed.

Train for a triathlon. Tips.

Start small

Someone is watching the Olympic Games, someone is inspired by stories about "Ironman", and then the decision comes: "I have to do this!". But it is better to go with short distances, for example, with a sprint: 750 meters swimming, 20 km cycling and 5 km running. In terms of time and effort spent, this is comparable to a 15 km race, only the load will be completely different. Running a 5-kilometer triathlon will be easier than, for example, running a separate 5-km race, because you will distribute your forces quite differently. Some competitions are held at very short distances, for example, super sprints (400m-10 km-2.5 km). When you have a little experience, you can gradually switch to long distances.

You don't have to train a lot

You've probably heard about triathletes who train for 20 hours a week to finish in the Ironman. They ride a bike for six hours and run for another three hours on the weekend. Preparing for a short triathlon will not take you much time. You can train for three hours a week. If you have normal physical fitness, then you can prepare for a sprint by training once a week in the pool, once on a bike, and doing a couple of runs. If you pass at least three-quarters of each distance during training, then everything will be fine. Of course, it is better to do a little more, but if you do less, you will still succeed.

Don't buy a lot of equipment

If you have never been actively engaged in running, swimming and cycling, then the prospect of buying expensive wetsuits, bicycles, gadgets, and other equipment can scare you away. Professional triathletes ' expenses grow very quickly, especially if they chase the newest and coolest things. Super fancy units are not needed for the first race. Get on the bike that you have, if there is no one, buy a used one or ask a friend (provided that you can customize it for yourself). At the first start, it is not necessary to buy a wetsuit, if you decide that this sport is yours, there is always an opportunity to buy what you need later.

Find like-minded people

It will be much more pleasant to exercise if you have someone to share the joy of training with. Working in a group of triathletes will give you additional motivation. You will always be able to consult with more experienced comrades.

Learn to run after a bike race

It's good if you manage to try what it's like to get off the bike and immediately run. It's very difficult for everyone at first, but it all depends on your attitude.

Train in open water

Swimming in open water is not the same as along the path in the pool. Find an opportunity to swim in the river a couple of times to understand what awaits you. Learn to deal with excitement. It is the first stage that scares most people away from triathlon, even if they can swim. During training, stay close to others in the water, so as not to panic in the crowd of other swimmers on the start day.

Get ready

There is nothing wrong with being a naive beginner, but you need to know the rules of the competition in advance. Since this sport involves working side by side with other athletes, it is important to know the rules of triathlon etiquette. Before you participate in the race, go as a spectator to a couple of starts. Make a list so that you don't forget any of the things.

Only results matter

Most triathlon enthusiasts do not chase results, they prefer to enjoy the process itself. Gain experience, learn, work at a moderate pace. Get ready for the fact that after the swimming stage, the main excitement will go away, and on the bike stage it may suddenly seem to you that you are a wild mustang, and in the end, you will not have enough strength for anything. So ask yourself two questions: Will you be upset if you don't win your first race? And the second – Will you be upset if you can't finish in the first race at all?

Be proud of yourself

Few people who are not involved understand the difference between a sprint and an Ironman. If you say that you are preparing for a triathlon, they will be impressed anyway.

To train for a triathlon in 1 month is a goal that is often unattainable. Grueling training can affect your health. You can not do too much load. Take your time, enjoy, and take care of yourself.

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