triathlon training program

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					                              Beginner Triathlete Training Program

There are a few things you need to consider when getting started a training program. First off is to go to
your doctor and get a check up to make sure you are safe to start training. After this you will then need a
few key pieces of equipment:

         Pool, you will need access to a pool or some open water, there are lots of pools available, look
          for one that is close to home, in your price range and has lane swimming at appropriate times
          for your schedule
         Goggles, a pair that fits your face, doesn’t leak and doesn’t fog up are the keys
         Bathing suit
         Possibly a wetsuit for swimming in open water, if you don’t want to purchase one you can rent
          these from a local shop or use an old windsurfing/ diving one

         In the beginning any properly operating bike will do, mountain bike, hybrid whatever you
          have access to. The keys are that you get it checked at the local bike shop to make sure its
          working properly and its safe and that you have a decent position on it to help prevent injury
         Helmet, it needs to fit properly and you need to wear it!
         Sunglasses, helps to keep grit out of your eyes and allows you to see the road better
         Bike shorts, helps make the ride more comfortable!
         Sunscreen
         In the beginning riding in your running shoes is fine, but upgrading to bike shoes and clip less
          pedals will make your riding more efficient

         Proper running shoes, go to a good running store and have your running gait assessed and get
          the most appropriate shoes for you, this can greatly reduce the risk of injury
         Running clothing
         Sunscreen


This program is geared towards a beginner triathlete looking to complete a sprint distance triathlon. To
know if you are ready to start the program you should be able to complete the first week of training, if
this is too much you should spend more time focusing on the areas that are challenging for you.

For the run section of the program, athletes who are new to running should be doing a run/walk. Start
with 1min of running and 1min of running and each week add another minute of running while
maintaining the 1min of walking.


The bulk of your training should be done at a comfortable intensity level, you can use certain cues to
help determine this. If you are able to comfortably hold a conversation then you are working at an
appropriate intensity level, if you are breathing so deeply that you can’t talk you are likely going too
hard, this intensity will be ok for short periods (ie hills) but not for the whole workout.

Swimming is the most technique oriented of the 3 sports and it can be very worth while to have a coach
look at your swim stroke to help give you some quick pointers that can make a big difference right from
the start. Otherwise the main goals in the beginning are to be comfortable in the water and build your

The swim distances set out in the plan can be broken down into smaller chunks so a 200m swim can be
broken down into 4x50m with a short (5-15sec) rest after each 50, in the beginning this will allow you to
recover and focus on your technique a bit more. Slowly work up so that you can swim the whole distance
as set out in the plan without stopping. What you are aiming for here is to be able to swim the distance
comfortably, so don’t fight the water, you are looking for a balanced efficient stroke that doesn’t waste

Open water swimming, this is quite different than swimming in a pool and needs to be practice prior to
your race. No longer having the black line to follow and a pool deck to grab on to, can be quite
intimidating for many athletes. When swimming open water you should always swim with a buddy as
well as wearing a bright swim cap so that you are visible to others. Learning to sight and swim straight
are 2 keys to work on while swimming in the open water, use landmarks (ie house, tower, tree) as
markers to determine how straight you are going. This is where a wetsuit is very useful, not only will it
keep you warm but it provides a great deal of flotation that will make you faster and feel safer. Just make
sure to put your wetsuit on properly it needs to be pulled on as high as it can go so that it doesn’t restrict
your shoulders. Ideally your weekend brick workout starting in the 7th week will have an open water
swim to start.


The goal of the program is to gradually build the time (and distance) you are able to complete
comfortably. The route you choose to ride will help to dictate the intensity of your ride, so choose a
route with some hills but not so long or so steep that they leave you struggling to get to the top. Focus
on your cadence while riding (a cycling computer can be handy for this) and change your gears to try
and keep your cadence between 80-100 with 90+ being preferable, this will help make your run off the
bike feel better.

For each make sure that you warm up and warm down, so the first 15min and last 5min should be nice
and easy and your breathing should be very light


The goal of the program run is to build your endurance on the run and to gradually build the time and
distance you are able to run comfortably. Again those who are new to running should start with 1min of
walking and 1min of running, and each week add another minute of running while maintaining the
walking breaks.

Your runs should be kept to a comfortable effort level, you should be breathing somewhat deeply but
be able to maintain a conversation. As with the bike the intensity of you runs is influenced by your
selection of route, so the more hills the more intense the run maybe, so in the beginning choose flatter
routes and add more hills as you progress. Again make sure that you warm up and warm down, so the
first 5-10min and last 5min should be nice and easy and your breathing should be very light.


A brick refers to a workout that has a bike followed by a run and was coined due to how in the
beginning your legs feel like “bricks” when you run off the bike. The goal of this type of workout is to
prevent that brick feeling in your legs on race day!
You can also have a swim/bike brick, and this is good practice as well, even though its not quite as
tough as the run off the bike, changing from a horizontal, arm focused sport to a vertical leg oriented
one does take some practice, and the more you practice the better it will feel come race day.

Bricks are also an opportunity to practice your transitions. You need to be organized ahead of time and
know what needs to come off (like wetsuit, goggles, swim cap) and what goes on (helmet, bike shoes,
bike shorts) for each transition, this will also help to make race day much smoother. One of the big keys
is making sure you don’t start off too quick in the next sport, many athletes get very excited getting out
of the water or getting off the bike and they rush through transition and go sprinting down the road, only
to have this catch up to them very quickly. You should be smooth and efficient through transitions and
start the next leg at a controlled comfortable effort level.


The goal of this program is to give you some idea of some of the things you need to think about when it
comes to getting started in triathlon and a basic training plan to give you some ideas on what type of
training you need to do to be ready for the big day. Finding good training partners can help to make
your training a lot of fun, or working with a coach can really help you to avoid a lot of the common
pitfalls that occur when you are getting started and help answer all of the questions that you will have.

Good Luck!

Nigel Gray is the Head Coach of NRG Performance Training. Nigel has been racing professionally for
the last 14 years and coaching for the last 9. He has helped athletes from beginners to top 10 Ironman
Pro’s achieve their goals. For more information please visit .
                          10 WEEK PLAN
 WEEK      Day 1      Day2       Day3    Day4     Day5    Day6    Day7
           Swim        Bike       Run              Bike    Run
                                          OFF                     OFF
   1       200M       30min      20min            40min   15min

   2       Swim        Bike       Run
                                          OFF      200
            300       40min      30min                    20min
           Swim        Bike       Run              300     Run
   3        400       40min      40min
                                                   Bike   25min
   4       Swim        Bike       Run
                                                   200     Run
Recovery    200       30min      20min             Bike   15min
                      BRICK              Swim
           Swim        40min      Bike    400              Bike    Run
   5        500     bike/15min   30min    Run
                                                          70min   45min
                        run              25min
                      BRICK              Swim
           Swim        40min      Bike    400              Bike    Run
   6        600     bike/20min   30min    Run
                                                          80min   55min
                        run              30 min
   7       OFF
                       Run        Bike
                                          200     OFF
                                                           300     Run
Recovery              20min      30min                     Bike   30min
                      BRICK              Swim             Swim
           Swim        40min      Bike    500              500     Run
   8        700     bike/20min   30min    Run
                                                           Bike   60min
                        run              30min            80min
                      BRICK              Swim             Swim
           Swim        40min      Bike    600              700     Run
   9        800     bike/20min   30min    Run
                                                           Bike   70min
                        run              35min            90min
  10                  BRICK                                Bike
 Race      Swim        20min              Bike            20min
                                 OFF              OFF             Day!
 Week       800     bike/10min           20min             Run
                        run                               10min