Pin Me

Beginner Training for a Triathlon

written by: CatNorth • edited by: Cheryl Gabbert • updated: 3/21/2011

Are you ready to take on the challenge of a triathlon competition? Find out what you need to do to begin a triathlon training program, what exercises to perform and how often to perform them during training.

  • slide 1 of 5

    Triathlons are some of the most challenging sports competitions available to independent athletes. A triathlon is a combination of marathon running, cycling and swimming events “on steroids” all rolled into one tough competition. One of the most famous triathlons is the Ironman competition, and athletes from all over the world compete for the honored Ironman title. However, you can find many local triathlon events within the U.S. to compete in, and training is part of the fun and challenge. Strive for ultimate fitness and your personal best with beginner training for a triathlon.

  • slide 2 of 5

    Coaching and Partnering

    If you’re just beginning a triathlon training program, a trathlete coach can help you learn and properly perform training exercises. A coach can also help you monitor your training intensity and pace. Depending on your fitness level, it’s important not to over-exert yourself during training, and a coach can help you perform at a level that will encourage your growth as a triathlete. However, you can also join a workout group for beginning triathletes that can help you stay on track and challenged. Workout partners are often great motivators and can help you stay focused on your goals. Find various beginner triathlon training groups via city links and fitness organizations in your metropolitan area. You can also get free online triathlete training guidance through various organizations, such as BeginnerTriathlete.com2 or Tri-newbies Online3. Start your new triathlon training early and well ahead of your desired triathlon competition date. Depending on your current fitness level, it could take you up to a year to reach your desired fitness goals.

  • slide 3 of 5

    Bicycling

    You don’t need a road bike to start your triathlete training. Of course, you will need a well-made road bike eventually for competions, and you can find decent used road bikes at a reasonable cost, through bike dealers and online auction sites, that you can use for training. However, a stationary bike will suffice and give you the necessary cycling workout you need for beginner training for a triathlon. Start out riding for 30 minutes three times a week. Gaining speed and distance isn’t important in the earliest stages of training, but consistency is key. Make sure you complete your 30-minute riding sessions on alternating days of the week.

  • slide 4 of 5

    Jogging

    Follow the same training principal for running. Speed and distance should not be a main concern for a beginner training for triathlons. Start with an hour of jogging and walking three to four times per week. It’s okay to only walk at first. Eventually, you’ll build up enough strength and stamina to jog the entire hour. Once you reach this level, you can work on speed, but realize that if you’re not used to jogging, it will take some time to reach this level.

  • slide 5 of 5

    Swimming

    Although you may have taken swim lessons when you were a kid and can hold your own in the swimming pool, preparing for triathlons may require additional swim lessons. Some people are surprised to discover their swimming techniques need improvement once they start training for a triathlon. Keep in mind that swimming is a challenging sport, especially if you’re racing. Get the support you need so that you don’t struggle with this portion of training, or worse, put yourself in a dangerous situation in water. It’s best to practice your beginner swim training for a triathlon in a controlled environment with plenty of people around and a lifeguard on duty, such as at your local YMCA. Make sure you can swim laps safely without bumping into others, and wear the right gear, such as swim goggles. For women, you’ll need a swim cap since it’s the best way to keep your hair away from your face during laps. Practice swimming laps for 30 minutes a day, every other day. Work on speed once you can easily complete 30-minute lap-swimming sessions.