Training Tips for Sprint Triathlon Beginners

More and more people are stepping into the world of triathlons and its tough combination of varied disciplines. To give these challenging competitions your absolute best effort, you'll have to remember these key factors.
Training Tips for Sprint Triathlon Beginners

Last update: 02 August, 2019

All over the world, more and more people are competing in triathlons. A triathlon combines three different athletic disciplines: swimming, cycling and running. Contestants perform in that order without a break in between the tasks.

In Olympic triathlons, contestants must swim 1,500 m, cycle 40 km and run 10 km. Sprint triathlons, however, aren’t as demanding and are great for beginners. Instead, in sprint triathlons, participants swim 750 m, cycle 20 km and run 5 km.

Most participants finish the race in one or two hours, although this varies depending on their physical condition. Many of them are originally runners or cyclists. In our post today, we have some great sprint triathlon training tips for beginners.

A simple triathlon training session

People who aspire to compete in a triathlon can get into shape by following a personal plan. But, of course, preparing with the help of a personal trainer is always an option as well.

Anyone who wants to can train for a triathlon by following some tips and a proper workout plan to reach the level they need to tackle the challenge.

Normal training plans are nine-weeks long. While nine weeks is usually sufficient for sprint triathlons, in exceptional cases such as obesity or being severely out-of-shape, more time might be necessary.

But with hard work, any healthy person that follows a proper diet can follow through training and finish a sprint triathlon.

sprint triathlon training

Training objectives

Beginners who are preparing for a sprint triathlon should spend at least one hour a day working out five or six days a week.

If you’re not a swimmer, swimming will be the discipline that requires maximum effort and dedication. To make sure you can finish the swimming portion of the triathlon, you should aim to be able to swim 1,000 m or for 30 consecutive minutes.

You should also take into account that the competition includes real stresses other than the actual distance of the swimming portion. For example, you’ll have to swim alongside hundreds of other competitors and not in a pool, but in the open sea.

For the cycling portion, you should train in order to be able to cycle for at least one hour and thirty minutes. Lastly, for the running portion, prepare to run at least 30 consecutive minutes.

You should also practice the transitions. Transitions are the times where you switch sports and all of the actions they imply such as changing clothes, shoes, etc.

Setting realistic goals and planning them on a short, medium and long-term timeline is essential. Not every beginner should hope to win a competition on their first try, especially if they’re not a professional athlete. The goals that each participant has can vary greatly.

Some examples of realistic goals might be finishing the competition, finishing in a certain time or being one of the first to finish in a local triathlon.

triathlon goals

Sprint triathlon workout plan

First things first, aspiring participants need to plan out a detailed workout schedule that, in addition to fitting in the time frame, suits their physical condition. Then, they need to follow it.

Working out at a faster and slower rhythm than actual competition time is essential, as is working out at actual competition speed. Also, try to avoid pushing your limits. Pushing your limits will exhaust your muscles, forcing you to move slower than the rhythm you need. To keep yourself on task, using a heart rate monitor during workouts can be very helpful.

Generally speaking, workout plans should have days that work on each discipline separately and days that combine them as well. You should include a special emphasis on swimming training as it tends to be the most difficult.

Ideally, your workout sessions should become longer while their intensities increase as well until you reach your objectives. Don’t forget that you should take at least one day of rest as well.

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