Triathlon Training for Beginners

Have you decided to face the enormous challenge of preparing for a triathlon? If you have, this training routine may serve as a guide to reach your goals.
Triathlon Training for Beginners

Last update: 31 March, 2019

A triathlon is a sporting event that requires dedication, perseverance, and above all, a lot of training. In this article, we’ll share some tips to help you start the journey to becoming a triathlete. Read along!

As in the discipline itself, triathlon training combines swimming, cycling and running. When competing, these three sports are performed continuously. Being a triathlete demands an optimal physical state to perform intense activities continuously.

Triathlon training model

In the year 2000, the triathlon debuted as an Olympic sport in Sydney. Since then, it’s received worldwide recognition. As we previously mentioned, there are three sports that make up the triathlon. The act of alternating one sport with another is known as transition. Here are the stipulated distances for each sport:

  • Swimming: 0.93 miles in Olympic competitions and 0.46 miles in sprint triathlons.
  • Cycling: 25 miles in Olympic competitions and 12.5 miles in sprint triathlons.
  • Running: 6.2 miles in Olympic competitions and 3.1 miles in sprint triathlons.

When it comes to minors, distances are generally shorter. Preparing for a triathlon can be complicated for beginners since it includes three different exercises. If possible it’s always better to consult with a professional trainer, however, you can choose to practice the following exercises:

Swimming training

This is a discipline that most people perform either at the beach or in the pool. Swimming as a sport, however, requires compliance of certain technical aspects in order to perform well in the water.


That being said, the technique is indispensable when it comes to the swimming segment of the triathlon.

Swimming with improper techniques can cause poor performance. On the contrary, if you’re swimming with an appropriate technique, you’ll be more fluid in the water. This will benefit you when it comes to increasing speed and saving energy for the final stages of the triathlon.

You can train for the swimming segment in the following ways:

  • Monday and Wednesday: focus on improving your technique. Take these two days to develop your skills in the water. Make sure you use the right muscles to perform the necessary movements. After training, your muscular memory will assimilate your improvements and you’ll be able to carry them out with greater speed.
  • Tuesday and Thursday: try out a routine that is more demanding. Increase your speed while training. Your goal should be to reduce the time it takes you to reach the finish line.

Cycling training

The cycling segment is usually difficult due to fatigue from the previous swimming segment. After finishing the swimming segment, take a few minutes to stabilize your heart rate before you begin your cycling training.

Man with bike

As you train, you’ll be able to reduce your recovery time in order to make transitions without problems. The following are ways to train for cycling:

  • Take one day a week to train for cycling exclusively. When cycling try out different routes and cycle on different surfaces to develop strength and endurance.
  • After swimming training, you can perform cycling for 30 minutes.
  • Once you can cope with swimming plus thirty minutes of cycling, you can begin to establish distances. For example, you can start with seven miles and then increase the distance by 2.5 miles after every two weeks of training.

Running training

Training for running may sound simple, however, it takes a lot more effort than you think. You’ll need to learn how to control your breathing. It’s important to administer oxygen to your muscles continuously while running. Breathing appropriately will also help you to conserve energy.

Here are a few ways to carry out your running training:

  • You can dedicate two days a week to training. It’s important to maintain good posture, a stable breathing pattern and good technique.
  • After training for swimming or cycling, you can carry out 60 minutes of light jogging. As you train, you will be able to establish appropriate distances. As with cycling training, you can try to increase the distance you run every two weeks.
Man training

Don’t forget about the transitions

Transitions are very important when it comes to performing well during a triathlon and therefore you cannot leave them out of your training regime. Try to practice transitions and learn how to join the end of a segment with the beginning of the next seamlessly.

Likewise, do not forget the details such as strapping on your helmet correctly and tying your shoes properly. When you start to train for the three segments continuously, remember to train for transitions as well.

In conclusion, training for triathlons should be dynamic. Try to keep energetic while training for each of the three segments. Train hard, eat well, hydrate properly and rest adequately in order to allow your body to recuperate for the next training session. Don’t stop training!

It might interest you...
Fundamentals of Cycling that Every Cyclist Should Know
Fit People
Read it in Fit People
Fundamentals of Cycling that Every Cyclist Should Know

Cycling is a passionate sport that is highly rewarding for those who dedicate the training time it deserves. Read about the fundamentals of cycling...


All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

The contents of this publication are written for informational purposes. At no time do they facilitate or replace the diagnoses, treatments, or recommendations of a professional. Consult your trusted specialist if you have any doubts and seek their approval before beginning any procedure.