Sprint Triathlon Training Program for Beginners

New to triathlon? If you’re looking to compete in your first-even triathlon event, but are too intimated by half or full distance triathlons, you can try out the sprint triathlon! Sprint triathlons – which vary in distances but are usually around a 750-yard swim, 12-mile bicycle ride and 3-mile run – are an excellent entry point to the sport and are achievable for almost anyone. 

If you’re now committed to competing in a sprint triathlon, the next step is to figure out your training plan. Not sure where to start? In this article, we discuss triathlon training tips as well as a quick sprint triathlon training program that will help you reach that finish line! 

Sprint Triathlon Training Program: Before You Start

Before starting a sprint triathlon training program, you should be in good health and injury free. You should be able to at least swim 100 yards non-stop without excessive stress. Your general fitness should allow for around 20 minutes of non-stop cycling, and around 10 minutes of continuous running. 

Sprint Triathlon Training: Program Components

Whether you choose to follow a structured training plan, or if you simply decide to ‘wing it’, there are 3 underlying characteristics of a successful training routine. 

  • Consistency. Improvements in aerobic fitness come with repeated, consistent training. Swim, bike, and run most days of the week, for at least 8 to 12 weeks, and you will most likely successfully cross the finish line of your race. Following a structured training program will definitely maximize your speed and preparation, but consistency is still the most important component of any training program. 
  • Recovery. In a training plan, recovery is often two-fold. First, on a weekly basis, incorporate at least one rest day. Next, on a big-picture level, scale back your training with a lighter volume week at least every 3 to 6 weeks. Your body becomes stronger and more adaptable this way. This ‘periodized method’ can also reduce your injury risk. 
  • Mental Fitness. Why is it that some people are successful during training, yet underperform on the actual race day? For most people, it’s due to poor mental fitness. The quote, “We become what we think about most of the time,” applies here. If you’re struggling to find motivation and if you arrive at your first race feeling like you are going to fail, chances are you just may do so. 

Set a Triathlon Training Plan

When building your triathlon training plan, make sure to keep these in mind. 

  • When to start. Generally, if you are aiming to complete your first sprint triathlon, plan for at least 12 weeks of training before your event. If you are very healthy, physically fit, and are already familiar with swimming, cycling, and running, an 8-week training program could be enough. However, if you are starting from scratch, you may want to give yourself around 16 weeks to train. 
  • Establish your swim/cycling/run schedule. Ideally, you should complete a minimum of 2 sessions of each discipline (swim, cycle, and run) during the week. Also, make sure to include a ‘brick session’, which is your bike and run workout completed back-to-back (this can also be a swim/bike workout). Also, include an open water swim if your place is taking place in a body of water other than a swimming pool. 

Slowly build and increase your distances by no more than 10% each week. Before the race, you should be able to complete at least 10% more than the total race distance in each discipline – for a sprint, that translates to a 0.55-mile swim, a 13.6-mile bike ride and 3.4-mile run. 

  • Include resistance training. Make sure to include resistance training as part of your training program. This can be done after your main endurance work. Make sure to include exercises that strengthen the primary muscles required in each discipline, as well as create stability and mobility for an effective and healthy range of motion. 

For the swim, you also want to enhance strength in your shoulders, arms, and back, as well as create mobility in your trunk. For the bike, you should focus on increasing strength in your glutes, hamstrings, and quads, and creating stability in your chest and trunk. For the run, you want to build create through your shoulders and trunk, mobility through the hips, and build strength in your legs. 

  • Incorporate rest. Taking off a day or two every week is crucial for recovery. You can schedule rest days either before or right after your long brick workout, or both if you are including 2 rest days in your training program. 

Sample Sprint Triathlon Training Program

Now that you have a better idea about the important training program components, as well as how to set a triathlon training plan, here is a sample triathlon training program[1]. This 13-week sprint triathlon training plan is ideal for beginners.

As mentioned, before starting this sprint triathlon training program, you should be in good health and injury free. You should be able to at least swim 100 yards non-stop without excessive stress. Your general fitness should allow for around 20 minutes of non-stop cycling, and around 10 minutes of continuous running. If you can’t do these things yet, work on building a solid base first to get you there. Only then can you start this sprint triathlon training program. 

WeekMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
Week 1RestSwim: 300Bike: 20 minsRun:
15 mins
Swim:
300
Bike:
25 mins
Run:
15 mins
Week 2RestSwim: 400Bike: 25 minsRun:
20 mins
Swim:
400
Bike:
30 mins
Run:
20 mins
Week 3RestSwim:
500
Bike:
30 mins
Run:
25 mins
Fartlek
Swim:
500
Bike:
35 mins
Run:
25 mins
Week 4RestSwim:
WU: 200

Drills: 4×25

Main: 2×100

CD: 200
Bike:
35 mins
with
3×2
intervals
Run:
30 mins
Swim:
WU: 200
Drills: 4×25
Main: 2×100
CD: 200
Brick:
Bike
30 mins /
Run
10 mins
Run:
30 mins
Week 5
(Recovery)
RestSwim:
WU: 200

Drills: 4×25

Main: 2×100

CD: 200
Bike:
30 mins
Run:
25 mins
Swim:
WU: 200

Drills: 4×25

Main: 4×50
CD: 200
Bike:
35 mins
Run:
25 mins
Week 6RestSwim:
WU: 200

Drills: 4×25

Main: 2×200

CD: 200
Bike:
40 mins
with
5×1
intervals
Run:
30 mins
Swim:
WU: 200

Drills: 4×25

Main: 4×100
CD: 200
Bike:
45 mins
Run:
30 min
(10 easy
10 fast
10 easy)
Week 7RestSwim:
WU: 200

Drills: 4×25

Main: 2×200

CD: 200
Bike:
45 mins
with
2×5
intervals
Run:
35 mins
Open Water
Swim
Practice:
20 mins
Brick:
Bike
40 mins /

Run:
15 mins
Run:
40 mins
Week 8RestSwim:
WU: 200

Drills: 4×25

Main: 4×100
CD: 200
Bike:
50 mins
with
5×1
intervals
Run:
35 mins
Swim:
WU: 200

Drills: 4×25

Main: 4×75
CD: 200
Bike:
55 mins
Run:
35 mins
Fartlek
Week 9
(Recovery)
RestSwim:
WU: 200
Drills: 4×25

Main: 4×100

CD: 200
Bike:
40 mins
Run:
30 mins
Open Water
Swim
Practice:
20 mins
Bike:
45 mins
Run:
30 mins
Week 10RestSwim:
WU: 200

Drills: 4×25

Main: 3×200

CD: 200
Bike:
50 mins
(15 easy,
20 race
pace,
15 easy)
Run:
40 mins
Swim:
WU: 200

Drills: 4×25

Main: 5×100
CD: 200
Bike:
60 mins
Run:
35 mins
(10 easy
15 fast
10 easy)
Week 11RestSwim:
WU: 200

Drills: 4×25

Main: 5×100

CD: 200
Bike:
45 mins
Run:
45 mins
Open Water
Swim
Practice:
25 mins
Brick:
Bike
45 mins /
Run
15 mins
Run:
40 mins
Week 12RestSwim:
WU: 200

Drills: 4×25

Main: 6×100

CD: 200
Bike:
50 mins
(15 easy,
20 race
pace,
15 easy)
Run:
45 mins
Swim:
WU: 200

Drills: 4×25

Main: 5×75

CD: 200
Bike:
60 mins
Run:
35 mins
(10 easy
15 fast
10 easy)
Week 13
(Taper &
Race)
RestSwim:
WU: 200

Drills: 4×25

Main: 6×50

CD: 200
Bike:
30 mins
Run:
15 mins
RestRACE!


The Bottom Line

If you’re looking to compete in your first-even triathlon event, but are too intimated by half or full distance triathlons, you can try out the sprint triathlon! Sprint triathlons – which vary in distances but are usually around a 750-yard swim, 12-mile bicycle ride and 3-mile run – are an excellent entry point to the sport and are achievable for almost anyone. 

Whether you choose to follow a structured training plan, or if you simply decide to ‘wing it’, there are 3 underlying characteristics of a successful training routine: consistency, recovery, and mental fitness. 

Generally, if you are aiming to complete your first sprint triathlon, plan for at least 12 weeks of training before your event. If you are very healthy, physically fit, and are already familiar with swimming, cycling, and running, an 8-week training program could be enough. However, if you are starting from scratch, you may want to give yourself around 16 weeks to train. 

You can use the sprint triathlon training program here, or you can consult your own private trainer. Good luck!

Source:
https://www.verywellfit.com/the-complete-beginners-guide-to-sprint-triathlon-training-4172578

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