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How Should I Set up a Triathlon Training Schedule?

Ken Black
Ken Black

Coming up with a triathlon training schedule can be a very tough task, especially for beginners who may not know how much training time to devote to each specific discipline. Unlike other types of training, like that needed to run a marathon, the triathlete must look at more than one very demanding form of cardiovascular exercise. That can not only be tiring, it can also be confusing.

Fortunately, as with marathon race training, the concepts involved, at least for beginners, are very similar. The best word of advice when devising a triathlon training schedule is to not overdo it. Forcing one's body beyond its limits means the technique will break down, thus increasing the risk of injury and promoting bad habits. Also, it is always good to recognize pain when it comes. Even if following a regular triathlon training schedule, there could be times when it is good to deviate slightly from that schedule.

Triathlons include a running component.
Triathlons include a running component.

The best time to set up a triathlon training schedule is as long as possible before the event. This allows the athlete to not rush into things in order to get ready for the competition. It is best to allow at least 12 to 16 weeks before the event. However, keeping in good shape prior to that time is always a good idea.

A simple triathlon training schedule to follow calls for doing a little running, biking and swimming the first week, all on successive days. Running at least 15 minutes, biking five miles (eight kilometers) and then swimming 200 yards (183 meters) that first week is a good start. However, for those who are used to one of these disciplines, they may be able to even do a little more than this the first week or two. The key is to make sure they have something left for the following day's routine.

People might bike before work when training for a triathlon.
People might bike before work when training for a triathlon.

By the end of the second, week the running and swimming should be combined and the bicycle riding should be up to eight miles (12.87 kilometers). This helps start to build that endurance needed, but also tells the body more than one discipline will be needed during the exercise session. However, if there are problems keeping this schedule and there is time to spare before the competition, it may be a good idea to slow down.

It is during the fifth week that it is advisable to take one day a week and combine all exercises into one. This should be done using the same times and distances the athlete has been training out for these exercises individually. While this may seem like a demanding triathlon training schedule, the body must learn what is expected. By the end of week 11 or week 12, the participant should be up to the distance that will be required in the event he or she has entered into.

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    • Triathlons include a running component.
      By: Maridav
      Triathlons include a running component.
    • People might bike before work when training for a triathlon.
      By: david hughes
      People might bike before work when training for a triathlon.