Posted in Triathlon
man running into sea wearing dhb wetsuit

Rick Kiddle was one of the first ever triathletes in Britain. In this training guide he provides a comprehensive training model for beginner level triathletes looking to improve their performances.

Rick has 20 years competition experience and 20 years coaching knowledge. He is an established British Triathlon Federation Level 3 Coach, as well as a tutor and assessor for the National Open Water Coaching Association. His knowledge will prove invaluable to first time triathletes...

Rick Kiddle Profile

Let's get started!

Congratulations: you are about to embark on your latest life challenge – that of swimming, cycling and running yourself to becoming a triathlete. For most it starts with a shorter distance such as a ‘Sprint Triathlon” which consists of a non-stop swim 750m, bike 20km and run 5km.

It is possible for someone to train himself or herself to the fitness required to finish a sprint triathlon in around nine weeks, unless they are starting with debilitating factors such as being a ‘non-swimmer’ or ‘very overweight’ for example. Even then, most can complete the training needed, provided they are healthy and in relatively good condition. Although these are very subjective levels you need to use common sense and make informed judgments.

Training Plan

Basic Tracking – ‘Rick’s Rules’ NOTE: Put a HRM on and watch heart rates in these three zones. 1. Easy. 2. Steady, 3. Hard (see key for explanation). Write the heart numbers in those zones down when you train, as they will help you measure your performance and ultimately find your five heart rate zones for use in (see intermediate/advanced) programmes.

Block One: Weeks 1-3

  • Work out how many minutes each day you can train.
  • Divide that time into: 3 swims, 2-3 bikes, 2-3 runs (7-9 sessions a week)
  • For those with limited time combine the workouts: e.g. run to the pool, do a spin class followed by a run etc.
  • In block one the focus is on consistent movement and enjoyment.
  • One session ‘easy’ and two sessions ‘steady’ in all three disciplines.

Block Two: Weeks 4-6

  • Add 10% to how many minutes each day you can train.
  • Divide that time into: 3 swims, 3 bikes, 3 runs (9 sessions a week)
  • For those with limited time combine the workouts: e.g. run to the pool, do a spin class followed by a run etc.
  • In block two the focus is on technique, consistency and endurance.
  • One session ‘easy’ and two sessions ‘steady’ in all three disciplines.

Block Three: Weeks 7-9:

  • Add 10% to how many minutes each day you can train.
  • Divide that time into: 3 swims, 3 bikes, 3 runs (9 sessions a week)
  • For those with limited time combine the workouts: e.g. run to the pool, do a spin class followed by a run etc.
  • In block three the focus is on technique, consistency, endurance and threshold building or as Rick likes to say “expanding the fat burning range!”
  • One session ‘easy’, one session ‘steady’ and one session hard in all three disciplines.

KEY OF TERMS:

  • Easy = (breath in and out the nose or RPE 4-5)
  • Steady = (breath in the nose and out the mouth or RPE5-6)
  • Hard = (breath in and out the mouth – can talk a little but not a conversation or RPE 6-8)
  • RPE = Rate of Perceived Exertion – a scale of 1-10 (1 = asleep, 10 = as hard as you can go!)
  • HRM = Heart Rate monitor
  • Goals = achievable dreams!

Triathlon Beginners

Goal Setting

  • Vision: – have a vision of what you are trying to achieve.  e.g. is it to finish, lose weight, to post a time or perhaps win your local triathlon!!
  • Set short, mid & longer term goals. These can be broad or more specific
  • Tracking and measuring. Following a programme can be very useful as it will improve the focus plus quality and quantity of the training.
  • Feedback and plan adjustments: - try to get as much feedback on your technique and plans and be prepared at the beginning to adapt this as you find out how quickly you are developing.

A coach would be able to tell you very quickly whether you have set realistic or unrealistic goals. This normally comes in the form of a questionnaire or a conversation. Best case is a face to face, which involves some form of swim, bike run and fitness analysis. To maximize your time spent training you should get yourself a coach – you can get a triathlon coach for as little as £85 a month who can provide plans and offer advice on how to get the best out of your body.

Triathlon Beginners

Kit Advice

At the beginning it is not always about having the best and most expensive equipment. You may not do more than the one event and it would be a waste of money to overspend on something you will not make use of. As long as it is safe and fit for purpose then it will suffice until you decide this is a sport you wish to continue in longer term. (See intermediate/advanced level for my advice on upgrading)

STARTER PACK - Competition and training essentials for the novice.

Here is Rick’s ‘Basic Budget Guide’ to get you started with decent equipment but on a budget: “This is more than enough kit for those doing their first triathlon and not wishing to spend too much until they have definitely got the bug”

Weight and Diet

Do you feel your weight could potentially be holding you back? Weight and dieting – it is no shock that most of the people get into triathlon because they want to look and feel leaner.  However, it is paramount that your nutrition is right, not just when you are racing, but also when you are training.

In the novice programme we want to make it simple and easy for you so I have given you ten guidelines to follow. If this isn’t enough information please go to the intermediate / advance level for your next step!

RKC Novice Nutrition Steps 1-10

  1. Eat five meals a day: these consist of – breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, evening meal
  2. Drink at least 2 litres of water a day
  3. Reduce sugary foods
  4. Cut out refined sugar altogether
  5. Limit your overall carbohydrate intake
  6. Up your protein intake
  7. Increase fibre content
  8. Weigh yourself regularly
  9. Gradually reduce overall volume of calories by reducing portion size by 10%
  10. Be consistent

Rick Says “Be amazed and feel great –you could see great results if you have never followed these ten steps”

Wiggle Portsmouth Triathlon 2013