Why train for a triathlon?
Triathlon is a demanding sport and if you are just starting out, preparation and training is what will ensure you have the most enjoyable experience. All triathletes need to have a solid swim, cycle and run training schedule. It doesn't matter if you're doing a sprint race or an Ironman race; a sound training platform will provide you with the mental and physical conditioning required to compete in your particular triathlon event.
This guide gives you an overview of how to structure training, and we also provide you with our top triathlon training tips to help you get started!
How to structure your training
For many of us, you have to structure your training around your work commitments. As a general rule training for up to 3 months before an event will yield a great race day result. Any longer, your body can begin to get fatigued to the point you will not perform at your best on race day!
Depending on the distance can depend greatly on the time spent in the pool, on the bike or running.The below table will help understand a rough guide to the time you need to dedicate to training:
Triathlon training tips
- Be realistic: Can you dedicate the training required for your best performance? What is your objective for training? To beat a Personal Best (PB), to 'finish' or to come first? Whatever it is, write it down so you can always remind yourself ensuring you stay motivated all the way up to race day.
- Focus on weak points: For many, swimming can be the most neglected of all disciplines. Balance your training to ensure any niggles are addressed before race day.
- Hire a Coach: At the cost of monthly gym membership, this may be out of reach. If it is possible, even if for just one event, you will learn loads from professional coaches trained to push you and ensure you reach your goal.
- Join a Tri club: For a small annual contribution, you can be motivated, learn loads and train with like minded people. For newcomers to the sport and unsure of where to turn, a triathlon club can be a great start into the triathlon world.
- Do research: Picking up a copy of 220 Triathlon, Triathlon Plus or Triathlete Europe (while not an exhaustive list) will always include great training tips.
- Do Brick sessions: The most loathed training by triathletes however the most beneficial should you be aiming for the fastest time.Dedicating at least one brick session in your weekly training will yield great returns on race day.
- Train with others: Seems simple yet may be hard for some, getting out with others will help your motivation as training by yourself can become very mundane (especially for the longer distances)
- Transition training: Planning your kit and how you'll arrive to it after the swim or bike is essential. The simplest way to practice is to recruit a friend, head outside to a local park/open area with all your cycle and run kit. Practice coming off your bike, running to your kit, putting on your run kit and running off. You can also do this with swimming and getting in and out of your wetsuit to then get on your bike.
- Race optimised training: You will quickly learn from fellow triathletes using new triathlon kit on race day is the worst move. This applies from nutrition, the wetsuit you use, the race gear you'll run and cycle in and the shoes you run in.
Triathlon training essentials
Training guides / books
Velopress produce some great triathlon specific training guides to educate and motivate you on the journey to your next triathlon.
Heart Rate Monitor
Even if you are just getting into Triathlon, making the investment into a heart rate monitor can be a great way to track your progress.
Indoor training with turbo training
Don't let bad weather stop you training! Get on your turbo trainer to take advantage of a focused indoor training session.
For the shorter bike training sessions use rollers - they are a fantastic training tool to improve your balance and pedalling efficiency.