• Beginner Triathlon Training Plan

    beginner triathlete triathlon training plan first time

    Training for a triathlon can be a complicated process, especially if it's your first time. Follow this simple beginner's triathlon training plan to get you to the start line feeling your best and ready to race.

    What gear do I need for a triathlon?

    Before you begin your training, make sure you have all the gear you need to train and race. Triathlon is a complex sport with lots of moving parts, so you'll need a few different pieces of kit. Read our beginner's kit guide for first-time triathletes which outlines all of the gear you will need from a trisuit to running trainers and everything in between. 

    Related: Guide to triathlon gear

    swimming training triathlon plan guide workout

    Beginner Triathlon Training Plan

    This is a 4-week training plan for a sprint distance triathlon for absolute beginners. If you already have a fair level of fitness and/or experience, this plan may be too easy for you.

    Week 1

    Day Session Type Session
    Monday Run

    Run for 20 minutes without stopping.

    Do 10 minutes of stretching afterwards.

    Tuesday Swim

    5 lengths of a 25-metre pool.

    Try to complete this without stopping.

    Wednesday Bike Cycle non-stop for 30 minutes, indoors or outdoors.
    Thursday Rest Make sure to do stretching and foam rolling as is necessary and eat plenty of protein and drink plenty of water so that your muscles can recover.
    Friday Swim

    5 lengths of a 25-metre pool.

    If you could not manage non-stop on Tuesday, aim to accomplish that today.

    Saturday Rest Make sure to take a complete rest day and don't be tempted to over-train.
    Sunday Run

    Run for 20 minutes without stopping.

    Pace doesn't matter.


    Week 2

    Day Session Type Session
    Monday Rest

    You may be feeling tired or achy after week 1 so take it easy, hydrate and nourish well and make sure to stretch.

    Tuesday Swim

    5 lengths of a 25-metre pool.

    Try to complete this without stopping.

    Wednesday Run

    Run for 20 minutes non-stop.

    See if you can make it further than you did last week.

    Thursday Bike

    Cycle for 20 minutes outdoors.

    Enjoy an easy pace on a flat course.

    Friday Swim

    5 lengths of a 25-metre pool.

    If you could not manage non-stop on Tuesday, aim to accomplish that today.

    Saturday Rest Make sure to take a complete rest day and don't be tempted to over-train.
    Sunday Run

    Run for 20 minutes without stopping.

    Pace doesn't matter.


    Week 3

    Day Session Type Session
    Monday Run Run for 20 minutes at a steady pace.
    Tuesday Swim

     Complete 6 lengths of a 25-metre pool.

    Try to swim non-stop.

    Wednesday Run Easy 10 minute run.
    Thursday Bike 20 minutes on a flat course.
    Friday Swim

    Complete 6 lengths of a 25-metre pool.

    If you could not manage non-stop on Tuesday, aim for that today.

    Saturday Rest
    Sunday Run/Bike Brick

    Cycle for 30 minutes then run for 25 minutes at an easy pace.

     

    Week 4

    Day Session Type Session
    Monday Bike Cycle for 45 minutes and try to include one hill as a challenge.
    Tuesday Swim

     Complete 10 lengths of a 25-metre pool.

    Go all out in order to complete it non-stop.

    Wednesday Run Run for 30 minutes without stopping.
    Thursday Rest
    Friday Run/Bike Brick Cycle for 30 minutes then straight into a 15 minute run.
    Saturday Rest
    Sunday Race Day!

     Good luck!

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Couch To Triathlon (14) - Bike Envie

    Winter training running

    The New Year has been good to me, and I've been training hard ready for my races this year. I've got a focused goal and a plan to achieve it.

    I went for my longest ever run in December and finally pushed through the half marathon barrier by running 15 miles. It took me 2 hours 45 minutes which is an average pace of roughly 11 minute miles. I know a lot of people will scoff at that but if I average 11 minute miles in the marathon, I will achieve my goal of finishing in under 5 hours which I would be happy with.

    My biggest struggle this month has been motivation. Training in winter is a pain, and a lot of people I know who have run marathons say the same thing, that the winter training is the hardest and worst part. I'll be fully honest and say I have skipped a few training runs, so I need to make sure I stay focused from now until April so that I don't kick myself when I inevitably struggle with the marathon.

    While marathon training has definitely taken over for now, I still have my ultimate goal of completing an Ironman in 2019 in my head and so I am taking steps to prepare for that. I have already outlined my races for 2019, and the year will culminate in doing Ironman 70.3 Lanzarote in October. I think this is definitely an achievable goal if I continue to work hard.

    One of the steps I am taking to improve my chances in a triathlon and Ironman is to buy myself a new bike! The Boardman has served me well, but there is only so much I can achieve on such an entry-level bike. I have therefore decided to get my hands on the stunning Liv Envie Advanced 1 (2018).

    Liv Envie Advanced 1 2018 Bike Cycling Giant Sundried

    Liv is an awesome female-only brand who do road bikes, mountain bikes, and various items of cycling gear. Apart from the fact it's a ridiculously cool looking machine, I'm hoping that together we'll be able to take my cycling to the next level, and that it will serve me well not only during the 40km bike leg of the London Triathlon but also on the two sportives I have signed up for this year. I'll be sure to give my verdict with a full review once I've received this beauty.

    One of the biggest challenges I faced with my cycling last year was comfort on the bike. I found that my back and groin were in agony after a couple of hours on the bike, and by the end of the 4-hour Garmin Ride Out, I was in pieces. I discovered that by not having had a proper bike fit when I purchased the bike, I had set myself up to fail. This is something you're not really told about unless you're an insider in the world of cycling and triathlon, and is a prime example of why I'm writing this blog; to educate others who can learn from my mistakes. I found that no matter how premium your padded bike shorts are, if your bike doesn't fit you properly, you're doomed. So when I go to pick up my new Liv bike, I will be having a full and professional bike fit before I leave so that I know I'll be able to spend hours in the saddle without wanting to cry. I'm really hoping I'll have some sort of miracle epiphany and realise that cycling is actually super easy. One can hope!

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Couch To Triathlon (13) - Looking Ahead To 2018

    Race season really is over for 2017

    I completed my last race for the year at the weekend, which was the Windsor Duathlon at Dorney Lake and it was a fantastic race for me (you can read more about it here.) I went on holiday for 2 weeks at the beginning of November and did zero training while I was away. I also wasn't able to eat well as we were in Egypt which meant I had the dreaded holiday tummy most of the time! As such, when I got home and went for my first run back after holiday, I was horrified at how difficult it was! It's pretty unreal how much fitness you can lose in a relatively short space of time, but having the race in a few days I knew I had to just dig deep and get the training done. I got back to training on the Monday and had the race that Saturday so I trained hard to get my fitness back up. Thankfully, on the day, I performed better than I expected and was really happy with my result.

    This was my second duathlon (my first being Bowood House in October which you can read about here) and I chose to do the sprint distance which is a 5k run - 20k bike - 5k run. At Bowood, I did the super-sprint distance so I decided to up the ante and go for a slightly longer distance. I've found that I really enjoy doing duathlon so I'll be sure to do some more next autumn and winter after my main races of the year.

    Racing in 2018

    With my heart set on an Ironman (!) in 2019, I am planning out my races for 2018. The biggest event for me will be Paris Marathon in April. I have never run a marathon before and in fact I never thought I'd be able to run one full stop. I'm not naturally good at running at all and I've always been very slow. Most people's 5k pace is what I consider a full pelt sprint! Therefore, running a marathon will be a huge accomplishment for me and I am taking my training very seriously. I've entered the Thorpe Park half marathon in February and the Lydd 20 Mile in March as preparation for the marathon. The farthest I've run to date is 13.1 miles (I've done 2 half marathons) so I'm looking forward to seeing what happens when I start running longer distances! I've also entered the London Triathlon which is in August so I'll be keeping up my triathlon training too. I'll be doing Hanningfield Triathlon in May as my first ever triathlon and a stepping stone for London. I'm really excited for all these races, especially as each one will be a big achievement for me. 

    I think the most important thing is to stay realistic and remember where I started. I read a lot about people who turned up at their first ever triathlon with no experience and ended up placing 2nd or 3rd in their age group. For me, just trying not to come last is the main goal! I have to keep reminding myself that everyone has different abilities and that just taking part at all is something to be really proud of. I've had a great year this year which the London To Southend Bike Ride, Bearbrook 10k, Garmin Ride Out, Kent Coastal Half Marathon, Bowood House Duathlon, and Windsor Duathlon. I've entered into new territory with both my running and cycling, and putting them together into multi-sport! I've learnt to swim front crawl and by next year I'll be doing a triathlon. That's pretty good going if you ask me.

    Read the next instalment - Couch To Triathlon (14) - Bike Envie

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Couch To Triathlon (12) - My First Swimming Lesson

    swimming lesson pool training triathlon

    So I finally took the plunge (pun intended) and had my first swimming lesson! I've been really putting it off as I know running and cycling inside out, but swimming is a complete unknown for me. Like many people, I never learnt to do the front crawl when I was younger and so whenever I go swimming (which is extremely rarely) I just do breaststroke. I was lucky enough to grow up with unlimited access to a pool and the sea so I am very confident in water and learnt to swim at a very young age, just not properly. I could happily float and bob in the sea on holiday for hours, or do some light breaststroke in a hotel pool, but swimming competitively with proper technique is something completely different. This meant I needed proper swimming lessons from someone who really knows what they're talking about, so I went to Tri N Swim Well which is run by Gill and Dawn and is local to me. 

    Gill and Dawn have a private teaching pool which is kitted out with cameras and mirrors so that you can analyse your technique and really train properly. They are both ex-triathletes and swimmers and it's clear from the start that they really know what they're talking about! I had my one-hour private lesson with Gill, and after that hour was done I was over the moon! I can do front crawl! Well, we learnt the basics to get started, but still, I was going through the motions and it felt amazing.

    Swimming technique teaching pool triathlon lessons

    Just like when learning to ride a road bike, there are so many things you just don't consider when you first start. For example, whenever I have been swimming before I breathe out of my mouth and wear a nose plug to stop water shooting through my sinuses (very painful, would not recommend.) Gill told me straight away we wouldn't be using the nose plug and we practice breathing out through my nose with just my head in the water. What a revelation! It's so much easier! I just never knew that's how you do it because I'd never been taught. 

    Being able to watch back my technique in real-time on the screen was amazing, too. This is a fantastic feature and benefit of getting private lessons with Gill and Dawn as it means you don't pick up any bad habits and you can tweak any things you have maybe misunderstood or perhaps things you thought you were doing right but actually weren't working as you thought. I'm so glad I went to Tri N Swim well and not to a generic swimming class and I think I would've picked up some bad habits and it wouldn't have been tailored to my specific needs.

    Tri N Swim Well Contact Details Address Phone Number

    I had an absolute blast and really enjoyed the lesson. I'd been putting it off for so long and almost dreading it, but swimming is great! Well, when you do it properly! It's amazing how different it is to learn to swim with proper technique like an athlete for a sport rather than flailing around just to stay afloat. Front crawl is incredibly simple in reality and if you're knackered after a few lengths, it definitely means you're doing it wrong.

    I've got my drills from Gill to practice in my local pool and then I'll be back for my next lesson to learn some more. I'm really confident about the swimming element now which means I've got a great chance of having a successful triathlon! 

    In the diary next I'm doing a 10-mile race at Lee Valley VeloPark on Saturday and then I have my second duathlon in November so stay tuned to find out how I get on at both of those!

    Read the next instalment - Couch To Triathlon (13) - Looking Ahead To 2018

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Couch To Triathlon (11) - Duathlon Complete!

    cycling bike riding corner technical shimano bowood house duathlon 2017

    The time has absolutely flown since I signed up for the duathlon and suddenly it's all over! I absolutely loved every second of it and I'm so glad I did it. It's made me realise that multi-sport is definitely for me and so I've got even more confidence to do the triathlon next year. You can read how I go on in my race report but it's safe to say I had a great time.

    I've now got road shoes and cleats as well as Shimano pedals for my bike so that's the last piece of the puzzle when it comes to having all the gear! As with the cycle shorts and jersey, I got the Shimano road shoes second hand on eBay in order to save money. As with the Castelli gear, I chose Shimano as this is the biggest brand in the game so I knew I would be getting a great pair of shoes. I bought my Shimano pedals from Wiggle which is an independent retailer of all things multi-sport. The pedals come with cleats, but you need to make sure the cleats will fit the pedals as there are different sizes and shapes for different makes and models. I was a little apprehensive about clipping into the pedals, but it was an absolute breeze and now I can't imagine riding without them! It really does make a huge difference to speed and power on the bike.

    I started out not even knowing how to ride a road bike so I'm really pleased with how far I've come. The London To Southend Bike Ride and The Garmin Ride Out have both given me all the confidence i need on the bike, even around motorists, so it now feels like second nature to get on, clip in, and head out on a 30 mile+ ride. I've also got my women's performance tri-suit from Sundried to race and train in for multi-sport events so I really feel the part! After attending the Brighton Triathlon with Sundried, I saw a lot of really beautiful bikes which has given me an itch to buy myself a newer, better, far more snazzy road bike! My Boardman is great but it's definitely an entry level bike and I struggled to keep up on the Garmin Ride Out as everyone else had such awesome bikes. That's a goal for next year, to invest in a better bike.

    With my A-race for next year being the Olympic (standard) distance at the London Triathlon, I've decided I should probably do a small, shorter tri in preparation. I have therefore decided to do Hanningfield Triathlon which takes place in May and will do the sprint distance. I think this will be the perfect warm-up for London and will give me the confidence I need to take on such a huge event. Hanningfield Triathlon takes place at Hanningfield Reservoir near Billericay in Essex so it's more of a local event and the lake/reservoir swim promises to be a little calmer than a sea swim. It'll be good to make mistakes and learn from this experience before taking on the bigger challenge in London. 

    I've also entered another duathlon which will be squeezed in before the season ends for this year. I've entered the sprint distance at Windsor Duathlon which takes place surrounding Dorney Lake. I decided to take on the longer challenge now that I've done a super-sprint and enjoyed it so much. This promises to be a lovely event in a stunning location and will keep the momentum going through the winter months.

    I have entered the ballot for the Prudential RideLondon 100 miler so fingers crossed for that! I'm also keeping a keen eye out on entries opening for the London Triathlon. 

    The final thing is that it's time to start the swimming lessons! I said I would start them once Bowood Duathlon was out of the way so it's time to get going. I'm not sure how I'll feel about the swimming but I'm not a huge fan of running (I prefer cycling) so doing 2 runs in a duathlon or 1 swim and 1 run in a triathlon doesn't really make much difference to me!

    Stay tuned to see how I get on in the pool!

    Read the next instalment - Couch To Triathlon 12 My First Swimming Lesson

    Posted by Alexandra Parren