• 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 (7) - Feeling Inspired

    Sundried Southend Triathlon Open Water Swim Essex

    Last weekend Sundried hosted the inaugural Southend Triathlon at which I was swim director! It was my job to stay on the beach and count all the athletes as they safely exited the water. It was an incredible day and the atmosphere was amazing. It was my first time experiencing a triathlon and it really was very special. I've taken part in numerous 10ks and half marathons, which always have a great buzz, but this something entirely different and we had nearly 3000 spectators out to watch and cheer people on! It has really inspired and motivated me to up my game with my training for my triathlon and I am looking to enter one sooner than I thought!

    After editing the content for all the events that Sundried will be sponsoring this year, I came across the Louth Triathlon in Lincolnshire. It is a beginner-friendly event with a 400m pool swim and easy bike and run course. I must say I'm really tempted to enter! It takes place on Sunday the 3rd of September which is only 2 months way. Will I be ready by then?

    I think that my fitness is certainly up to finishing a triathlon at this point, especially a shortened course featuring a pool swim, but I still need to have swimming lessons! I haven't even attempted the front crawl since I was 10 years old. Eek! I also need to step up my cycle training, but I am being left frustrated as it's so hard to get up any speed in Southend due to pedestrians walking out in front of me on the cycle path and angry motorists interrupting any cycling I do on the roads. I shall power on though. 

    My running is going amazingly though, and with my new Garmin Forerunner 735XT watch I did a lactate threshold test and have also determined my VO2 max (which is pretty good if I do say so myself!) I'm hoping to achieve a new 5k PB soon, although now that I'm finding running easier I need to make sure I don't sprint off too quick and burn out after a mile!

    I'm hoping to make up my mind about entering the Louth Triathlon soon, with the only thing being it would come before the duathlon I have entered, which was supposed to be a toe-dip into the world of multi-sport competing and give me an idea of how it feels. However, at this point I do feel like I don't really need to ease myself in too much and that I'd manage it okay. That's another feeling of confidence that came from watching all the competitors at the Sundried Southend Triathlon, as we had racers from all walks of life from professional triathletes to people who had never done one before and turned up on a mountain bike!

    I'm guilty of having 'yolo' moments so chances are I will end up entering the triathlon in September, in which case things are about to get intense! Stay tuned for more, it may be time to get the swimsuit out of retirement!

    Read the next instalment - Couch To Triathlon (8) - Training Adventures

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Triathlon Race Day Checklist: Beginner's Kit Guide

     Running Into The Sea Triathlon Open Water Swimming

    Congratulations on entering your first triathlon! Triathlon is somewhat more complicated than other sports such as marathon running and you will need a lot more kit. Read our guide to make sure you've got every area covered and that you're ready for race day!

    What do I need to pack for a triathlon?

    Wetsuit

    Official British Triathlon events have a steadfast rule that if the water temperature is below 15 degrees Celsius you are obliged to wear a wetsuit for the swim. If the triathlon you have entered takes place in an indoor pool then you will not be required to wear one, but most open water swims in the UK will require one.

    Wetsuits keep you warm and also aid buoyancy, so for new triathletes, they’re an important bit of kit. 

    For your first triathlon, it can be expensive to buy a wetsuit that you may only wear once, but you can hire a wetsuit just for the one event, and at some there will be the option to hire one on the day and even have it fitted there and then.

    Tri suit

    A triathlon suit is a key piece of triathlon gear. Specifically designed for the sport, the tri suit is made from thin, breathable material with a second-skin feel to prevent chafing and to stay comfortable throughout all three disciplines. By wearing a tri suit you won't need to get changed, meaning your transition times will be vastly improved and it will save a lot of hassle! 

    Tri suits are made with a built-in chamois pad to protect you on the ride, but this will be somewhat smaller than on cycling shorts so that it does not inhibit you on the run. You can wear your tri suit under the wetsuit for the swim.

    Sundried Trisuit Triathlon Gear Kit

    Goggles

    Goggles will be a must for the swim, especially in open water. Higher spec goggles will not only protect your eyes from the water but will also prevent glare and UV damage from the sun.

    Swim Cap

    Often, race organisers will provide these, as your swim cap may have your number on it. It is often advised to still bring your own to wear underneath. Wearing a swim cap will stop your hair getting too wet during the swim which would then irritate you during the ride and run. It also keeps your hair out of your face while you are racing! The swim hat can be ditched as soon as the swim is over.

    Bike

    Depending on your level of experience and your intentions for future races, your bike can vary a lot. If you are new to triathlon and just plan to compete casually at a few sprint distance events, you will be able to race with a normal road bike. However, if you plan on doing a lot of longer triathlons - and even Ironman events - you will want to invest in a higher spec bikes. TT bikes come with different handles that you can lean on to improve speed and aerodynamics, and some will have special wheels as well. Choose your bike wisely and keep it in line with your goals.

    Road Bike Cycling Time Trial

    Helmet

    You will not be allowed to race in any British Triathlon event without a bike helmet. Again, your level of investment depends on your level of commitment to the sport. Some helmets at the higher end of the range will be more aerodynamic and some proper racing helmets can set you back up to £500.

    Trainers

    Triathlon-specific trainers have bike clips and quick fastening laces, but they’re not essential for a beginner.

    Transition Towel

    Having a brightly coloured or easily noticeable towel will help you find your station in transition more quickly after the swim. Most triathletes stand on their towel whilst they quickly transition to the bike.

    Water

    Water should be handed out by marshalls throughout the race course, but it’s always best to have your own in case you need extra. You can keep a bottle at the transition to top yourself up before the next leg of the race.

    Triathlon Transition Area Bike Racking Race Shoes Trisuit

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • 5 Tips For Surviving Your First Triathlon

    my first triathlon training tips workout fitness sports

    Triathlon season has begun and it's the most exciting time of year for multi-sport athletes. All those hours spent in the pain cave over winter have paid off and now it's time to reap the rewards. But what if it's your first triathlon? You're bound to have a lot of questions. Follow these 5 tips to not only survive but thrive in your first triathlon.

    1. Don't underestimate an open water swim

    If you've done all of your swim training in the local pool but are taking part in an open water swim event, there may be an element of surprise waiting for you. An open water swim is very different from a pool swim in lots of different ways. Not only this, it depends on the type of open water, as events range from lakes to canals to the sea and even oceans, all of which come with their own challenges. 

    When choosing your first triathlon, it might be an idea to choose a pool-based swim as this will ease you into the sport and is less likely to scare you off! Especially if you are not such a confident swimmer, swimming in open water can be very tough, especially if it's tidal. Practice in a lake or the sea before the race so that you have an idea of what to expect.

    Sundried Southend Triathlon training tips my first tri

    2. Wear the right kit

    A triathlon is very different from a running race as there is a fair bit of specialist kit you will need. Make sure you have a good quality trisuit that is comfortable and has the right support for you. You want a triathlon suit that has a chamois pad to keep you comfortable on the bike but one that isn't so big and bulky it'll get in the way on the run.

    There are also other items of triathlon clothing that you may wish to get such as cycle socks, a race number belt, and even race number temporary tattoos. These are all triathlon-specific items that you probably won't have otherwise, so do your research first and make sure you have all the kit you need before the big day.

    Read More: Triathlon Race Day Checklist: Beginner's Kit Guide

    mens trisuit triathlon kit clothing sportswear

    3. Don't neglect brick training sessions

    If you have never tried running after cycling, you need to practice! Running off the bike is a totally different experience to running on its own and you might be taken by surprise at how your legs feel. If you haven't practised, you are more likely to get injured and it would be a shame to ruin your day.

    Brick workouts are training sessions where you practice doing two or even three of the triathlon disciplines back-to-back. This is usually running after cycling as this can be one of the toughest aspects of a triathlon. Getting your legs used to doing different types of movement and being under different types of strain is very important and will prepare you well for your big day.

    4. Recce the course first

    If you have been training on flat ground the whole time and there is a huge hill on your race course, you are likely to suffer! Make sure you check the course before you even sign up so that there are no nasty surprises. Things you want to consider are whether the bike leg is done on closed roads or if there is going to be the hazard of traffic, whether there are any notable ascents and descents, and whether the entire race is done on road and tarmac or if any of the run or bike are off-road.

    Being fully prepared for the race will be great for you mentally and will mean there is less to worry and stress about on the day. It will also mean you can train appropriately and wear the right gear!

    5. Remember to have fun!

    This is perhaps the most important point. It's always important to remember why you signed up in the first place and to not take it too seriously. Unless you are a professional athlete and rely on prize money and sponsorships, it doesn't matter if something goes wrong. Make sure you enjoy yourself!

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • How To Choose Your First Triathlon

    Open Water Swimming Triathlon Beach Wetsuit

    Choosing a triathlon can be tough if it's your first time. Open water or pool swim? Sprint or standard distance? There are lots of things to consider. Follow our step-by-step guide to get you to the starting line of your first event.

    1. Choose a distance

    There are levels for everyone of every ability in triathlon. From super sprint to full Iron distance, the distance you choose can make a big difference to your success. The distance you choose will depend largely on your current level of fitness and also whether you prefer short, fast events or longer endurance events. Going for a full Iron distance triathlon for your first ever event is probably not advisable as there are serious risks involved if you do not execute it properly.

    Triathlon Distances

     Race Swim Bike Run
    Super Sprint 400m 10km 2.5km
    Sprint 750m 20km 5km
    Standard (Olympic) 1500m 40km 10km
    Middle (Half Iron/70.3) 1900m 90km 20km
    Full (Full Iron/140.6) 3860m 180km 40km

     

    Open Water Swimming Triathlon Lake Swim Hat Race

    2. Choose a location

    For your first ever triathlon, you'll probably want to stay quite close to home. There's nothing worse than being exhausted and sweaty and having to then drive for hours to get home. You'll also want to make sure the location you choose has the right hills for your level. Some events are a lot tougher than others simply because of the gradients you face, so for your first event, it may be an idea to choose a location by the coast as they are less likely to have a lot of tough hills involved.

    With that said, some triathlons offer incredible locations for their races with views and scenery that you would not otherwise be able to enjoy. There is a Castle triathlon series which sees triathletes race around famous castles in the UK, while the London Triathlon allows you to enjoy the landmarks of London while you race. Some routes use disused railways and some use private grounds, so check out some of the more interesting routes to make the most of your experience. 

    3. Indoor or outdoor?

    An indoor triathlon can be a great way to ease yourself into your first triathlon as it removes the element of the open water swim, which can often be the most daunting discipline for newcomers. This allows you to practice performing the three sports and perfecting your transition before you tackle a sea swim, which comes with the worry of battling the tide, getting into and out of a wetsuit, and being hit by other swimmers.

    Cycling Outdoor Triathlon Transition

    4. Choose your price

    Triathlon can be an expensive pursuit, and some events cost a lot more than others. Decide on your budget and then choose a race accordingly. Entry prices can range anywhere from around £30 to over £100.

    5. Get your entry in early!

    Races tend to sell out very quickly, especially the popular ones, so make sure once you have decided which event you're going to do that you get your entry in quickly to secure your place. 

    Bikes Transition Sport Triathlon

    Posted by Alexandra Parren