• 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
  • Beginner Triathlon Advice

    Triathlon is a complex sport and there's a lot to get your head around. Sundried is here to explain the jargon and help you on your way to your first race.

    Beginner Triathlon Guide

    Sundried has written a guide for beginner triathletes so that you can understand everything that it entails. From distances to jargon, this handy guide has everything you need to know. You can find the Sundried triathlon guide here.

    What do I wear for a triathlon?

    Triathlon gear is very specific and you will need to buy some items you don't already own. Most people already have a pair of running trainers and leggings. But you'll need a tri suit and other accessories. Check out our guide on triathlon gear for the full list of things you'll need for your race.

    Triathlon Race Day Checklist

    If you forget something important, you won't be able to race! So it's important to have a comprehensive checklist of everything you'll need for the day. Have a read of Sundried's triathlon race day checklist so that you can see what kit you'll need for your first triathlon and be sure that you've got everything for the big day!

    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
  • 2017 Triathlon Season Round Up By Sam Hudson

    Heading into spring I had one goal in mind for the 2017 season: to earn a spot at either the European or World Duathlon Championships and get to represent Great Britain at an age group level. Having not been entirely prepared for the European qualifier the previous autumn I had to endure a long wait hoping for a roll down spot while trying to focus on getting ready to try and qualify for the Worlds in Canada.

    It actually came as a massive surprise when I received an email late in February saying that I had picked up a spot to go and race in Spain in May, and the excitement of knowing I had already achieved my goal to wear GB kit took the pressure off racing in Bedford to qualify for worlds. I think largely because of that I raced one of my most complete duathlons, and knew within minutes of crossing the finish line that I would be able to fly across the world and race the World Duathlon Championships that summer.

    European Duathlon Championships

    The European Duathlon championships in Soria, Spain, were always going to be a memorable experience purely as it was my first international competition and the first time I could represent GB. From that perspective I felt less nervous about the race, which was going to be tough given the climate, altitude, and terrain, and tried as much as possible to enjoy the experience.

    Arriving in Spain I knew I wasn’t going to be pushing for any medals as my winter training had been pretty lax and my only goal was not to be last. I managed to achieve that, finishing 33rd, but it wasn’t without its struggles. The altitude made the run feel far harder than any 5k I had run before and the bike became a brutal struggle through gale force winds and up never ending slopes. Combined with a frustrating drafting penalty on the bike I was surprised I was able to finish in the position I did and overall happy with the race as a learning experience.

    Getting fit for summer

    Soria was a real turning point for me with my multisport racing. I had always enjoyed triathlon and duathlon, but that was the race when I no longer wanted to take part and finish but compete to the best of my ability and to win. So rather than taking a break from training, I quickly started to put together a training plan which, for the first time ever, included consistent and structured swim sessions. I then set about targeting some key triathlons before heading to Canada for the World Duathlon championships.

    Going from about 3-4 hours training a week to 8-10 was tough and my body took a while to adjust, but quickly I began to feel the benefits and that drive to compete kept me going through the early mornings and long sets in the pool.

    To see if it was all worth it, I entered two triathlons I had completed previously: the Bedfordshire county championships and the London triathlon (coincidentally my first ever race), but this time with the aim of finishing on the podium for my age group for both.

    Both times I was impressed by how much my swim had come on compared to previous seasons and I was able to take full advantage of my strong biking to continue to move up positions. In Bedford I was able to hit out on the run course in 1st place for my age group but unfortunately couldn’t hold on when I was caught from behind and had to accept second position. In complete contrast, due to the size of the event and the wave format, it was impossible to work out how I was doing in London but I had strong legs going into the run and was able to complete a personal best for the final leg of a tri. Even though I knew I had put in a strong performance I was still shocked to take home bronze in my age group, and that event was probably the biggest boost to my confidence with Worlds coming just a month later.

    The World Duathlon Championships, Penticton, Canada

    Unlike Soria, I wanted to compete in Penticton and really push my body as hard as possible to see what it could do. Going into the race I knew that, being draft legal, the opening run was key as getting into a good bike group would make a huge difference for before a sprint finish over the final 2.5k run.

    Although I got no sleep the night before, I got up feeling pretty energetic, and despite stories of tyres exploding in transition due to the heat (we had to rack the day before), I was relieved to find everything still in tact and could get on with my usual routine. It was then that I realised the first run was going to be tough. I knew from Soria how fast the pace would be for the first kilometre and as I went through my warm-ups my legs felt heavy and tired and putting in the power was a real struggle.

    Despite pushing it hard from the start and holding onto a fast group for the first kilometre or so I knew my legs didn’t have it to hold for the rest of the first run and I had to switch to thinking about saving my legs for the bike and seeing what I could do on an undulating course that would suit my riding. On the bike I was instantly able to start reeling in those in front of me as we took on some early climbs, the only downside being that they were unable to stick on my wheel and so when it came to the flat sections I was isolated until being mopped up by a large group from behind.

    Overall, my bike performance was strong as I was able to drive on the group I ended up in, but once back out on the run course my legs were really suffering and I had to force my way around, losing places, and falling out of the top 10. In the end I took 13th but finished as the fastest Brit. This secured my pre-qualification for next year’s championships and despite a somewhat frustrating performance, I couldn’t have been happier with the result!

    Ending the season on a high and looking to 2018

    Coming back from Canada I just wanted to continue racing, and for the first time I took on not 1 but 2 Olympic distance triathlons. With no real finish time in mind I was amazed to finish top 10 in both, and wrapped up the season looking forward to a strong period of winter training and to see what I can achieve next season.

    Goals for 2018:

    • Compete at the Elite Duathlon championships in March
    • Race the British Standard Triathlon Championships in June
    • Qualify for European Sprint Triathlon Championships in September
    • Finish top 10 at the World Duathlon Championships in July
    • Maybe do a middle distance triathlon?
    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Elite British Duathlon Championships 2018 By Laura Smith

    Elite British Duathlon Championships Race Running Cycling

    All photos featured in this article credited to JHM Sport Photography

    It’s always nerve-wracking when the start of the season looms nearer and you start to question whether you’ve done enough training. The opening of my season was the Elite British Duathlon Championships which only amplified my nerves. Both my partner Luke and I were due to be racing and we spent the day before prepping for the event, including one last attempt at teaching me how to corner.

    As always, we had some of the recruits from our personal fan club (nan, granddad and mum) in tow to offer their support. We arrived with plenty of time to register, rack, and warm up before our races. It was great to see some familiar faces from my days at Birmingham Uni.

    Luke was off first and the race went off hard. After a tough 5km, Luke was 30 seconds off the leaders and had a little bit of work to do in order to catch the lead group (no sweat right?) As always, Luke decided he wanted the lead coming into T2 and managed to put in a stellar performance catching the lead group and then going solo off the front. It wasn’t surprising he started to pay the price for all his efforts on the last run but he held on and came away with a top ten position in a stacked field, epic work! 

    Now it was my turn... 

    I lined up at the start ready to go. I knew the run would set out hard and so I prepped myself for a mental first kilometre. Luke and I had gone through every scenario possible for that race except what happens if Laura takes the lead. I didn’t know whether I was running too hard and out of my capacity or I was just fitter than I realised but I found myself leading the first run... WHAT DO I DO NOW?!

    Laura Smith triathlete running

    I decided that I needed to get on the bike with a strong pack and save my legs so I eased off the pace a little and sat on the shoulders of two other athletes. I felt good on the run and I started to realise that maybe I could pull out a decent result, my mindset changed from ‘I just want to finish’ to ‘I want a medal’ in that instant. I ran into T1 in second place with a good gap on third but the excitement of the first run slightly got to me and I managed to lose my bike in transition (and the award for slowest transition of the day goes to...). 

    The bike was a true test of mental strength from start to finish and I would be lying if I said I wasn't relieved when my running trainers were back on. I was so grateful that I found myself in a decent sized chase pack and focused on simply not getting dropped. My lack of confidence around corners was making the first two laps harder than necessary but I was not going to let all my hard work go to waste and so I got my head down and focused. By the end of the last lap, we had closed the gap on the leaders which put me in a strong position going into the last run.

    Laura Smith triathlete cycling

    I was sitting in 5th at the start of the last 5km and had some work to do to close the gap on 3rd and 4th... within 1km I had caught the girls and started to pull away but they weren’t giving in very easily, hanging on to my every stride. Luke had positioned himself just before the last lap and gave me a gentle and encouraging cheer... I think the words ‘don’t you dare throw this away’ actually left his mouth. This last bit of encouragement did make something switch in my head and there no way was I letting someone take my bronze medal... so I picked up the pace and made sure the gap between myself and 4th grew on every stride. I don’t know where I found the strength to push on but I did and took home a podium finish at my first elite championships! 

    podium finish elite duathlon championships

    I couldn’t believe the result and I’ve proven to myself that I can pull out results that warrant the sacrifices and hard work my training entails. It’s been a hard winter but I owe a lot of thanks to Luke who has been there coaching and supporting me every step of the way. We changed a lot this winter, stripping back my programme and rebuilding it, which was extremely hard to accept at first. I hate to admit it but...Luke actually knows what he’s talking about when it comes to my training! This result reflects not only my hard work but his ability to mentor an extremely stubborn athlete!

    What’s the plan now? 

    I’m desperately trying to nurse my sore legs back to full form ready for my 2018 debut at the French Grand Prix race this weekend.

    A massive thanks to Sundried for their continued support, I’ll be wearing their trisuits with pride this race season!

    Posted by Alexandra Parren