20-Week Sprint Triathlon Training


5 Tips to Maximize Your Sprint Triathlon Training Program

20-week Sprint Triathlon Training
Triathlons consist of swimming, biking and running and can be combined at varying distances. One of the shortest events is the sprint triathlon, with typical distances of a 750-meter swim, a 20-kilometer bike ride and a 5-kilometer run. Preparing for a sprint triathlon is difficult, but incorporating a 20-week training program will provide ample time to improve mechanics and transitions while focusing on proper nutrition.

Time Frame

A 20-week sprint triathlon training program starts by developing a baseline fitness level in the first three or four weeks. The next 12 weeks should be intense training, tapering in the final three or four weeks. Do no more than two or three workouts of swimming, biking and running per week. For example, swim on Monday and Thursday, bike on Tuesday and Friday, run on Wednesday and Saturday, and rest on Sunday. Vary these workouts with interval training, hills, time trials and long-distance training. For intervals, do a series of high-intensity intervals followed by short rests. For a time trial, see how fast you can run a specific distance and measure your results for that distance. Focus on endurance and the ability to be physically active for extended periods during long-distance workouts.

Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables during the 20-week training period.


Nutrition can improve or diminish your training efforts. Use the long-distance workouts to experiment with foods that don’t upset your stomach. Try foods that combine carbohydrates and protein, such as energy gels, protein bars and electrolyte drinks. Consume 14 to 22 ounces of liquid within 2 hours of training. When you aren’t training, follow a balanced diet of lean protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats.


Cross-training can take several forms, including strength training and core training. The sprint triathlon is a short, powerful event that requires power, strength and stamina. Incorporating strength and core training into the 20-week training period will increase your power and strength. Focus on compound functional movements, such as lunges, squats, dead lifts pull-ups and push-ups. Core training helps support your arms and legs during each stage of the race. Adding these components to your training program at least two or three times per week will improve your triathlon performance.


Practice transitions every week. Smooth transitions from the swim to the bike and the bike to the run can shave valuable seconds from your overall time. Lay out your equipment in a simulated transition area, and time yourself in transition from swimming gear to biking gear. Follow that with the transition from biking gear to running gear. Conserve energy by improving your mechanics of each sport. Focus on proper mechanics during every training session.
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Training Races

Set of goal of entering a minimum of two training races before the sprint triathlon. Sign up for a 5-kilometer run at about Week 10 in the training period. Work on pre-race nutrition and improving your 5-kilometer time. For example, if your sprint triathlon goal for the running stage is to break 18 minutes, set a goal of finishing the 5-kilometer in 17:30 or less.


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