Triathlon Beginner Training


Focus on skill development, workout programs, practicing transitions and nutrition strategies for triathlon beginner training.

The first triathlon dates back to 1974 in Mission Bay, California, when a group of friends turned training sessions into informal races. Since that first race, triathlons have evolved into various distances being held around the world with new triathletes trying the sport every year. With the combination of swimming, biking and running, beginner triathlete training programs focus on skill development, conditioning and nutrition. As a new triathlete, you need a training program that matches your lifestyle, race distance, fitness level, schedule and overall triathlon goals.


Each sport — swimming, biking and running — will be trained no more than two days per week. Focus on the skills and mechanics for each sport during the workouts. Work on proper stroke and stroke cadence during the swimming workouts. Pay attention to pace and stride during the running workouts. If one sport needs additional training, substitute an occasional workout with a different sport. For example, if you’re a strong runner and need practice running, add an occasional third swimming workout.


Two baseline workouts are used every week for the training sessions. The first workout includes an interval workout characterized by alternating rounds of work and rest. The second workout is a tempo run working on a goal race pace and time. For example, for a swimming workout, the first interval workout includes workouts such as four sets of 50 meters and the second tempo workout is a 200-meter swim. Follow the same schedule for the biking and running workouts to reduce the potential for overtraining and injuries.


Transitions from the swim to the bike leg and the bike to the run are often considered the “fourth leg” of triathlons. For professionals, the transitions can win or lose a race. As a beginner, use the transitions for a seamless, stress-free transfer to the next sport. Incorporate transition practice into your training workouts. Practice taking your swim gear off and changing into the bike gear along with changing from the bike gear into the running gear. Practice the same routine every time and experiment with different ways to organize your equipment for smooth transitions.


Improve your triathlon performance with nutrition by providing essential nutrients for energy production, muscle development and repair. Use nutrition and hydration techniques during the race depending on the length of the triathlon. For example, a half-Ironman race requires supplementation during the race to fuel the muscles. Use the workout training sessions to experiment with different supplements, hydration drinks and food to find something that your body and stomach can tolerate.


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