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Triathlon Training Plan: How To Get In Shape For Your First Sprint

Swimming, biking, and running are difficult sports. There’s no doubt about that. But they’re also great ways to shape your body and build stamina. And if you’ve never done any of them before, don’t worry – just because it’s hard doesn’t mean it can’t be fun! That being said, there are some things you should know before getting started with a triathlon training plan. In this article we’ll discuss some tips for getting in shape for your first sprint triathlon. We’ll also talk about how to create a training plan that works for you and how to make the most of your time and energy while you’re working on becoming a triathlete.

The Beginner’s Sprint Triathlon Training Plan

The sprint is the shortest triathlon distance, consisting of a 0.5-mile swim, 12.4-mile bike ride, and 3.1-mile run. That might not seem like a lot, but it can be tough for someone who’s never done any of these sports before.

Other triathlon distances include:

  • Olympic – features a 0.93 mile (1.5km) swim, a 24.8 mile (40km) bike, and a 6.2 mile (10km) run.
  • Half ironman – swim 1.2 miles (1.9km), bike 56 miles (90km), and run 13.1 miles (21.09km).
  • Ironman – consists of a 2.4 mile (3.8km) swim, 112 miles (180km) bike, and a 26.2 (42.2km) run.

To compete in any of these races, you need a training plan.

First things first: You need to set some goals. What do you want to achieve by completing a sprint triathlon? Do you want to lose weight? Gain muscle? Improve your cardiovascular health? All of these are great reasons to start training for a triathlon, but you need to focus on just one or two at a time. Trying to do too many things at once will only lead to frustration and disappointment.

Once you’ve set some goals, it’s time to start planning your training. The best way to do this is to find a training program that’s tailored to beginners. There are plenty of them out there, and most triathlon coaches offer programs for all levels of athletes.

Your training plan should include:

  • A schedule that tells you which workouts to do on which days
  • A list of exercises and drills that will help you improve your performance in each sport
  • A nutrition plan that will help you stay energized and healthy throughout your training
  • A recovery plan that will help you bounce back from tough workouts

If you’re not sure how to put all of this together, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. In the next section, we’ll give you a sample of a triathlon training plan for beginners.

Read More: How To Train For A Sprint Triathlon: Tips Every Beginner Should Know

Sample Sprint Triathlon Training Plan

A sprint triathlon can be completed by anyone with two to three months of solid training under their belt. For this program, we’ll assume you’re starting out on a Monday and will train throughout the week.

  • On Monday – Rest or cross-train (optional).
  • Tuesday – Swim: 300m warmup; 8x50m efforts @ 90%; 200m cooldown Run: 15-20 minutes of easy jogging Bike: 20 minute spin at moderate intensity
  • Wednesday – Rest or cross-train (optional).
  • Thursday – Swim: 300m warmup; 3x100m swims @ 45 seconds rest; 200m cooldown Run: 15-20 minutes of easy jogging Bike: 20 minute spin at moderate intensity
  • Friday – Swim: 400m warm up; 4x100m swims w/ :30 seconds rest; 200m cooldown Run: 15-20 minutes of easy jogging Bike: 20 minutes spin at moderate intensity
  • Saturday – Long swim: 1,500-2,000m w/ :10 seconds rest every 100m OR 4x400m swims w/ :15 seconds rest Bike: 2 hours at an easy pace
  • Sunday – Long run: 30-45 minutes at an easy pace OR 8-12 miles bike ride

If you’re feeling up for it, you can also add a brick workout to your training plan. A brick workout is when you do a run after a bike ride or a bike ride after a run. The purpose of this is to work on your pacing so that you can eventually do both without stopping for rest. If you have any questions about the program, feel free to contact our coach at .

FAQs About Triathlon Training Plans

What Kind Of Equipment Will I Need?

You don’t need any special equipment to train for a triathlon. However, if you plan on racing, you’ll need a bike, a swimsuit, and running shoes.

Can I Do This Program If I’m Not In Shape?

This program is designed for beginners, so it’s perfect for those who are just getting started. If you’re not in shape yet, start with the beginner’s program and work your way up.

You may want to incorporate strength training to help you be ready quicker. Some of our best strength training tips include:

  • Starting with bodyweight exercises to build strength and endurance
  • Switching up your workouts so you don’t get bored
  • Working out 3-4 days each week, so you can incorporate 2-3 rest days

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Can I Cross-Train?

Yes. Cross training is beneficial even if all you want to do is train for a triathlon (1). Some activities you can do include:

  • Cycling for 30 minutes or more
  • Swimming for 300m or more
  • Running for 30 minutes or more
  • Hiking, swimming, and biking.

Can I Do This Plan If I’m Already In Shape?

Though we’ve designed this plan for beginners, it can be modified to fit any level of athlete. If you’re already in shape, increase the intensity or duration of your workouts as needed. 

Can I Modify This Program To Fit My Needs?

Yes, you can absolutely modify this program to fit your needs. Just be sure to consult with a coach or trainer to make sure you’re doing it safely. 

How Do I Avoid Injuries During Training?

The best way to avoid injuries is to listen to your body. If you start to feel pain, stop what you’re doing right away. Don’t try to push through it – that could lead to more serious problems.

It’s also important not to over train. Make sure that each workout week has 2-3 days of rest. If you’re feeling tired, don’t try to push through it.

In addition, be sure to stretch before and after your workouts. That will help reduce injury as well as increase the effectiveness of your workout. 

What Should I Eat While Training For A Triathlon?

Your diet will depend on your goals, but you need to make sure that you’re fueling with nutrient-rich foods. Here are some of our top nutrition tips for runners (3):

  • Eat plenty of protein to help build muscle
  • Eat plenty of carbs to help you power through your workouts
  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated
  • Avoid processed foods and sugary drinks

Can I Train For A Triathlon On My Own?

You can certainly train for a triathlon on your own, but it’s always a good idea to have a coach or trainer help you design your program. This will ensure that you’re getting the most out of your training and that you’re staying safe.

Read More: Triathlete Weight Training: The Best Training Plan For A Triathlon

How Do I Know If I’m Making Progress?

One way to measure your progress is to keep track of your time and compare it to previous times. Another way is to use a training journal and keep track of your mileage and times.

Most importantly, listen to your body and rest when you need it. 

What If I Miss A Workout?

It happens to everyone – so don’t worry about it! Just pick up where you left off. If you feel like the program is too difficult for you as is, try decreasing the intensity or duration of your workouts.  

What About Sleep?

A good night’s sleep is essential for athletes. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep so you can perform your best during training. Ideally, you should be getting 7-8 hours of sleep each night (2).

If you’re struggling to fall or stay asleep through the night, try some of these sleep hygiene tips:

  • Reserve the bedroom for sleep only
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed
  • Establish a regular bedtime routine
  • Keep your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet
  • Stretch or do relaxation exercises before bedtime
  • Use a noise cancelling device to block out noise distractions

Do Accountability Buddies Help?

Training on your own can be tricky – especially if you’re not seeing results. An accountability buddy will help you stay accountable and on track. This can be anyone – your friend, your spouse, or even a member of your family that you work out with.

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What If I Don’t Have A Lot Of Time?

Triathlon training can be time-consuming, but it does not have to take over your life. You need to make sure you’re spending enough time on each activity, but you don’t want one activity to take up all of your free time.

Having a strict schedule can help you find the right balance. Plan each activity in your calendar, and give yourself enough time to go to all of your workouts. Then, when things come up you’ll know exactly what to do instead!

How Do I Stay Motivated?

Staying motivated throughout your triathlon training can be difficult, but it’s important to remember why you’re doing it in the first place.

  • Write down your goals and post them somewhere you can see them every day
  • Find a training partner who will keep you accountable
  • Join an online forum or community of triathletes
  • Watch inspirational videos or read motivating articles
  • Make a fitness plan and track your progress
  • Reward yourself for reaching milestones along the way

The Bottom Line

Training for a triathlon as a beginner can be daunting, but it’s definitely achievable with the right training plan and motivation. Just be patient and take things one step at a time – before you know it, you’ll be crossing the finish line!


This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. Effects of cross-training. Transfer of training effects on VO2 max between cycling, running and swimming (1994, pubmed.gov)
  2. Experts recommend 7-8 hours of sleep for better brain health (2017, unc.edu)
  3. International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stand: nutritional considerations for single-stage ultra-marathon training and racing (2019, nih.gov)
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