How to Train for a Triathlon

During the triathlon season, triathletes face countless hours of training. On the flip side, triathletes must be sure that the high-levels of exercise do not cause over-training or worse, injury. As a result, triathletes are best served by planning out a week of training in advance. This helps to develop a well-thought-out and balanced schedule, which in turn, allows for sufficient muscular and neuromuscular recovery.

Balancing endurance exercises with conditioning and strength workouts will also yield greater results, as it trains the body across three different domains. Additionally, it has been proven that anaerobic activity helps condition the body aerobically. However, this logic does not work inversely. Therefore, it’s in a triathlete’s best interest to train across various levels of intensity, distance, weight, and capacity to best prepare for the upcoming event.

This training should include distance, interval conditioning, and some strength work. More important is maintaining a proper diet and nutrition plan. Be sure to remain adequately hydrated and nourished throughout the week. The integration of these two components will adequately prepare a triathlete for a successful race. For more information on dietary aspects for triathlon training, please see the guide titled Triathlon Nutrition Programming.

Creating a Training Schedule

Below is a one-day training schedule for a typical triathlete who is eight weeks out from an Olympic Distance triathlon event. It is typical training procedure before a triathlete begins to taper and reduce the workload. This sample schedule should give you an idea about how to create your own routine. Please note that hydration consumption is not included in the schedule, as it is assumed that the triathlete will consume the recommended dosage — at least half of their body-weight in ounces per day.

Sample Triathlon Training Schedule
4:45 am Wake Up  
5:00 am Pre-workout meal  
6:00 am Workout #1- Swimming Stretch; 300-meter warm up
    4x500-meter sprints, 80% effort; rest 90 seconds between efforts
    10x100-meter sprints, max effort; rest 60 seconds between efforts
    300-meter warm down; stretch
7:00 am Post-workout meal  
9:00 am Snack  
11:30 am Pre-workout snack  
12:00 pm Workout #2- Running Stretch; jog one mile
    10x100-meter sprints; rest 60 seconds between efforts
    5-km run at 90% effort
    Jog one mile as a warm down; stretch
1:00 pm Post-workout meal  
2:00 pm Snack  
4:30 pm Snack  
5:30 pm Workout #3- Cycling Stretch; 5-km ride as a warm-up
    40-km ride at 80% effort
    5-km ride as a warm down; stretch

7:30 pm

Post-workout meal  
8:45 pm Pre-bed time snack  
10:30 pm Sleep  

Eat Right, Work Hard

Along with rigorous training, liquid and caloric consumption plays an extremely important role in a triathlete’s schedule. It is important for triathletes to constantly feed and hydrate themselves throughout the day. It is recommended that an average adult should drink half their bodyweight in ounces with just water (does not include coffee or other beverages). For an athlete, though, it is recommended that they consume 10 to 20 additional ounces on top of the daily recommended consumption.

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