Triathlon training basics

March 7, 2011

It finally looks like Spring has arrived (or is it another false alarm?). With the London Triathlon about four and a half months away, now is the time to start your training (if you haven’t already). This blog is intended for all those doing the triathlon on behalf of Renewable World. I’m sure there will be a wide range of abilities and different sporting experiences so I will try and include something for everyone.

The race itself will be a 750m swim, 20k bike, and 5k run so the training will be geared towards getting you through those distances.One of the main problems that many of you will have will be fitting in your training around work and family. There is no easy solution to this, but your organisational skills will be put to the test. Support of your family will be essential to your training so it’s important that you try to get a balance. It is a good idea to try and work out when you will have the opportunity to train. Use the facilities that are available when it’s convenient for you. For example if there’s a swimming pool near where you work  either go into work early and swim before work, or swim on a lunchtime. This way your training doesn’t eat into your family time. It’s also a good idea to do some early morning sessions as most triathlons are early morning starts and it’s beneficial if your body is used to performing early in the day.

Now is the time to try to start getting into a routine with your training. If you are new to triathlon you should be looking at doing some training three to four times per week at the moment. If you have a particular strength in one of the disciplines it is worthwhile spending a bit more time on the other two, otherwise we’ll try and split your training equally.

The first area we will look at is the swimming, as to many this is the most daunting discipline. Everyone will have had different experiences with swimming, but it is one the better activities for improving fitness. There is no hard and fast rule which says that you must swim front crawl during the race, breast stroke is perfectly acceptable if that is your preference. If you are new to swimming we need to build you up to being able to swim the equivalent of 30 lengths of a 25m pool. It’s important to structure your swim sessions into a warm up, a main set and a cool down.  As a beginner one session you could do is a warm up of 6 x 50m with a 1 minute recovery, and then a main set of 50m, 100m, 150m, 100, 50m with a 1 minute recovery between each rep, and a cool down of 100m. Speed isn’t important so swim these at a pace that you can manage to maintain for the session. If you struggle with these distances don’t worry about it, just reduce them to 50m, 75m, 100m, 75m, 50m until you are more comfortable.

With regards to the biking a good starting point would be to try and ride at a steady pace for 1 hour. If possible include some hills as these help to build your strength. With the lighter nights now coming it should be possible to get some runs in  after work. To start with a couple of runs of 15 – 20 minutes will help to build your stamina. Next week I will put something together for those with a little more experience. If anyone has any questions or would like a particular area covered please e-mail me on