43 Expert Tips on How to Train for a Triathlon

Triathlon training can be complex when you are a beginner but don’t let that put you off! Once you have chosen your distance and set yourself some goals, it’s time to start planning your training and getting stuck in.

We asked the experts for their top tips on how to train for a triathlon and they came up with over 40 great tips to help you plan for race day.

Meet the Experts

Tips on How to Train for a Triathlon

Quick Look: 5 Most Popular Tips

1) Make sure you enjoy it!

2) Include strength and conditioning sessions

3) Do regular brick sessions

4) Know the demands of the course

5) Allow time for rest and recovery


Level 3 BTF Coach

Level 3 BTF (Road) Coach

UKA Endurance Running Coach

BTF Open Water Swimming Coach

BTF Mentor

MSquared Coaching

Michael’s Tips on How to Train for a Triathlon:

Triathlon Training Tip #1. Pick Your Main Event and Plan Backwards

Every season plan should start with your main event (A race) and work backwards. This is the main focus of your season and everything you do should be aimed at this event or possibly a series of events. By working backwards it ensures you peak at the right time.

Using a calendar, mark down your A race. Count back from that date to today to figure out how many weeks you have available to train. Make sure you mark down all other information you have about your schedule between today and race day e.g. days you cannot train due a social event, and low priority events, which may be good for training.

Ideally you would have a 10–14 week solid training block prior to the event with one to two low key races to help you mentally and physically prepare. Much longer than that, and I’ve found that my body simply can’t sustain a peak level of fitness.

Break this block down into smaller chunks of training.

Competition Phase

The final week is obviously race week or Competition phase; you have done most of the hard work and now your focus is to maintain your fitness and boost recovery.

Pre-Competition Phase

The four weeks prior to that; build or pre-competition, where you build on the fitness gained in the preparation phase. Typically, you increase intensity whilst maintaining volume focusing on some event specific training. You may also include an additional elements focusing on specific technical, tactical and physical aspects relevant to you.

Preparation Phase

This leaves approx. 8 weeks for for the base or preparation period. The preparation period is fundamental to your training and is the starting point of any plan, building on what you have done in previous years and your current fitness levels. This is the stage to work on your aerobic conditioning which is a key component of fitness and central to the entire  training plan.

Triathlon Training Tip #2. Stress the System, Rest the System

Simply put, the body breaks down during any training and rebuilds during rest. Without rest we never get stronger.

Most athletes know that getting enough rest after exercise is essential to good performance, but we still over train and feel guilty if we take a day off. We all love training and the benefits we gain from those sessions, but recovery is key and something everyone except the most disciplined of professional athletes neglects.

Getting a good 8 hours sleep every night, taking days off from training, and letting your body adapt are all key recovery elements to help us become stronger athletes. Building rest into any training program is important because this is the time the body adapts to the stress of exercise and the real effects of training takes place.

Recovery also allows the body to replenish vital energy stores and repair tissue damage resulting from training.

Vary your training over the week, avoiding two consecutive days of hard training and have a week of light training every 3-4 weeks. Stay off your feet as much as you can and stretch.

Most importantly, and something we are all guilty of in the modern connected world, allow your mind to relax and recover. Turn off the TV, computers, and phones for a few hours, especially in those immediately before sleep. This will help you feel refreshed both in the body and mind, ready to begin another week of training.

Triathlon Training Tip #3. Don’t Look Back in Anger

One thing that’s key to remember is that after you create your perfect plan you need to be realistic. Take a step back and be aware that it’s highly unlikely you’ll stick to it exactly.

Plans adapt and evolve; injuries and illnesses may manifest because your immune system is more vulnerable, you have to work late to finish a project at work before a key deadline, or you just don’t feel like training – it happens to us all!

If you can juggle sessions around and be flexible, you are half way there. However, do not fall in to the most common mistake made by every athlete; cramming sessions in or doubling up is likely to prove to be counter productive. Ask yourself (or your coach) do I need to swap that missed key session with another? These things happen. We cannot control them. We can, however, control how we react.

That doesn’t mean the plan isn’t important. It allows you to understand how a change might impact your goal, and shows you how to best adapt to stay on target. Remember that when life happens, your plan doesn’t dictate what you should do. Your plan is one thing to consider when listening to yourself, your body and your family.


 IRONMAN Certified Coach

USAT Level 2 Coach

TRX & ACE Certified Personal Trainer

Overall Amateur Winner in Kona 2008

Owner of t2 Coaching


Wendy’s Tips on How to Train for a Triathlon:

Triathlon Training Tip #4. Consistent & Purposeful Training

I have been a triathlete for 26 years and I know my success stems from consistency and purposeful training.

When it comes to every element of training – overall volume, technique, endurance strength and speed sessions – it’s consistency over time that’s truly important. Recovery is just as important as training and that includes nutrition and sleep

Triathlon Training Tip #5. Focus on Strength

The MAIN benefit of strength training for endurance athletes is injury prevention Endurance athletes that rarely suffer a debilitating injury also have a strength habit: they regularly focus on getting stronger (not just on gaining endurance!).

Triathlon Training Tip #6. Do What You Love, Love What You Do

A limited number of athletes may fall into the sport and are labeled selfish.  Most athletes I know  train for their mental and physical wellbeing.

If you don’t enjoy what you are doing, don’t do it.

Karen Parnell

BTF Tutor/Coach Educator

IRONMAN Certified Coach

Level 4 Personal Trainer

Sports Psychology Level 3 & Sports Nutrition Level 2

Owner of Chili Leisure triathlon camp & fitness centre in Spain


Karen’s Tips on How to Train for a Triathlon:

Triathlon Training Tip #7. Swim: Avoid Wetsuit Surprises on Race Day!

Open water swimming can be daunting but needn’t be if you prepare well. Most open water triathlons tend to require you to wear a wetsuit due to water temperatures and safely considerations.

When it comes to your wetsuit make sure on race day there are no surprises! Ensure you have used your wetsuit at least three times before race day to make sure it fits – especially around the neck and crutch area.

You may need a friend to help you in to it. Take your time to put your wetsuit on properly and don’t be frightened to use scissors to cut the arms, legs or even neck line to make sure it doesn’t chafe (this should be done on your first swim in the wetsuit not race day!). If you are worried about doing this check with your wetsuit manufacturer before doing this.

Anywhere where the suit moves across the skin it could chafe so use a good quality body glide type lubricant on your wrists, ankles and neckline (Vaseline is cheap but avoid this as it can decay the wetsuit fabric over time).

Some people use gloves or plastic bags over their hands when putting on their suit to avoid rips or tears. If you do accidentally tear it you can use a product called Black Witch to patch it up.

Warm up well once your suit is on by swinging and rotating your arms, performing hip openers, squats and even lunges. Make sure you can move comfortably and that the armpits, crutch and neck areas are comfortable and in the right place.

On race day, try to get in to the water about 5-10 mins before the start to prepare your mind and body for the swim ahead and make sure your wetsuit is in the right place.

Triathlon Training Tip #8. Bike: Practice Changing Your Inner Tube

Triathletes spend a lot of time on their bikes during training and this is understandable as this is the discipline where you will spend more time on race day. Also cycling is low impact and even if you have knee issues you can usually get a good cardiovascular, power or endurance workout on a turbo, spin bike or out on the open road.

Road craft is very important but the craft that is often overlooked is the ability to change an inner tube quickly, road side. Firstly, make sure you have a spare lightweight inner tube of the right size in your bike saddle bag, tyre levers, and a pump or CO2 inflator. Whatever combination you choose make sure you can use them and they are effective.

Tyre levers come in various styles. My preference are the light weight plastic ones that clip together. I also prefer a small, lightweight pump because they rarely fail and if you just take one CO2 inflator and it fails its game over.

So, on a lazy Sunday afternoon why not sit down and take your tyres on and off a few times and, if you are planning on using a CO2 inflator, try it out? Remember during a race your hands may be shaking due to exertion, anger, or mad panic so try to see if you can make it as easy as possible for shaky hands.

Triathlon Training Tip #9. Running: Add Strength Sessions into Your Routine

Running is probably the easiest of the disciplines to just go out and practice – you just need a pair of trainers and workout clothing and you’re off! Something you should be considering apart from running specificity training (training by just running) are adding some strength sessions in to your routine. These don’t need a gym or complicated equipment, you can simply use your body weight.

During your run, you will use a number of major muscles such as your core (abdominal, shoulder, back muscles), glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings and calf muscles to name a few. So, we should concentrate on these areas to promote good running form, powerful propulsion, and avoiding injuries as we train and race.

My go to exercises are the plank, side plank, squats, lunges, superman, glute bridges, wall sits, push ups and calf raises.

A typical session could be:


Great for the core and can be done with extended arms or on your elbows. If you are new to this then try to do 30 seconds and then add 5 secs every time you do this exercise.

Side planks are great for the oblique’s. Try 10-15 seconds on each side to begin with and add 2-5 secs every time you do it.


A compound move that works the quads, hamstrings and glutes. Try doing these with your hands extended above your head to ensure you are looking forward and weighting through your heels and bottom low. Start by doing 1 minute of squats.


Another great compound move which works your glutes, hamstrings and quads. Again, try doing these with your hands in the air to work the core as well. Try doing alternating lunges, 3 sets of 10 lunges.


10 reps, 3 sets.

Glute Bridges

10 reps with both feet on the ground then 10 reps single leg – 3 sets.

Wall sits

Try to see if you can do 1 minute!

Push Ups

Everyone should be able to do 20 push ups but don’t worry if you can’t. Start with knee push ups and make sure you do full range of movement with chest to the floor.

Once you can do 20 kneeling move to your feet and start to build up to 20.

Calf Raises

Single leg, straight leg to begin with. You aim should be to do 25 on each leg three times through. Don’t worry if you can’t as you can build up over time.


 IRONMAN Certified Coach

F.I.S.T Certified Bike Fitter

Licensed Physical Education & Health Teacher

Owner of Treis Athlos Coaching


Michael’s Tips on How to Train for a Triathlon:

Triathlon Training Tip #10. Do Brick Workouts

Brick workouts teach both your mind and body to transition from one activity to another. It makes race day much easier if you know what to expect when moving from the swim to bike and bike to run.

Brick workouts don’t need to be long, just something that forces you to actually make that activity transition.

A favorite of mine after a long bike ride, is to just change my shoes and head out for an easy to moderate 20 minute run.  It’s simple, doesn’t require much equipment, and doesn’t tax my energy system significantly.

Triathlon Training Tip #11. Practice Open Water Swims

Practice your open water swims prior to event day. Especially if you are new to open water swimming.

The pool and the open water are two very different swim scenarios and you need to be able to handle both.

When doing open water training, don’t swim alone and use a swim buoy like the ISHOF Safer Swimmer.

Triathlon Training Tip #12. Find People to Train With

You will end up doing a fair amount of training on your own, but having some occasional training partners will help keep your motivation, as well has help the miles pass by a bit more quickly.

The closer you are in ability the better, but if you are on different ends of the speed or distance spectrum, choose the workouts to do together so that they compliment what each of you is trying to accomplish.

If Triathlete A is a slower cyclist but doing 140.6 and Triathlete B is a faster cyclist but competes at the Olympic distance, those 2 could choose a cycling workout in which Athlete a is working a bit more on speed while Athlete B is focusing a bit more on recovery.


 Trisutto Certified Coach

Level 3 BTF Coach

Creator of the Palm Paddle

Owner of Triathlon Training Spain


Martin’s Tips on How to Train for a Triathlon:

Triathlon Training Tip #13. Enjoy It!

As a triathlete, it is very important to remember what it is you are doing and why. For most people, training for and competing in a triathlon is a hobby and so it should be something that you do for enjoyment.

You will be fitting in your triathlon world around all your other commitments such as work, family, social, etc and so make sure triathlon is an enjoyment and doesn’t become an obsession.

When training, do whatever it takes to enjoy it rather than it be a chore. Swimming is often the hardest discipline to train for, simply because it takes extra time to fit it in around the travelling to /from the pool, etc. Since this is the case, do what you can to make sure you do enjoy the training – use whatever aids you feel more comfortable with if they make it more palatable than being a chore.

Triathlon Training Tip #14. Train Like A Triathlete

If you are like most triathletes, you probably don’t have a background as a former swimmer, cyclist or runner. Whilst this often makes training more fun, it also makes it more challenging as you must learn how to swim, bike and run well.

However, as a triathlete you need to consider what it is you are training for and your background. As is often the case, whether it is advice from books, magazines, the internet, triathletes spend a lot of time training as if they are a swimmer, a cyclist, or a runner.

Whilst this may seem like the logical thing to do, think about what it is that a swimmer, a cyclist, or a runner has done – trained for a large number of hours over a large number of years! As a triathlete starting in later life, there is no way you can hope to “catch up” (unless you are one of the few naturally / genetically talented people who can do so).

Train in a way that suits your body – in terms of strength and mobility – to learn the basic movement patterns required to swim, bike and run. Then “simply” train to develop strength to be able to perform these movements over the distance of your intended race distance.

Triathlon Training Tip #15. What is a Triathlon?

This almost sounds silly; it’s a race that includes a swim, then a bike and finishes with a run, obvious!

But, if you think about it, considering that the triathlon clock starts at the start of the swim and finishes at the end of the run, the race is effectively how well, or efficiently, you get through the swim to the bike to the run.

The swim will set the scene in terms of how well you will perform overall – ignore this and you will never win! You need to be strong enough to swim the intended distance as efficiently as you can.

The bike is basically a means of getting to the run in as low a fatigued state as possible – and if the swim has been too hard then you’ll spend a large part of the bike recovering, and so not performing to your potential on the bike. Again, bike training must make you strong enough to ride the distance as fast as you can but with as low a heart rate as possible.

The run will always be hard – you will never start the run in a fresh state due to the fatigue from the swim and bike (no matter how good a swimmer and biker you are). This being the case, a traditional run technique – and training using traditional run drills will not help improve your run. Learning a non-traditional run – a low foot lift, fast cadence “shuffle” will be much more beneficial.

Take home point – think and train like a triathlete, not like a swimmer, a cyclist or a runner!


Nick Dunn | Triathlon Training: How to Train for a Triathlon | Expert Tips | Linked Fitness

 Level 2 BTF Coach

Level 3 Personal Trainer 

 Two Time World Age Group Champion – Sprint & Olympic Distances

Coaching Director at Challenge Tri Camp


Nick’s Tips on How to Train for a Triathlon:

Triathlon Training Tip #16. Event: Know the Course

The triathlon you are training for could involve an off road run rather than tarmac, have more uphill then you expected, or be a tough sea swim.…..Whatever it is, find out as much as you can about the course and then practice in training what will be thrown at you on race day.

This is vital for everyone but even more so if new to the sport as you will have less experience in dealing with race variations.

By knowing this information it also gives you a focus to your training. E.g. if the bike course has short sharp climbs on it then one of your key weekly sessions should be hill repeats to get used to the feeling of this type of riding.

Also know what the transition area is like and practice this element, so again come race day, you know how to change from swim to bike and bike to run.

Triathlon Training Tip #17. Swim: Practice Swimming in a Crowd

The swim no matter if in open water or in a pool means you have people around you as you swim. It’s more controlled in a pool as there are likely to be 3-5 athletes in each lane, whereas swimming in the open water creates more of a ‘washing machine’ effect with more people in a concentrated area.

In training whether it be with a club, a few friends/kids getting in your way or just going to the pool at busy times, try and get used to this feeling of there being people around you and not swimming in still water. The odd mouth full of water also happens from time to time as does someone tickling your feet as they swim behind you or catching your arm as you take a stroke.

So practice for this, don’t let it happen for the first time on race day – do it in training and learn how to deal with it. The biggest thing to do is not panic, stay calm, and know these things happen and will be happening to lots of other people, so take your time and then settle back into your stroke.

It might mean a little bit of breaststroke if you’re doing front crawl as your main stroke or even just floating/treading water for a few seconds to compose yourself before carrying on.

Triathlon Training Tip #18. Bike: Get Used to Your Bike

Make sure you take the time to get used to your bike – the saddle, what shorts/tri suit you are going to wear on it, and how it works. Lots of people come into triathlon through gym/spinning bikes and I was one of these but this doesn’t help you prepare for being on a bike outside.

As the main part of the race (approx 50%) is on the bike you need to be used to riding it and be comfortable on it, you also need to be confident with handling, turning, and of course the brakes and gear selection. Aim to ride the bike you are going to race on as much as possible, especially as the race day approaches.

Finally make sure the bike is road worthy before using it and each time you use it do a quick safety check and ensure bolts/screws etc are tightened correctly.  The biggest thing I see is front and back wheels not in correctly and water bottle cages coming loose! Remember safety first and always wear a helmet.

Triathlon Training Tip #19. Running: Learn About Pacing

Learn about your own pacing so you don’t set off too fast. It is easy to get off the bike and think ‘great only the run to do now’, and with people watching you in those first few moments, you start like a train. Within a few minutes you are walking!

Do some runs in training that are shorter than the race distance and some over the distance (excluding long distance/marathon) to practice your pace/speed and to understand what effort you can hold over certain distances.

Come race day you want to be starting the run with an idea of what pace you should be running to complete the distance. Also remember you are running off the bike so make sure you do some practicing of this – we call it a ‘brick’ session where you do a bike ride and then transition straight into a run.

The first few times you do this, the legs might feel strange at the start of the run (jelly legs!). This is normal but with practice you will get used to it and it doesn’t take too long for the body to realise it is not biking anymore and you will settle into your run rhythm.

At the end of the run make sure you have enough energy to crack a smile as you go over the line and celebrate your achievements. Triathlon is about having fun and yes nerves are normal, but don’t pressurise yourself and enjoy it.

Good luck and happy training!


 Level 2 BTF Coach

Level 2 Open Water Swimming Coach 

BSc Sport Science 

Founder of Pete Wilby Triathlon


Pete’s Tips on How to Train for a Triathlon:

Triathlon Training Tip #20. Visualise Yourself Completing the Course

Visualisation is one of the best ways to minimise mistakes. Consider some training as psychological, take some time to study the course maps.

Try to imagine yourself swimming around the markers in the correct order, riding the course and encountering the junctions, running the route with all the laps/tight corners/bottle necks. In essence, aim to know the course and be confident to navigate it.

In the swim, it is not so uncommon for swimmers that are next to you, to go the wrong way. Be confident, believe in yourself, and stick to your plan.

Triathlon Training Tip #21. Do Brick Sessions

Brick sessions are one of the most specific type of training sessions you can do. Practice laying out your transition and rehearse running to your transition and transitioning concisely. You can use a brick session for many short reps and lots of transition practices for example:

  • 5x (cycle around the block/transition/run around the block) – Aim: be concise and organised in transition.

Another way you could use a brick session to enhance triathlon training would be to run straight after a hard bike ride to get used to how it feels running on tired legs.

Triathlon Training Tip #22. Do Pacing Training Sessions

Pacing training sessions are a valuable way to increase fitness and technique whilst also preparing you to negatively split on race day.

If you spend the majority of your training sessions feeling you could go faster, it is better than spending it feeling like you have blown up.

A good main set aiming to improve pacing at the running track is:

  • 4x (1) 400m steady, 2) 400m faster, 3) 400m even faster, with 2 minutes rest after each) – Aim: match the lap time each time through.


Elite Swimmer

Masters in Physical Education & Sports Science

ITU Crosstriathlon Age Group World Champion

Xterra European Tour Age Group Winner 4 Years in a Row

Owner of KonaCoaching.com


Peter’s Tips on How to Train for a Triathlon:

Triathlon Training Tip #23. Enjoy the Variety of Training!

This is one of the most enjoyable aspects of triathlon training. You don’t “just” cycle, run or swim. You do all of them and even combined sessions.

Triathlon Training Tip #24. Do Brick Sessions

Do lots of bricks. Even if you do just a short run after your bike ride, it gets you prepared for that moment after T2.

Triathlon Training Tip #25. Quality Not Quantity

Do quality work, not only volume. This means technique, intervals in all three sports, and do not forget to recover well


 IRONMAN Certified Coach

Level 2 TSA Coach

Applied Sports Psychology & Peak Performance Coach

Advanced Exercise Specialist

Founder of Ultimate Sports Coaching


Lynette’s Tips on How to Train for a Triathlon:

Triathlon Training Tip #26. Find A Good Coach

When you look at the world’s best athletes, there is one thing that almost universally links them – the fact that in some shape or form they have a coach. A coach is there to help you to do what you can’t do on your own.

For an athlete without a coach it is very hard to take a subjective look at what they are doing and why. Essentially, you need a person who understands your overall goals and helps you work towards achieving these.

A coach should help you to stay motivated and accountable for all your workouts and make changes where needed.

Triathlon Training Tip #27. Train Smart, Not Hard

Training harder and more often is not always the best approach to triathlon training. To race faster you need to train slower. Aerobic training will be the foundation of any triathlon training whether you are doing a sprint distance race, up to an Ironman event.

Any event over an hour taps into your aerobic energy systems and training aerobically helps your body learn to utilize fats as fuel as opposed to just relying on glycogen stores which don’t supply as much energy as fats.

The bigger your aerobic level or base, the more room to add on some intensity workouts such as speed and power. Training aerobically also prevents over training and injuries, it is the best way to cultivate a greater economy in each discipline.

Triathlon Training Tip #28. Rest is King

When you train, you stress your body and break down your muscles. Your broken down muscle requires repairing, which is part of the adaption process – repairing your muscles stronger than they were before. This results in your body, and specifically your leg muscles being able to withstand increased strain, allowing you to produce more power for longer.

Without allowing yourself to recover, you will stop making progress, increase the risk of injury and illness, run the risk of overtraining, and ultimately, you will fall off the rails! There are many ways to aid your recovery such as going for sport massages on a regular basis, wearing compression gear, taking ice baths, eating plenty of proteins & antioxidants, having power naps & taking a rest day when told to by your coach.

Always listen to your body!

Triathlon Training Tip #29. Never Stop Having Fun 

Never forget why you started this sport in the first place. The moment you stop enjoying or having fun doing this sport you will lose motivation and it will be difficult to stay on track towards your goals.


Curtis Scrugham | Triathlon Training: How to Train for a Triathlon | Expert Tips | Linked Fitness

 M.S. Exercise Physiology

USAT Level 1 Certified Coach

USAC Level 2 Certified Coach

USAC Certified Power Based Training Coach

Founder of Breakaway Endurance Coaching


Curtis’ Tips on How to Train for a Triathlon:

Triathlon Training Tip #30. Start Small

If you are new to triathlon, start small, both with the distance of your first few races, and even the size of the event you sign up for.

Triathlon Training Tip #31. Practice Open Water Swimming

Make sure you have ample open-water practice prior to your first open-water race. There are so many factors in open water swimming that create anxiety, then add to that the excitement of race day, then dozens or even hundreds of people swimming around you, all of which can be a recipe for disaster.

Besides open-water practice, other strategies to reduce anxiety during the swim are to start at the back of the wave, or out to either side, or pick a race that has a rolling start instead of a wave start so you can seed yourself by expected pace. This way you should be swimming around people of equal ability, leading to a safer swim for everyone.

Triathlon Training Tip #32. Learn the Demands of the Course

Take the time to learn the demands of the course so you won’t be surprised on race day. How much climbing is there on the bike and run? What are the steepest grades you’ll encounter? What is the expected air and water temperature?

Knowing answers to these questions will allow you to train for the demands of the race, not just the distance.


Judith Brand | Triathlon Training: How to Train for a Triathlon | Expert Tips | Linked Fitness

 UKCC Level 3 Triathlon Coach

Retül Bike Fitter

PhD Physical Education

Founder of Dr J Performance


Judith’s Tips on How to Train for a Triathlon:

Triathlon Training Tip #33. Include Strength & Conditioning in Your Training

Whether you are a beginner or experienced athlete, this should be your 4th discipline! Essential for injury prevention and guaranteed to make the other 3 disciplines easier and in most cases, improve.

Examples include – Planks – regular planking will help you get a better swim position in the water, lessens shoulder and neck discomfort on the bike, and gives the strength to run tall.

Single leg work – triathlon always involves each leg working independently – so your strength work should include single leg work – calves, quads, glutes and hamstrings.

Triathlon Training Tip #34. Allow Time for Rest & Recovery

Essential elements in any training plan. Training can be likened to the architect – rest and recovery are the builder. General rule, 1 day a week (or 2 if you are over 50), and 1 week a month (or every 3 weeks).

Triathlon Training Tip #35. Enjoy! 

Most of us aren’t professional athletes and this is our hobby. It should be fun. If you prefer training with others – pick things where you can do this. Ideal opportunities can include Park Run, cycle sportifs.

Most people are now close enough to be able to join a good tri club and benefit from their expert coaches.


Becky Black | Triathlon Training: How to Train for a Triathlon | Expert Tips | Linked Fitness

 M.S. Exercise Science

 IRONMAN Certified Coach

USAT Level 2 Coach

 ACSM – Certified Exercise Physiologist

Coach at The Fast Lab


Becky’s Tips on How to Train for a Triathlon:

Triathlon Training Tip #36. Know Your Why

Consistency in your training is the number one thing you can do to make sure you have a good race. Unfortunately, life is already pretty chaotic for most people, between work, family, friends, and other obligations.

Training can sometimes just feel like another thing on your to-do list that adds stress. One way to help prevent this is to remember WHY you decided to do this and WHY it was important to you.

Your why is another way of saying “what do I want to get out of this experience”. While your “why” may change, you should always remember it, because if you can, then that swim session isn’t just another thing you have to do today.

Instead, it’s a step on the path to getting what you want and you’re going to be much more committed and consistent with your training.

Triathlon Training Tip #37. Know Your Limiters

Even if you think that everything is a limiter right now, (welcome to the club) you still need to identify what is most likely going to stop you from reaching your goals. Identifying your strengths and limiters will help you create a focus for your training plan. Below are a few examples of potential limiters:

  • Overall Endurance – Do you have the stamina to exercise for the duration you think it will take to complete the race?
  • Sport Skills – How’s your technique on the swim, bike, and run?
  • Injuries – Injuries can be a big limiter. Are you prone to any or do you currently have one?
  • Do you lack endurance, strength, or speed?

Once you’ve identified your strengths and limiters, you can modify your training to place more focus on improving your limiters. Once you feel more confident that you’ve improved, (at least to the point where it’s no longer the top of your list) then you can switch focus to the next big limiter on your list while maintaining those you’ve already worked to improve.

I don’t recommend trying to focus on more than about 2-3 limiters at a time. If training time is really limited, maybe just one or two.

Triathlon Training Tip #38. Know Your Body

One awesome aspect of training in the modern era is all of the awesome technology that can help us track and plan our workouts. You have tech that tells us not just how fast and far you’ve gone, but at what workload, intensity, recovery, and fatigue.

While all of this data can be incredibly helpful to you in your journey, I am a firm believer in knowing how to listen to and obey your body. This will force you to embrace your training more fully and will allow you to get more out of each workout and you can learn to change and adapt more quickly.

It may be difficult at first, so turn off your music, stop looking at your watch or device, and ask yourself “what am I feeling right now, and what does it mean?” Here are some of the signals you should know how to interpret from your body:

  • What training zone you’re in just by “feel”
  • When form is starting to fail (quality decreases and more likely to become injured)
  • The aches and pains that are indicative of impending injury


Andrea Gabba | Triathlon Training: How to Train for a Triathlon | Expert Tips | Linked Fitness

 Head Coach of Italian Under 23 National Triathlon Team 2017

Head Coach of Turkish Triathlon Team 2013 – 2016

Coached Triathlon at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games and 2008 Beijing Olympic Games

Founder of TriathlonCoach.it


Andrea’s Tips on How to Train for a Triathlon:

Triathlon Training Tip #39. Olympic Distance Race Training

Swim Training:

  • Short warm up
  • 400 meter easy swim
  • 4 x 25 meter sprint
  • 3 x (2 x 100 meter really fast → rest 10 seconds + 3 x 100 meter race pace → rest 15 seconds) → between sets do 50 very easy
  • Long swim with paddle

Bike Training:

  • Warm up
  • 3 – 5 x (20 second sprint at max speed + 40 seconds of easy recovery) → rest between sets with 5 minutes of easy
  • 20 minutes race pace back to a scooter

Run Training:

  • Warm up
  • 10 x (1 minute fast + 1 minute easy)
  • 5 minutes easy
  • 10 x (30 seconds fast + 30 seconds easy)
  • Cool down

Triathlon Training Tip #40. IRONMAN Race Training

Swim Training:

  • Warm up
  • Long series of 30 x 100 meters → rest 10 seconds OR 60 x 50 meters → rest 10 seconds (both race pace with paddle and pull buoy)
  • 10 x 50 meters (25 fast + 25 easy)
  • Cool down

Bike Training:

  • Long bike 5 hours or more with 2 x (10 minute max gear low cadence + 10 minutes easy)
  • 3 x (20 minutes race pace + 10 minutes easy)

Run Training:

  • 2 hours with  30 minutes easy
  • 12 x (3 minutes race pace + 2 minutes faster than race pace)
  • 15 minutes progressive from race pace to fast
  • 15 minutes cool down


 USAT Level 1 Coach

Certified Personal Trainer

Founder of Northstar Triathlon & Fitness


Lea’s Tips on How to Train for a Triathlon:

Triathlon Training Tip #41. You Don’t Need Fancy Equipment

Use the bike you have available (I did my first 4 races on a mountain bike). You don’t need a wet-suit or other fancy triathlon gear.

Triathlon Training Tip #42. Train All 3 Sports

Most people enter into triathlon proficient in one of the 3 disciplines (swim, bike, run) and have one discipline they are not very good at. They then train the thing they are good at, because they like it.

This is a big mistake, you need to spend more time training the discipline you are not good at. You will be more successful at the other 2 disciplines

Triathlon Training Tip #43. Find A Group or Club

A group of like minded people can go a long way in helping your get to the finish line of your first race. They have a wealth of knowledge, so ask lots of questions.

Also, it is always more fun to train with others!

How Do You Train for a Triathlon?

We would love to hear your comments! Do you use any of the experts tips mentioned above? Do you have any other top tips that prepare you for race day and get you the results you want?

Let us know in the comments box below!

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