Triathlon Training for Beginners

Photo by Victoire Joncheray on Unsplash

With the new year quickly approaching, it’s time to set new goals for ourselves. For some, that goal may be to challenge themselves, to lose weight, or to try something new. If those goals describe what you are looking for, you should consider competing in a triathlon to complete all three! Triathletes are dedicated runners, swimmers, and cyclists⁠—these activities aid in slimming and toning the body, challenging oneself, and participating in something new. Being new to something as intense as a triathlon may seem daunting, so here are five tips for beginners.

1. Give Yourself Time

When you begin to train for a triathlon, give yourself time to properly practice each leg of the race. Being unfamiliar with biking, swimming, or running long distances can leave you shocked and drained by the end of your first race. Instead, it is better to plan and give yourself enough time to follow a training program that will teach you endurance and prepare you for your upcoming race. Twelve weeks is the typical recommended time for beginners to train for a sprint triathlon.

2. Start Small (Don’t Overtrain)

If you use a training guide, you’ll notice that guides start you doing shorter sequences of running, cycling, and swimming to have you grow accustomed to the exercise and to start building stamina. It is important to follow these guidelines to prevent overtraining or injury. Overtraining can make you sick and overly exhausted. If you develop any injuries, visit a doctor or specialist like the Teton Foot & Ankle Center. If you overtrain, scale back your workouts to be more manageable.

3. Sign Up

While people may have intentions of racing and training for a triathlon, sometimes they don’t have the motivation to train. Training for a race as challenging as a triathlon is hard work and after two weeks you might want to give up. If you are afraid you’ll quit training, sign up for a race early. Early signups are like a downpayment⁠—they make you feel accountable and motivated to see things through. Signing up in advance lets you know exactly how much time you have to train and gives you something to look forward to!

4. Make Friends

Working out alone isn’t for everyone. Some people prefer to workout with a friend to hold them accountable, to help them with difficult exercises, and to participate in competitions together. A triathlon is a great time to make friends. Making friends with other athletes will help you feel supported and will give you someone to lean on when the going gets tough.

5. Focus on Weaknesses

Triathlons consist of three exercises that not everyone excels at⁠—running, cycling, and swimming. Unless you are a veteran triathlete, it’s unlikely that you are well trained in each of these sports. If you know you aren’t a very strong swimmer, then it would be wise to focus more on your swimming workouts than running or cycling. Likewise, if you aren’t a strong runner or cycler, give these exercises more attention during your workouts. Even if you feel comfortable in each of these activities, train regularly to make sure your body is ready for the strain of completing all three on race day.  

If you are ready for a new challenge this new year, sign up for a triathlon⁠—you won’t regret it!