5 Effective Ways to Train for a Triathlon

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  • Matt Cook
  • |
  • May 18, 2017 9:00:00 AM

5-Effective-Ways-to-Train-for-a-Triathlon.jpgTraining for your first triathlon can be an overwhelming experience. Where do you start? What type of training is best? There are many different ways to train for a triathlon. Here are five effective ways to get ready for your first triathlon.

1. Start with a Shorter Distance

There are a few different triathlon race distances, but for your first race, it’s a good idea to train for a shorter distance. If the shorter race goes well, you can always work your way up to an Ironman later. If you start with a long distance at first, you could get burnt out during training or injure yourself.

A spring-distance event is a good choice for a first-time triathlete. In a sprint-distance triathlon, you swim for 750 metres, bike for 20 kilometres, and run for five kilometres. A beginner can train for a sprint-distance triathlon in 11 weeks, so it’s a good way to ease yourself into the sport.

2. Follow a Training Program

Every triathlete needs a training plan, and a plan is especially important for first-time racers. While more experienced triathletes may be able to make their own training plans, first time triathletes should stick to pre-made training plans. When you use a plan that’s been designed by an expert, you can be sure that diligently following it will get you where you need to be.

Try to stick to your training plan as closely as you can. When you follow a plan, you can build a routine, and training becomes second nature.

3. Train with a Friend

If you train for a triathlon on your own, you may get bored or lonely during your workouts. You can also lose motivation, and wind up relaxing on the couch after work instead of training for your race. Training with a friend is a great way to overcome these problems and get the most out of your triathlon training.

If you have a friend who’s training for a triathlon, or who’s training for one of the three disciplines, working out with them can make your training sessions more fun. Plus, when you know your friend is waiting for you at the gym after work, it’s harder to skip a workout since you’ll let your friend down.

4. Focus on Your Weaknesses

When you start to train for a triathlon, you’ll probably notice that you’re naturally better at one of the three disciplines. For example, you may discover that you’re a natural cyclist and can perform well without too much effort, while swimming is a lot harder for you. It’s tempting to spend more time on the easier sport that comes easier to you, but to perform well in your triathlon, you need to focus on your weaknesses.

Spending more time training a sport you’re not good at isn’t fun, but it’s essential for triathlon success. It’s tempting to think that you can just perform better in the bike leg to make up for your poor swimming performance, for example, but this can wear you out during the race.

5. Train at Home

Some days, it can feel impossible to make time to train for a triathlon. With the demands of work and family, you may not have time to drive to your favourite outdoor cycling or running route. On these days, don’t skip your workout just because you’re short on time. Instead, train at home to ensure you can squeeze in a triathlon training session.

When you run on a treadmill, you don’t have to deal with wind or terrain changes, so set the elevation to one degree to make up for this. You can also use the hills program on your treadmill to simulate an outdoor workout more closely. For cycling workouts, you can use an indoor bike trainer. Trainers provide resistance with wind or magnets, so you can get the benefits of a bike ride without having to leave your house.


Topics: Triathlon Training


Matt Cook

Matt Cook

Father of 3 and former competitive swimmer, Matt completed his first Ironman 70.3 in 2013 in Muskoka. He has since completed another 70.3 and is planning on doing a full Ironman in 2016 or 2017. Matt took up triathlons for the challenge, to relax and to just to stay in shape so he can enjoy life with his family.

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