So you want to start triathlon training do you? Well you are reading the right article! Triathlon is divided into 3 parts and races vary in distance. The main international race distances are:

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 SHORT COURSE

SWIM

BIKE

RUN

Super Sprint

0.25 miles

6.2 miles

1.55 miles

400 meters

10 km

2.5 km

Sprint

½ mile

12.4 miles

3.1 miles

750 meters

20 km

5 km

 STANDAR COURSE

SWIM

BIKE

RUN

Olympic

0.93 miles

24.8 miles

6.2 miles

1.5 km

40 km

10 km

 LONG COURSE

SWIM

BIKE

RUN

Half Ironman

1.2 miles

56 miles

13.1 miles

1.9 Km

90 Km

21.09 Km

Ironman

2.4 miles

112 miles

26.2 miles

3.8 Km

180 Km

42.195 Km

Obviously it is imperative that you train for all three of these sections.

Triathlon for beginners

You want to divide your training week into a 3-5 days of training with the remaining days as rest days. Also don’t do all five days consecutively, you want to train on alternating days whenever possible.

In addition if you do train 2 days consecutively you want to train different styles than the day before, for example Monday you do swimming Tuesday you do biking Wednesday you rest and Thursday you do running and so on. This is the kind of workout schedule you are aiming for.

To get the most out of your training you need to know where your anaerobic threshold is. Your anaerobic threshold is when your body begins to shift between energy systems; Aerobic metabolism and Anaerobic metabolism.

Aerobic means using oxygen and An means without, therefore anaerobic is a non oxygen consuming supply of energy. Using your anaerobic system produces lactic acid which is causes that burning sensation in your muscles when you work them hard. Aerobic metabolism burns a mixture of carbohydrates and fat while anaerobic metabolism burns exclusively carbohydrates.

Back to the main point – the anaerobic threshold is the point where the aerobic system cannot supply energy fast enough and your anaerobic system activates to make up the deficit. To find your AT run at a pace where you just barely begin to feel a slight burn in your muscles.

Your AT will be your main race pace. This is the best pace because you can keep up an aerobic pace for long periods of time, but you cannot keep up an anaerobic pace for very long. Thus if you are properly trained your AT is the maximum pace that you will be able to keep up for the duration of the race.

You want to train slightly above your race pace on your hard training days, this is at least once a week for each style. On your low intensity days you want to train at about 60-70% of your race pace. You also want to start your training with short sessions and gradually increase them until you can run the majority of the race

One other critical thing you need to do is get proper form. You would be amazed if you knew how much faster you can run with proper form while putting the same amount of energy into it. We as humans are built for walking, when we use the same movement patterns for running it is incredibly inefficient energy wise. I would recommend hiring an expert to teach and critique your form as I cannot possibly do it justice with this article, however I will try anyway.

SWIMMING

For swimming you want your body to form a straight line, take an arm and swing it in a half-circle above the water’s surface, as your arm touches the water pull it slightly underneath and do an S shape motion as you pull it back to the starting position, while circling your other arm. Kicks should be large flutter kicks and do them quickly.

triathlon for beginners_swimming

If you are comfortable take your head underneath the water staring straight down and keep it there until you need to breathe. When you first feel the sensation to breathe turn your head to the side and while circling your arm twist your body so your mouth moves above the surface, breathe and move your head back to the starting position. This needs to be done very quickly. Also side note. Never hyperventilate before entering the water or while in the water.

People do this to try and get farther underwater without taking a breath. This leads to shallow water blackout, which is where your oxygen levels get critically low underwater, but your CO2 levels aren’t high enough to tell your brain that you need to breathe. So you don’t feel the urge to breathe and you pass out underwater. This is an incredibly terrible way to die and it is 100% preventable.

BIKING

Biking isn’t too technical, however having the right equipment can make a big difference. If you are serious about racing in triathlons don’t buy a mountain bike, dirt bike or hybrid. You want a nice road bike that will ride well and preferably one with a long warranty.

There are bikes that are designed specifically for triathlons with computers controlling the gears and an excessive amount of speed related accessories, but these are quite expensive. Just go online and have a look at a pictures of elite bikes then look at the bikes at a local bike shop, you will see a difference.

triathlon for beginners_cycling

RUNNING

Running is probably the most technical aspect of triathlons. Watch professional runners and you will see, especially if you can slow down the footage, that the movement patterns are way different from walking. First off, when you first start fall forward just before your first step. Not all the way of course, but when your body is about 45 degrees to the ground you should push forward with your foot. Try and keep this angle when running.

Now when running bring your knees up toward your chest then rapidly extend your knee slamming your foot into the ground pushing you forward. Do not let your heel flip up behind you. You will have a natural tendency to flex your knee back behind you as you run. This is a major energy depleting mistake and it slows you down considerably. Moving on try this exercise right now.

triathlon for beginners_running

Stand up and press your toes on one foot down to try and jump without help from your legs. As you fall press your toes down with your other foot and try to hover half an inch off the ground by alternating feet. This is the feeling you should have when you push off the ground when you run. You should slam your toes into the ground on contact to give you an extra boost.

There are a lot of different techniques you can do to speed yourself up and save energy and I have just scratched the surface with this article. The best thing to do for any sport is to hire a personal trainer who knows what it takes to win and can teach it to you.

On a final note do not train when the race is less than 48 hours away, at this point just rest and eat lots of carbohydrates. This will give your body time to recover and prepare you for the big event.

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