Congratulations!  You have officially signed up or at least are thinking of signing up for your first triathlon!  Now the real fun begins!  I would give yourself at least 3 months of solid training to be ready!  I recommend training all areas of the race including swimming, biking, and running but also include weight training!  This means doubling up some days.  I want you to think about which of the three is going to be the hard to learn.

For example, when I first started training for my first triathlon (yes I am crazy enough that I signed up for an Olympic standard distance triathlon for my first!), I knew the running would be the challenging point, so I focused more on running and building my endurance base for that.  This will be very individual.  I find a lot of people focus more on the swimming! Totally find just take some time to think about what you need to work on the most!  I like to make Sundays my two event days back to back.

You can pick any day to do this but pick two events to do back to back.  For example, one week bike and run or swim and bike one right after the other.  This is important for your body to become accustomed to this.

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Weight training –

2-3 times a week total body.  I would recommend lunges, squats, planks, chest flies, pull ups, step ups, chest press, bent over rows, Romanian dead lifts, Russian twists, shoulder press, dead lifts, etc.  I also recommend 3-4 sets of 10 repetitions. Space these sessions out over a 7-day period. Weight train Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Swimming –

If swimming is not your strong suit, I would recommend swimming 3 times in a seven day period.  If you are a strong swimmer, train in the pool 2-3 times in a seven-day period.  Have one day of a continuous, slower paced swim and aim to increase this time every week.  Focus on speed training as another session.  Do a solid warm up of 200-500 meters and then do 50-meter sprints 10-15 times with equal rest ratio to what you worked.  For example, if it takes you 1 minute to swim 50 meters, rest 1 minute.  These are fast so do some work! Day 3 training in the pool is 200-meter intervals, swim fast for 200 meters and recover for 100 meters.  Rest in between for 1 minute and rest 2 minutes after the 100 meters.  Repeat this 5-10 times.

Biking –

The bike is the longest part of the triathlon, so building up your miles is important.  Side note – always wear your helmet! Train on your bike at least twice a week with one day increasing in distance each week and one day focusing on speed and hills.  Make sure you hit the distance you are going to bike in your race so you have a feeling for how long you will want to hit.  When you are biking, focus on pushing and pull with both legs equally. Look at the course you will be competing at and see if there are a lot of hills.  If so, definitely hit a lot of hills in your training too!

What is a triathlon - running

Running –

The running aspect of the triathlon is challenge due to the fact it is after all the other events.  Building your endurance will be important! I recommend having 2-3 training sessions a week of running.  One day of training should be a longer endurance run.  Slowly increase this distance each week.  Another day should be your race pace that you desire to run at in the race.  Slowly increase this distance every other week.  If you do a third day of running training, I recommend hill sprints.  Performing hill sprints will increase your level of conditioning, and especially if your race course has hills, this will increase your ability to perform.  Run as fast as you can up a good sized hill for 1:00, and jog to recovery coming down.  Rest :30-1:00 if need be at the bottom and repeat for 10 repetitions.

Random tips –

Nutrition is extremely important.  What you put in your body will determine your performance.  So if you are putting in junk, you will perform like junk.  The morning of the race I typically eat 2 waffles with peanut butter and honey an hour before I compete.  I always eat the before a training session as well so my body is using the same type of food each time and will use it more efficiently.  When you are training and in your race, if you are over an hour you need to give your body more energy.  You can use a peanut butter and honey sandwich, a banana, but keep it consistent! Clif Bar makes a product called Blocks.  This is what I use while I am training and competing.  Hydration is also very important.  Remember that you body is mostly water and you need to replenish this water loss after sweating and breaking down your body.

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