Sprint Triathlon Training Plan for Beginners


Author’s Note: This is a general training plan for a sprint triathlon. Please consult with a coach or medical professional before starting any training program.

A sprint triathlon is an excellent introduction to the world of multisport racing, typically consisting of a 0.5-mile (750 m) swim, a 12.4-mile (20 km) bike ride, and a 3.1-mile (5 km) run.

This 12-week training plan is designed to help beginners build their endurance, strength, and technique across all three disciplines, setting them up for a successful first sprint triathlon.

Training Plan Overview:

Duration: 12 weeks

Weekly Structure: 2 swims, 2 bike rides, 2 runs, 1 strength session, and 1 rest day

Longest workouts: 0.5-mile swim, 15-mile bike ride, and 4-mile run

Weeks 1-4: Building a Base

The first four weeks focus on building a solid foundation in each discipline. Start with shorter distances and gradually increase your training volume.

Swim: Begin with 20-minute sessions, focusing on technique and form. Gradually increase to 30 minutes.

Bike: Start with 30-minute rides at an easy pace. Build up to 45-minute sessions.

Run: Initiate with 15-20 minute runs, increasing to 30 minutes. Maintain an easy pace to build endurance.

Strength: Incorporate one full-body strength training session per week, focusing on functional exercises for triathletes.

Weeks 5-8: Building Endurance and Speed

In this phase, you’ll continue to increase your training volume while also incorporating speed and interval workouts.

Swim: Increase swim sessions to 40 minutes, including some interval training.

Bike: Gradually extend your rides to 1 hour, incorporating some interval sessions for speed development.

Run: Build up to 45-minute runs, including some faster-paced intervals or tempo runs.

Strength: Continue with weekly strength workouts, focusing on core stability and functional exercises.

Weeks 9-11: Race Specificity and Brick Workouts

As race day approaches, it’s essential to prepare your body for the specific demands of a sprint triathlon. This phase includes brick workouts—back-to-back bike and run sessions—to simulate race conditions.

Swim: Maintain 40-minute sessions, focusing on pacing and, if possible, open water skills.

Bike: Continue with 1-hour rides, but also include brick workouts with a 15-20 minute run immediately after a bike session.

Run: Maintain 45-minute runs, but focus on pacing and include some race-specific brick workouts.

Strength: Maintain weekly strength sessions, but consider reducing intensity as training volume increases.

Week 12: Taper and Race

During the final week, you’ll taper your training volume to ensure that your body is well-rested and ready for the race.

Swim: Reduce swim sessions to 20-30 minutes, focusing on technique and form.

Bike: Gradually decrease ride duration, with your last long ride a week before the race.

Run: Reduce run duration to 20-30 minutes, maintaining an easy pace.

Strength: Limit strength training to one low-intensity session early in the week.

Taper: In the final week, significantly reduce your training volume while maintaining some shorter, high-intensity workouts.

Wrapping up

With dedication and consistent training, you’ll be prepared to conquer your first sprint triathlon. Remember to listen to your body, adjust the plan as needed, and consult a professional for personalized guidance.

Good luck, and enjoy your journey to the finish line!

P.S. If you are looking for a coach, go to the USAT website.