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.
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.