“You signed up for what?”

Years ago the sport of triathlon was considered a bizarre, over the top, extreme form of fitness. Today, competing in a triathlon event is mainstream. Nevertheless it still remains a rather intimidating sport – especially for beginners, like myself. Each year, thousands of men and women – participate in their first triathlon. I believe anyone can participate in a triathlon, even if you haven’t worked out in years. Although complex and the learning curve is steep for first-timers, patience, determination and (proper) training, are key to a successful finish.

How do I get started, how do I train? … 

  • Begin with an amount of training that is appropriate to your present level of fitness.
  • Plan for 12 weeks to prepare for a sprint triathlon which consists of a half mile swim; a 12 mile bike and a 3.1 mile run
  • Keep the intensity at about a four-to-six, on a scale of 1-to-10 in all of your workouts.

MONTH 1

Monday –  Off
Tuesday –  RUN: 20 minutes
Wednesday –  BIKE: 30 minutes or indoor cycling class
Thursday –  Off
Friday –  RUN: 20 minutes
Saturday –  SWIM: 10 to 16 x 25 meters, rest 20 seconds
Sunday –  BIKE: 30 to 40 minutes or indoor cycling class

SWIM: During weeks 3 and 4, swim 8 to 10 x 50 meters, rest 15 seconds. BIKE/RUN: Increase by five minutes each week.

MONTH 2

Monday –  Off
Tuesday – RUN: 3 to 4 Two-minute intervals
Wednesday –  BIKE: 50 to 60 minutes or indoor cycling class
Thursday –  SWIM: 8 to 10 x 75 meters, rest 15 seconds
Friday –  RUN: 35 to 40 minutes
Saturday –  SWIM: 8 to 10 x 75 meters, rest 15 seconds
¹BRICK: BIKE: 30 minutes steady RUN: 20 to 30 minutes

SWIM: During weeks 3 and 4, swim 5 x 100 meters, rest 15 seconds. BIKE: Increase by five minutes each week. RUN: Begin interval training: Warm up for 15 minutes, then alternate two minutes at a faster pace with two minutes jog/walk. Cool down for 15 minutes; increase by one interval each week.

MONTH 3

Monday –  RUN: 6 to 8 two-minute intervals
Tuesday –  BIKE: 60 to 70 minutes
Wednesday –  SWIM: 800 meters
Thursday –  RUN: 40 minutes
Friday –  SWIM: 800 meters or 30 minutes in open water
¹BRICK: BIKE: 50 minutes steady RUN: 25 to 30 minutes

During weeks 2 and 3, do the brick on Tuesday; on Sunday, do a mini triathlon (15-minute swim, 45-minute bike, 20-minute run). Race week: Revert to month 1, week 1. The day before your race, rest or swim easy for 10 minutes.

¹Back-to-back bike-run training workouts (aka BRICKS) are essential—they’ll teach you to run on legs that feel like jelly after hopping off the bike.

The first mile always feels as if someone else’s legs have been grafted to your body, It’ll feel lousy—but since triathletes prepare themselves with brick workouts, they hit their stride pretty quickly.” – Women’s Health

Start in the second month of training, a bike-run brick every weekend. You’ll discover that it takes about 10 minutes for you to get past the running-through-mud feeling. Plus it will mentally prepare you for day of the race day. Most important is that you’ll know you can push through and finish strong.finish line1