Triathlon Training Plan for Beginners:
Members of the national triathlon team, multiple champions, Alexander, and Andrey Bryukhankovs, talk about the basics of training beginner triathletes and how to start if you.
How to Prepare for Your First Triathlon
Triathlon Training Plan for Beginners: You need to jump into the water together with a hundred or two athletes and, scooping the water out from under each other’s arms, swim with all your might to the finish line. After endless 750 meters, staggering, you come ashore and clearly understand what you are getting yourself into.
This is only the first stage. You have to cycle 20 kilometers and run another 5 to overcome the shortest in the family of triathlon sprints. The first step on the way to the “iron” peak: swimming 3.86 km, cycling 180 km, and running 42.195 km.
We asked the master of international class sports in triathlon, eight-time champion, champion of Europe, founder and coach of the Ferrum triathlon club Anton Chuchko to help you climb this first step.
We asked Anton to develop a training system for people who had not been involved in sports regularly. The plan should be suitable for almost any age, and based on considerations, “do no harm” in 3 months prepare a person for the sprint.
So, here’s your entrance ticket to the triathlon, without a coach, without a background in the form of previous sports achievements, but with the will to win and the desire to prove to yourself that you can handle demanding tasks.
– Start by finding a sprint triathlon in at least three months, starting today, and register for it. This will be our goal!
Now turn over your wardrobe; maybe you have something that will come in handy for jogging or swimming because buying all the equipment “from scratch” will cost you 150 thousand, if not more. And then shopping. Here is the most comprehensive list of everything you need. Of course, you don’t need everything at once. However, if you seriously decide to become a triathlete, for competitions and training, you need:
- for swimming: goggles, swimming trunks/swimsuit, hat, starter suit, wetsuit (when the water is colder than 24 degrees);
- for a bicycle race: a bicycle (at first you can rent it if the purchase is problematic), bicycle shoes, a helmet, goggles, a bicycle uniform (short and long), a pump, a set of tools, spare cameras, a case or box for transporting a bicycle, bicycle stands for practicing at home (if the season will not allow you to train outside);
- for running: sneakers, running uniform (T-shirt with panties and uniform for cool weather), cap.
That’s not all. You need to buy a sports watch to keep track of your performance. A simple fitness bracelet won’t do. You need a device that shows your heart rate, distance, speed, cadence while running, strokes while swimming. Also hinting at bike computers with navigation, cadence sensors, power, etc. This will significantly improve the quality of training when you decide to move to the next level.
And right tomorrow, we will go to the first training session.
For the first 4 weeks, you need to pay attention to the technique in each form. The intensity and volume of classes should be below. Include general strength training in your training program.
During this period, heart rate indicators are primarily critical. Please do not allow it to be high; it should not rise above 170 beats per minute for the entire training period. In general, training during this period should take place at values from 120 to 160 heartbeats per minute. The duration of the classes is from 45 minutes to one and a half hours. And without fanaticism. The motto of the first month is exercise pleasure!
Below is a typical week of the first month.
Saturday – bike. Unlike running, cycling on a weekend day can take longer; the main thing is not to often switch to high (power) gears and not to raise your heart rate too much.
Sunday – running. Hourly cross. It is necessary to monitor the cadence, at least 170 steps per minute. If the heart rate is higher than 140 beats per minute, it is better to switch to a lower pace or step after training, stretching, general strengthening strength complex.
Monday is a day off.
Swimming Tuesday. At least 50% of the time should be devoted to technique exercises (body position in the water, stroke quality, correct breathing). Before swimming, you need to do a stretch – a 5-minute set of exercises for the body and arms.
Wednesday – cycling. You need to set the correct fit, engage in circular pedaling exercises with a change in cadence (that is, you need to turn quickly in slow gear, then switch to power speed and carefully depress the bicycle pedal while pulling the other up), learn to work with your hands with an upper and lower grip, ride while standing. It is important to feel as one with the bike.
Thursday is a run. A lot of work on technique: body position, handwork, foot placement, cadence. The most important thing is not to get hurt. Therefore, no serious volumes and maximum accelerations. After training, do stretching and a set of general strengthening exercises.
Friday is swimming. On land – stretching and a strength complex for the arms and body, which is called “Dry Swimming”, that is, exercises with rubber for the quality of the stroke. In the water – techniques and tasks for holding the breath.
And now the first month has passed, you are serious about exercising and therefore, your body is ready to increase the load. Now include in your workouts short accelerations from 30 seconds to 1 minute, close to maximum, then rest until you are fully recovered. Such accelerations should be from 8 to 12 times per workout.
By the end of the second month, developmental segments can be increased to 5 minutes, and their number in training can be reduced to 4–8 times. The pulse at such accelerations is from 160 to 180 beats. Generally, to achieve the best result, the heart rate should be calculated individually by the trainer. I gave only the average. It can be added that it feels like such developmental work is performed at 85-95% of the maximum.
The workout schedule for the week can be left the same. But on weekends, I advise you to make an easy “run” of 3-5 km after cycling.
Last Month Before the Race
At the beginning of the third month, you feel that you have become stronger. It’s time to make test runs: swimming 800 m, cycling 20 km, running 5 km. Not running a triathlon, but doing three tests on different days to recover in time. They will show your current shape, help you distribute forces correctly, and psychologically prepare you for a triathlon.
And then everything goes according to the plan for the second month.
A Week Before …
Often, amateur athletes spend the last week too intensively before the start and physically burn out by the start. Go to bed late, sunbathe, all this affects the psychological and physical shape. The athlete goes to the start like a squeezed lemon and shows his solid result 2-3 days before the race in training.
Better try to arrive at the competition site a week before the start. Do a relaxed open water workout, wetsuit, bike and treadmill track.
You jump into the water along with a hundred or two athletes and, in the general crowd, swim with all your might to the finish line. After 750 meters, staggering, you go ashore and, rather, into the transit zone, because the time from start to finish does not stop.
Try to spread your strength over the entire distance. Keep in mind the average values of speed and heart rate you did in test workouts (that’s when they came in handy!). And save your main strength for the last 3 km of running. They will be the most difficult. I’m sure you can handle it! The triathlon will not leave anyone indifferent, and the next challenge could be a distance twice as long. Good luck!
I want to practice this spectacular sport.
Where to Begin
Start by setting a goal (how much distance you want to walk), and then figure out what it takes to achieve that goal.
Namely: training and competitive plan, sports nutrition, possibly finding a coach, and the most basic and necessary equipment and equipment.
Outfit and Equipment
What accessory can you recognize as a triathlete? By the sports watch. It is advisable to have a separate heart rate monitor. The built-in heart rate monitor in the watch will not always show correct values. What else does a novice triathlete need?
- swimming trunks
- dry swim elastic
- shoulder blades
- hand scapula
- a tube
Photo: Kevin Sawyer / Source: Red Bull Content Pool
- bike (road, TT)
- cycling shoes
- bicycle form (cold / warm)
- glasses / visor
- flasks for drinking
- repair kit
- bike station
- running form (cold/warm)
- sneakers (running)
So, the list is long so the budget will depend on how much you are willing to spend on all the gear and equipment for the triathlon.
Mistakes of Novice Triathletes
- Lack of a training plan. You decide what you will do today from training without thinking about tomorrow and focusing on the weather, work, well-being, desire.
- Lack of control over heart rate zones. For example, you are constantly training at a high heart rate; thus, there will be no gain as a result.
- Lack of good rest. If you do any other sporting activity on your day of rest, it does not count as rest!
- A desire for quick results. The body needs to adapt to stress, and only systematic preparation can give results.
- “Information mess”. Now there is a lot of different literature and information on social networks about how to exercise. Not the fact that what is written has value and is right for you.
To immediately protect yourself from such mistakes, you can contact the coach. Now there is a large selection of specialized schools and trainers who train amateurs. There are pros and cons of working with a coach.
Pros of Working With a Coach
- Individual approach. The coach will adjust the workouts to your schedule, adjust them, and consider your fitness and plans for the season.
- You are correctly drawn up a plan. Your training plan will focus on your body’s ability to handle and absorb stress.
- Additional responsibility. Not only in front of yourself but also in front of the coach. The coach puts knowledge and soul into you and your training plan, following with you every step of the way.
- Additional motivation. During the preparation, the coach will always support you, and later you can become good friends.
Cons of Working With a Coach
- Expenses. The price for distance learning ranges from 6 thousand rubles/month to 60 thousand rubles/month. It all depends on the class of the coach and his construction of the training process.
- Not every coach is a professional. The second minus follows from the first. It’s not a fact that people for 60 thousand rubles/month will train you better than for 6 thousand rubles/month.
- Human factor. Perhaps a coach does not suit you in spirit; there may be a misunderstanding in any work of two people.
- Additional responsibility. Yes, it can be a minus if you are afraid to let the coach down.
Of course, you can train without a professional’s help, but for this, you need to know some of the basics of organizing the training process.
It will be enough for a beginner triathlete to do one workout a day, alternating types every day. For example, swimming – cycling – running – swimming – cycling – running – rest day. Workouts should take from 30-75 minutes. Also, do not forget to turn on GPP 2-3 times.
After several months of training, when the muscles and ligaments have grown stronger, you can switch to two workouts a day: split into morning and evening to recover. You should not do all three types in one day; it will be quite difficult and unnecessary for the entry-level.
An important aspect for both a beginner triathlete and a professional is tracking progress.
To track it, you need to take a test on a bicycle ergometer or a treadmill: at the beginning of preparation, after 2-3 months, 3-4 weeks before the first start. Another option is to do a specific task once a month and a half. So you will see the dynamics of your results, the presence or absence of progress. In case the progress is minimal, it will be clear what needs to be worked on.
Treadmill test with a gas analyzer: what is it, how it is carried out and what does the examination give
You already know how to organize the training process, now let’s move on to the larger part, namely how to plan the season.
Remember your goal: just to reach the finish line or to show the result. We advise you to choose 1-2 main starts, and the rest will be lead ones (this can be triathlon, swimming, cycling, running).
This is necessary for a competitive practice to appear; you cannot go straight to the main starts without it. It should also be remembered that the older a person is, the longer it will take him to recover.
How Often to Compete
Starting every week would not be the best idea for an untrained person. If you decide to start a lot, then choose smaller starts in the first years of your sports career, at least once every 3-4 weeks. You do not need to start all year round, since you also have a cycle all year round.
Initially, it would help if you devoted a few months to laying the base (volume cycle), with which you will perform in the season. After that, you accelerate the base (a lot of high-speed work) and then go into the season. After the season, you need a rest, and then you go into the off-season.
The off-season is the stage of preparation that follows after a good rest, at which time you need to start preparing for the new season. In the beginning, these are low-intensity workouts.
They are performed at low heart rates (in the aerobic zone) with a gradual increase in volume. This is done so that the muscles adapt, get used to the stress. Work in the gym with light weights or at home with your weight is also added.
Attention is paid to those exercises that are necessary for the triathlon: static-dynamic, not strength. Not fast fibers are pumped, but slow ones. More time needs to be devoted to strengthening core, ligaments, and lagging muscles that cannot be strengthened during the competition season.
Triathlon Training Camp
Training camps can become another stage of preparation for you. They are needed at any stage, no matter whether you are an amateur beginner or a professional.
What is the collection for?
You train between work and business at home, devote time to your family, so it is not always possible to train to the fullest. At the training camp, you completely devote yourself to training, get a lot of useful information, train in a group of like-minded people, feel pleasure, which gives an additional incentive.
As a rule, during the season, training camps are held before the start so that you can practice and immediately perform at the location.
There are places where it is good to train in the initial (Sochi) or in the off-season (Cyprus), as well as where to train well in the season (Spain). You need to follow the information and choose the appropriate fee for yourself.
How Long Does It Take to Get Ready for Ironman?
And you already know where to start a triathlon, and are ready to hear the main words “You are an Ironman”. It remains only to understand how much to train to achieve this goal.
If you want to pass Ironman without having a sports base behind you, we recommend starting to compete with shorter distances (sprint) and, as you gain experience, move on to longer ones. In this case, the experience will help prepare for the iron distance and better physical shape.
As for the preparation time, you need to answer the question, do you want to show a certain result or “reach the finish line”.
If you are without a sports base:
- for the result – 1.5-2 years;
- to reach the finish line – 1-1.5 years.
There is a sports base:
- for the result – a little over a year;
- to reach the finish line – 6-9 months.
We wish you good luck, and we want to warn you that you can, of course, go through the Ironman from the couch, but you need to understand what consequences this will entail for your health.