triathlon training advice for beginners If you are a beginner looking for some triathlon training advice then read on through these five steps that take you through the Project Tri method.

Having entered your first sprint triathlon are you feeling overwhelmed by the challenge?

Or maybe you’ve challenged yourself in the past entering your first triathlon or other event such as a 10k or half marathon and found it particularly difficult to achieve?

If so then I hope today’s tips will help you. By following these five steps and signing up for this free triathlon training guide I am confident you will be able accomplish your biggest goals quickly.

Five Pieces Of Triathlon Training Advice To Help You Achieve Your Goals Quickly!

Planning Your Sprint Triathlon

Planning your triathlon season or personal goals is often overlooked can be exciting; especially of you have set yourself an inspiring challenge. A good first step is to define success so that you can give yourself a pat on the back once you have achieved this. This will be a real morale booster.

In more depth you can set SMART targets. Specific, Measurable, Achievable and Time Bound targets will keep you focused and you will be able to measure success along the way. Give yourself smaller targets not just one big goal.

Break an overwhelming challenge into smaller manageable chunks. Every journey begins with a first step, and if you build on your ability step-by-step, success after success, you will soon achieve great things.

The beauty of endurance sports is the personal challenge that you set, which nobody else can take away from you. You define your own success!

Take aways:

  • Be SMART
  • Set yourself something inspirational
  • Define success

Triathlon Fitness Assessment

timetrialSo you know where you are going, you’ve set your goal and keen to tackle your challenges. But how far exactly do you have to go on your journey to your perfect race?

Have you just got a few seconds to shave off your 10km run to get a sub 40minutes? Or have you hit a milestone birthday, and having never run in your life entered a marathon?

Two personal challenges, with very different journeys, but knowing either’s starting point will help.

Triathlon time-trials are the easiest fitness tests to perform because they are specific to your sport. By going against the clock you will get a true picture of your ability on a certain day. You can repeat the same time-trial every 4 to 6 weeks and see progress, which will help keep you motivated and focused.

Keep your fitness tests specific to your discipline and ability, and adapt them as you improve. As well as speed and distance you can log your rating of perceived exertion (RPE/10), your heart rate, and your power on the bike. Remember fitness is an output – how fast can you go? Heart rate although useful is not ‘fitness’ and many factors can affect it.

Take aways:

  • Perform time trials on a regular basis
  • Keep them comparable
  • Use pace and power as gauges of fitness, and heart rate as a guide

Triathlon Training Sessions

Specific adaptation to imposed demand (SAID) is the fundamental principle that should guide your training.


Imagine that you’ve performed a fitness test, and you know you can run a solid 8minute mile pace for 6 miles. If your goal is to run a 7:30minute mile pace for 6 miles you need to make your training specific to that goal. You need to run at and over that pace in training.

Too often I speak to frustrated athletes who can’t get faster. They do lots of training and are committed to achieving the results, its just the sessions they perform are not specific to their goal. If you only ever run or cycle slowly, you will only ever get good at doing that.

So what is the most effective way to get fast in training? By training fast you will be able to race fast. Of course you can’t just expect to run your goal pace for the duration set immediately so the best method is interval training.

Interval training:

This is the stop start method of training that allows you to go at or above your goal pace for a set period, with recovery intervals planned. An example would be 6x 2minute run at 10k goal pace, with 2minute recoveries.


The FITT Principle:

The FITT principle is a good guide of the variables you can play with in terms of training:

  • Frequency
  • Intensity
  • Time or duration
  • Type of exercise

These are all variables that need to be adjusted to maintain progress over time. In the 6x2minute session described it could be that you reduce your recovery intervals weekly (T) from 2 minutes to 90sec then 1min and so on until you are able to achieve the pace for your 10k with no rests.

With any triathlon training session specificity is key to progress and you will do well to ask yourself ‘what do I want to achieve from this session?’

Take aways:

  • Apply the SAID principle
  • Apply the FITT principle
  • Adopt interval training

Sports Nutrition For Triathlon And Health

triathlon nutrition adviceNutrition is so important and my personal favourite topic of triathlon training advice that if you get me started I’ll talk to you all day about!

Sports nutrition is often overlooked or misunderstood though, and this is no surprise because there is so much conflicting information available.

Nutrient dense foods:

As endurance athletes your focus should be on nutrient dense foods during your day. These foods include:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Lean meats
  • Poultry and fish

When considering nutrient density it is useful to look up the ORAC rating (antioxidant content) of foods. You might like to know dark chocolate is full of antioxidants, which are effective for combating free radicals.

Free radicals are essentially like ‘rust’ for our body and are increased by pollutants, oxygen and exercise.

Sports nutrition can be used effectively during and within 15minutes after training or racing. In these times it is wise to consume high glycemic index foods such as sports bars and drinks.

Keep these foods confined to these times however as this is when your body is most effective at using them. You are highly insulin sensitive around exercise sessions, and if you consume a diet high in sports nutrition in your sedentary day you will not be doing yourself any favours.

Take aways:

  • Eat nutrient dense foods
  • Use sports nutrition only at key times – use your 15 minute window

Race Your Perfect Sprint Triathlon

triathlon training adviceSo you have broken your training into manageable chunks and you are confident in your ability to complete the race.

Today’s final but none the less important piece of triathlon training advice will help you execute your race properly – otherwise you will struggle on race day.

Plan your race day, your journey, logistics, when and where you need to be.

Are there transition bags for a triathlon or do you have to be in a certain pen at the run start?

Ensure all your equipment works. Gather it a week before your event and never try anything new on race day – always test it in training.

Gather your entourage. Friends, family, coach to help you and to carry things for you. Remove any stresses that are unnecessary – people love to help and get involved.

Stick to your plan. No matter what other people are doing around you, stick to your plan. It is your race and you know what pace to go at.

If others sprint off at the start don’t feel obliged to keep up. You will have a faster overall time if you keep to your limits and likely overtake others who set off to fast. This is particularly true in longer events.

Take aways:

  • Stick to your plan
  • Never try anything new on race day
  • Get others to help you
  • Plan ahead and get ready

I hope you found these five pieces of triathlon training advice useful and if you apply the steps you are sure to get fitter swiftly.

If you would like more support you can subscribe to my newsletter in the sidebar of the website. I also support a triathlon coaching team which provides weekly triathlon training plans, including workouts, nutrition and more.

In addition I offer a range of stand-alone 12 week triathlon training plans which are designed with ‘real world’ in mind. For now though, happy training!