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Ironman Certified Coach (20x Ironman Finisher, 8x Kona Finisher), Wendy Mader and 5x Ironman Finisher, Dave Erickson walk you through a professionally produced and guided 8-week multimedia training program.  We include instructional videos before EVERY training week  (Approx. 5 minutes each). You’ll find sample swim, bike, and run workouts by zone plus Target Heart Rate Training Zone Guidelines,  Nutrition and Hydration Tips, Stability, Core, and Strength Exercises and Race Day Training Tips plus additional Bonus Q&A Videos.

First of all, congratulations! You’ve taken your first step towards achieving your goal.  Triathlon can be an amazing and positive experience on so many levels, so please, remember to enjoy the process and soak in the experience.  The memories you create along the way will last a lifetime.   I remember my first triathlon like it was yesterday.  More details  here.  I was so grateful and fortunate that I could ask my mom a lot of the same questions that I now get from my first time triathletes.  Naturally, a lot has changed since my first race 20+ years ago. Below are some of the most commonly asked questions I get from athletes about sprint triathlons.  

Q: “Do I need to lock my bike up in Transition Area?”  

Answer from Wendy: “No. You bike is safe in the transition area. In fact, you’ll be asked to show your race number (bodymarked) or race bracelet before and after your enter transition.  It may seem annoying that volunteers are stopping you each time you enter but it’s for the greater good.”

Q: “What do I do if I have to go to the bathroom during the swim, bike or run?”

Answer from Wendy: “Personally, I’d wait until you get to a Porta John. Ask other competitors how they handle it.  Some people, I know it’s gross, will pee in their wetsuit, during the bike and/or during the run.  If you can’t hold it on the bike and have to go, just remember to spray yourself off with water from your water bottle.  Same goes for the run.”

Q: “How do I line up at the start of an open water swim wave?”

Answer from Wendy: “Most events will seed participants within their age group, often waves are 3-5 minutes apart. If you are a less experienced swimmer, start in back or off to the side. If swimming is a strength go ahead and start front and center like me. Often your first few strokes will be done with your head out of the water either due to cold temperatures of because you don’t want to get kicked by the person in front of you. Be sure to warm up before your wave.”

Here’s a short video on “How To Survive An Ironman Open Water Swim Start”:  WATCH HERE

Q: “How does a pool swim work?”

Answer from Wendy: “There are limited pool swim triathlons. The Fort Collins Tri is known for their snake swim.  I demo one here. I have participated in others that split the lane with 2 people, and up to 6 people with the same ability, swim time. Check the venue and discuss more with the event director.”

Q: “Do I have to eat or drink anything during a sprint? “

Answer from Wendy: “I recommend having a sport drink on the bike or water, about 12-16 ounces.

Q: “What should I eat for Breakfast?”  

Answer from Wendy: “Best recommendation is to eat what you normally eat before training. A sprint is 1-2 hours in length so about 2-400 calories at about 2 hours before start time should be sufficient. Aim for easily digestible foods you normally eat. Toast, oatmeal, banana, and add some peanut or almond butter.”

Q: “How do I pass someone on the bike?”

Answer from Wendy: “USAT outlines the passing , drafting and most violated rules. You can download them here.”

Q: “What do I wear?”

Answer from Wendy:  “Keep it simple for your first one. For the swim, a “trisuit” or swimsuit, cap and goggles. When I started there was no “trisuit”. I wore a swimsuit, bike shorts, run shorts and cotton T-Shirt. TriSuits are made to swim, bike and run in for quick transitions. For the bike, helmet, shoes (cycling or running), optional socks and sunglasses, pull shorts or T-Shirt over your suit or do the entire race in your swim. For the run, running shoes and racing bib number (belt is optional). If the weather is below 50 degrees I will also put on ear warmers and gloves, maybe some arm warmers. If it is cold and you are in no hurry to go from swim to bike, consider a light weight jacket and tights.”

 

8 WEEKS OUT – SPRINT Triathlon Training for Beginners

Training Week Preview Video

 

MONDAY Rest Day (Click on the “Training Week Preview Video” link above)

Focus on recovery today, nutrition, massage, stretch, yoga, relax

TUESDAY Swim Test / The distance of a sprint triathlon is typically 750 meters, some are 400 meters so if you are not able to swim 750 right now, you will by the end of the program

WU: 100-300 meters or yards to  loosen up

MS: swim 400-800 for time depending on your swim fitness and skills

CD: 100 easy

Reference:

WU: Warm Up

MS: Main Set

CD: Cool down

” seconds

‘ minutes

RPE = Rate of Perceived Effort

WEDNESDAY Bike 30 minutes /  A sprint distance triathlon bike is 12 miles. Your test ride is 10 minutes.

Bike Test (10-Minute Time Trial):

Pick a course to ride that you know you can repeat again in the future. After a 10 minute warm up, bike 10 minutes as strong as you can, record distance, average pace/heart rate.

CD: 5-10 minutes.

Additional Resource Articles:

Quick Guide to Setting Zones

Rate of Perceived Effort Chart

VLOG: Baseline Swimming: Water Workout Wednesday with Wendy

THURSDAY Run Test / A sprint distance run is a 5k. Your run test is 1.5 miles

WU: 10 minutes plus drills and dynamic stretch

MS: Run 1.5 mile (around the track is best so you can repeat the test the future)

CD: 5 minute easy walk/jog, plus static stretch

Additional Notes:

WU: Review the video links below for your run

Then do the following drills during a 10 minute warm-up, 4X30″ of each

1.  Lean Forward

2. Foot placement

Continued: Strength Training 20 Minutes

WU: 5-10 minutes then complete

2 sets of 15-20 reps or 30-60 seconds

-Stability ball wall sits with medicine ball between your legs

-Push up knee tuck with stability ball

-Bosu ball squat press

-Stability ball Ts and Ys.

-Stability ball leg curl

-Row machine or dumbbells

-Tricep dills

– Crunches on stability ball with medicine ball

-Lower back extension

-Flutter kicks

-Crunches knee to elbow

-Bicycles

-Reverse crunch

Additional Resource Article:

Strength / Cross Training Ideas

FRIDAY Rest Day / Focus on recovery today, nutrition, massage, stretch, yoga, relax.
SATURDAY Bike Ride 30-45 minutes minutes focus on cadence and pedal stroke zone 1-2, RPE 2-4
SUNDAY Run 2 miles focus on cadence and foot strike

(more advanced athlete can run 4 miles)

Continued: Strength Training 20 Minutes

 

Additional Resources / Articles / Video Links Tips to Prepare your Body to Train – Article

Running Skills and Drills – Video

“Brick” Run Tips  – Article

Strength and Injury Prevention – Website

Nutrition Tips and Guidelines – Article

Race Day Tips, Prepare for Setbacks  – Article

Swimming Skills and Drills – Article

Racing on a Budget – Article

Transition from Swim To Bike  – Article

Running Technique and Tips – Article with Videos

Cycling Drills & Skills – Article

 

7 WEEKS OUT – SPRINT Triathlon Training for Beginners

Training Week Preview Video

 

MONDAY Rest Day (Click on the “Training Week Preview Video” link above)

Focus on recovery today, nutrition, massage, stretch, yoga, relax

TUESDAY Bike 30 Minutes

As mentioned,  interval are a great way to mix up the workout and prevent boredom and build fitness.

WU: 10 minutes focus on pedaling stroke aspects RPE 3- 4

MS: Ride 5X 2 minutes RPE 5-7, RI 1 minute RPE 3-4

CD: 5 minutes easy

Continued: Strength Training 20 Minutes

WEDNESDAY Swim

WU: 200 include drills

MS: 2x (4X 50 descend 1-4), RI :20 “

CD: 100 plus drills

Descend start slow and each 100 is swam faster.

” seconds

RI=Rest Interval

VLOG: Mindless Swimming: Water Workout Wednesday with Wendy

THURSDAY Run 30 Minutes / Run intervals are a great way to break up the run distance and intensity

WU: 5 minutes plus drills and dynamic stretch

MS: 6X 200 (halfway around the track) RI 200 walk jog

CD: 5 minutes plus static stretch

WU: Review the video links below for your run

Then do the following drills during a 10 minute warm-up, 4X30″ of each

1.  Lean Forward

2. Foot placement

Continued: Strength Training 20 Minutes

FRIDAY Rest Day / Focus on recovery today, nutrition, massage, stretch, yoga, relax.
SATURDAY Bike 45 Minutes

Building endurance and strength

Ride 45-60 minutes RPE 4-5.  Focus on pedaling aspects. More advanced athlete can ride

up to 90 minutes

SUNDAY Run 2-3 miles RPE 4-5

Focus on running form. More advanced athlete can up to to 5 miles *Add 1/2 mile to your distance from last week

 

Additional Video Links 5 BONUS Sports Medicine and Injury Prevention Video Interviews

How to Reduce Lower Back Pain

Common Sports Injuries and Prevention

How to Avoid and Fix Swimming Shoulder Injuries

Massage Therapy for Athletes

How to Treat IT Band Syndrome (ITBS)

6 WEEKS OUT – SPRINT Triathlon Training for Beginners

Training Week Preview Video

 

MONDAY Rest Day (Click on the “Training Week Preview Video” link above)

Focus on recovery today, nutrition, massage, stretch, yoga, relax

TUESDAY Bike 45 minutes / skills and drills.

Continued: Strength Training 20 Minutes

WEDNESDAY Swim 30 minutes

WU: 200 include drills

MS: 2x (3×100 descend 1-3), RI :20 “

CD: 100 drill, 100 kick

Descend start slow and each 100 is swam faster

” seconds

RI=Rest Interval

VLOG: Endurance Swim: Water Workout Wednesday with Wendy

THURSDAY Run 30 minutes

Run intervals are a great way to break up the run distance and intensity

WU: 5 minutes plus drills and dynamic stretch

MS: 4×400 (1 time around the track) RI 200 walk jog

CD: 5 minutes plus static stretch

Continued: Strength Training 20 Minutes

FRIDAY Rest Day / Focus on recovery today, nutrition, massage, stretch, yoga, relax.
SATURDAY Bike 45 minutes / Building endurance and strength

Ride 45-60 minutes RPE 4-5 / Focus on pedaling aspects. More advanced athlete can ride up to 90 minutes.

SUNDAY Run 30 minutes / 3 miles

Add 1/2 mile to your distance from last week

Continued: Open Water Swim 20 minutes / Acclimate to open water and focus on sighting

5 WEEKS OUT – SPRINT Triathlon Training for Beginners

Training Week Preview Video

 

MONDAY Rest Day (Click on the “Training Week Preview Video” link above)

Focus on recovery today, nutrition, massage, stretch, yoga, relax

TUESDAY Bike 30 minutes / 7 miles RPE 1-3
WEDNESDAY Swim 20 minutes / 800 yards RPE 1-3

VLOG: Swimming Tools: Water Workout Wednesday with Wendy

THURSDAY Run 2 miles RPE 1-3
FRIDAY Rest Day / Focus on recovery today, nutrition, massage, stretch, yoga, relax.
SATURDAY Rest Day / Focus on recovery today, nutrition, massage, stretch, yoga, relax.
SUNDAY Brick

Bike 8 miles RPE 1-3

Run 1 mile RPE 1-3

 

4 WEEKS OUT – SPRINT Triathlon Training for Beginners

Training Week Preview Video

 

MONDAY Rest Day (Click on the “Training Week Preview Video” link above)

Focus on recovery today, nutrition, massage, stretch, yoga, relax

TUESDAY Swim Test

WU: 100-300 meters get loosen

MS: swim 400-800 for time depending on your swim fitness and skills

CD: 100 easy

Continued: Strength Training 20 Minutes

WEDNESDAY Bike Test (10-Minute Time Trial):

Pick a course to ride that you know you can repeat again in the future. After a 10 minute warm up, bike 10 minutes, record distance, average pace/heart rate. Cool down 5-10 minutes.

VLOG: Swimming Pace: Water Workout Wednesday with Wendy

THURSDAY Run test

WU: 10 minutes plus drills and dynamic stretch

Run 1.5 mile (around the track is best so you can repeat the test the future)

CD: 5 minute easy walk/jog, plus static stretch

Continued: Strength Training 20 Minutes

FRIDAY Rest Day / Focus on recovery today, nutrition, massage, stretch, yoga, relax.
SATURDAY Brick: building on last week workout

Bike 10 mile

Run 1.5 mile

SUNDAY Run 35 minutes / Add 1/2 mile to your distance from two weeks ago.

Continued: Open Water Swim 20 minutes / Acclimate to open water and focus on sighting.

 

3 WEEKS OUT – SPRINT Triathlon Training for Beginners

Training Week Preview Video

 

MONDAY Rest Day (Click on the “Training Week Preview Video” link above)

Focus on recovery today, nutrition, massage, stretch, yoga, relax

TUESDAY Brick -Swim to Bike focus

Swim 800 mile

Bike 6 -10 miles

WEDNESDAY Strength Training 20 Minutes

VLOG: Swimming with Paddles: Water Workout Wednesday with Wendy

THURSDAY Brick- Bike to Run Focus

3x (Bike 3 miles then run 1/2 mile)

#1 is a warm up

#2 and #3 are strong, focus on pacing and

Then cool down 5-10 minutes spinning

FRIDAY Rest Day / Focus on recovery today, nutrition, massage, stretch, yoga, relax.
SATURDAY Brick

Bike 10 mile focus on negative split

Run 1.5 mile

SUNDAY Run 3.5 miles (35 minutes) / Add 1/2 mile to your distance from two weeks ago.

Continued: Open Water Swim 20 minutes / Acclimate to open water and focus on sighting

 

 

2 WEEKS OUT – SPRINT Triathlon Training for Beginners

Training Week Preview Video

 

MONDAY Rest Day (Click on the “Training Week Preview Video” link above)

Focus on recovery today, nutrition, massage, stretch, yoga, relax

TUESDAY Brick

Swim 800 mile

Bike 6 miles

WEDNESDAY Strength Training 20 Minutes

VLOG: Stroke Drills: Water Workout Wednesday with Wendy

THURSDAY Brick

3x (Bike 3 miles then run 1/2 mile)

#1 is a warm up

#3 and #2 are strong, focus on pacing and

Then cool down 5-10 minutes spinning

FRIDAY Rest Day / Focus on recovery today, nutrition, massage, stretch, yoga, relax.
SATURDAY Brick

Bike 12 mile focus on negative split

Run 2 miles

SUNDAY Run 4 miles (35 minutes) / Add 1/2 mile to your distance from two weeks ago.

Continued: Open Water Swim 20 minutes / Acclimate to open water and focus on sighting.

 

Additional Resources / Articles / Video Links Triathlon Taper vs. Rest Week

How to Set Up Your Triathlon Transition Area

 

RACE WEEK – SPRINT Triathlon Training for Beginners

Training Week Preview Video

 

MONDAY Rest Day (Click on the “Training Week Preview Video” link above)

Focus on recovery today, nutrition, massage, stretch, yoga, relax

TUESDAY Run 20 minutes / 2 miles

WU 15 minutes plus drills plus dynamic strength

MS: Run 4 X 200 around the track at goal race pace effort, RI 2:00

CD: 5 minute then static stretch

WEDNESDAY Swim 500 yards / Swim 1/4 mile

VLOG: Race Week Swim: Water Workout Wednesday with Wendy

THURSDAY Bike 30 minutes

WU: 10 minutes easy

MS: 5X 1 minute zone 4-5 / 2minute easy

CD: 5 minutes easy

FRIDAY Rest Day / Focus on recovery today, nutrition, massage, stretch, yoga, relax.
SATURDAY Swim 10 minutes

Swim in the venue open water is possible and focus on what you learned with regards to sighing and water acclimation

SUNDAY RACE DAY! Trust your training and your coach and most importantly, have FUN!

 

Post Author: Dave Erickson