Best Triathlon Training Programs

Training for triathlons is a tall order, even for professionals.

Triathlon training involves incredible endurance, injury resistance and smart planning and training. These are focus points that differentiate the top performers from the middle pack. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, everyone needs guidance and training.

In a Hurry? Here are Our Top Choices

The 4 Best Triathlon Training Programs

Which is why we have done the research and come up with our selection of the Best Triathlon Training Programs for all levels of the sport.

Here are the winners.

1. Triathlon for Beginners by Dan Golding

This is a great program and guide for beginners looking to run their first race or improving on their novice skills. The writer, Dan Golding, brings his own triathlon experience and the experience of champions to improve and motivate readers.

He mentions how he had little guidance as a beginner and is trying to change that for others by trying to help them get over nerves and enjoy the sport, by teaching them everything about training, kit and nutrition. It is an insightful and easy to understand program that guides you on:

  • Understanding triathlons
  • Developing training plans
  • Effective training to mitigate injury
  • Avoiding costly mistakes
  • Building confidence
  • Deciding race lengths from sprint to Ironman
  • Buying correct kits to suit your needs

It is an excellent and highly rated guide that helps you understand the sport, its jargon, rules and techniques for swimming, running and cycling, nutrition and much more. A perfectly balanced and comprehensive guide, this is one of the best triathlon training programs for beginners and novices.

2. Strength Training for Triathletes by Patrick Hagerman

With over 75 exercises for swimming, cycling and running, Strength Training for Triathletes is a comprehensive strength training program to help you build power, speed and muscular endurance for triathlons. It promotes strength training for faster racing, no matter the distance.

Written by Patrick Hagerman, EdD, NSCA Personal Trainer of the Year and a certified USA Triathlon coach, this guide was published in January 2015. It is a best-seller available in paperback and Kindle. Hagerman focuses the program on pushing harder during training to get better results on the racecourse.

The program and its extensive exercises, general and core strength conditioning claim to make you faster and more resistant to injuries. Each of the 75 plus exercises is illustrated with colored photos to give you a detailed description on how to perform them.

The program makes it easier to understand the science behind strength training and provides great guidelines on reps and resistance to make you tougher and stronger. The program will help you:

  • Improve muscle endurance and power
  • Resist injury and fatigue
  • Develop leaner muscle mass for better body composition
  • Perform better without extra bulk

This second edition comes with new exercises for swimming, cycling and running, new indexes (for more usability) and a log template to track your exercise weight goals.

Strength training can be the differentiating factor for winners and this best-selling program comes highly rated and recommended for it. It really is one of the best triathlon training programs out there, which is certain to increase your strength, speed, endurance and results.

3. The Triathlete’s Training Bible by Joe Friel

For decades, triathletes have turned to The Triathlete’s Training Bible for guidance on training for victory, and writer Joel Friel has been heavily praised for his work. It truly is the training bible for triathletes.

In this latest 4th edition of the “World’s most comprehensive training guide”, Friel, a founding member of the USA Triathlon Coaches Association and expert coach of 30 years, completely rewrites the program and guides you through every aspect of the sport.

He uses exercise science, data analysis, daily planning, and skills development to overcome the scientific developments since the last edition. The Triathlete’s Training Bible walks you through every detail and helps you plan your seasons and prep for race day like a professional.

This updated program will help you through:

  • Added personalization, by letting you build your unique seasonal training plan
  • Choosing from training programs secured by power or pace to simplify your yearly plan
  • Proven science and tested training to guarantee improvement in race performance
  • Improved data analysis to get the most from your tech with fresh ways to analyze data and understand your results
  • Developing swim skills and improving your stroke to see results from 4 basic speed movements
  • New strength program specifically designed for time-constraints and to develop lasting swimming, cycling, and running power
  • Custom recovery plan to increase fitness gains after training sessions
  • Combination workouts that deliver more opportunity to equal your needs

This program is a must-have for anyone looking to master their skill sets, training routines and planning for triathlon competitions.

4. 80/20 Triathlon by Matt Fitzgerald and David Warden

The 80/20 Triathlon is a breakthrough program for all levels of triathletes. The writer, an elite coach and a fitness expert, brings real-world and scientific evidence and cutting-edge proven research to promote the 80/20 rule of intensity balance.

It showcases how the athletes of any field experience their best performances when they split 80 percent of their training on low intensity and 20 percent on moderate to high intensity. The program highlights how training smarter is more important than training harder.

A relatively modern approach that is backed by science, a majority of triathletes spend half their time training harder than professionals and this is not doing them any favors. It only results in chronic fatigue and poor performance.

The program offers comprehensive training plans for all distances, proven tips and strategies and implementation of the 80/20 rule of intensity balance to improve your fitness and results. Whether you are a beginner, an intermediate or advanced triathlete, this is the breakthrough program for you.

Our Final Thoughts

The mentioned programs are some of the best triathlon training programs currently available and they dive much deeper with additional insights and science-based evidence to improve your results. You cannot go wrong with any of these.


If we had to choose, we would highly recommend Triathlon For Beginners by Dan Golding for beginners and The Triathlete’s Training Bible by Joe Friel for all triathletes because it is the holy grail of triathlon training programs.

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