Triathlon is a sport that is rapidly growing in popularity today due to its accessibility and versatility for all fitness levels and ages. Involving swimming, biking, and running, there is truly an event for everybody, and if doing a triathlon is on your bucket list, you must train hard for it. The springtime is fast approaching, and that means the beginning of the triathlon season. Now is the time you should start your training regimen and register for a race.
The main question people have when training for a triathlon is how long it will take them. The time it takes to train for a triathlon generally depends on your overall fitness level and how comfortable you are in swimming long distances, biking for long distances, and running long distances. If you are a beginner, it will take you a more extended period to train for the race.
Even though the thought of training for a triathlon may appear to be daunting at first, you shouldn’t let it discourage you because starting training is straightforward. In this guide, we will share how much time you should allocate to your training and how long it will take you to train for your first triathlon race. That should give you a ballpark figure of how to prepare for your race.
How Long Does it Take to Train for a Triathlon?
The length of time it takes for you to train for your triathlon race will depend on your current fitness level. If you start from scratch, you should give yourself around 8 to 12 weeks of consistent training before your super sprint triathlon, which will consist of a 400-meter swim, a 10k bike ride, and a 2.5k run. If you are training for a sprint distance triathlon, consisting of a 750-meter swim, a 20k bike ride, and a 5k run, you will need anywhere between 10 to 14 weeks of consistent training.
Every week, you should plan to train for around 4 to 6 hours of total exercise time each day. If you already have a decent fitness level from cycling or running, you should spend more time building fitness in any weak discipline. It would be best to start with short workouts to give your body time to adjust to the training and avoid any injuries.
Your goal should be to have five workouts throughout the week and leave two days to rest. Here is how you should structure your workouts throughout the week.
- One bike workout
- Two swim workouts
- One combination workout
- One run workout
When you start getting comfortable with every discipline, you should begin adding more combination workouts to test yourself. In general, most people tend to struggle with the swim discipline, and if you’re one of them, you must dedicate more time to this discipline until you build your fitness level and gain confidence. Eventually, you will manage to master all disciplines and focus on building your stamina instead of learning the basics.
Your Fitness Plan to Train
You’ll be focusing on three different sports when training for the triathlon, which means there will be more pressure exerted on your body. That means you must build your fitness levels up slowly tomanage each discipline’s load easily. The good news is that training to build up your fitness in each “leg” of the triathlon isn’t tricky. It requires patience and discipline, and with consistent training, you will manage to succeed in training for that leg.
You must ensure that you stick to your fitness plan,which means eating healthy and sticking to your diet plan for the remainder of the period before the race. You need to have an athlete’s mindset during and after your training to perform at peak levels during the race.
Training for the Swim
Swimming is the most daunting leg for beginner triathletes and is a technique-driven sport. In the beginning, you will need to focus on getting the basics of your freestyle stroke. Your focus should be on using good form and going slow and steady instead of worrying about speed in the beginning. Kicking, arm movement, rotation, and breathing are all elements that you should focus on. When you’re comfortable with the stroke, you can start doing specific workouts to strengthen your swimming.
If your race has an open-water swim, you must practice swimming in a group instead of individually. Try getting a few friends to swim with you in the same lane, so that you get comfortable swimming close together with other competitors.
Training for the Bike Ride
Cycling will help you improve your overall fitness, and your swim and run disciplines. Even though cycling isn’t as technique-driven as swimming, it will require you to learn the basics of different pedalling techniques. You should practice cycling regularly for 45 to 60 minutes each day to build up your fitness and slowly build up your pace.
Training for the Run
Running is the easiest part for most people training for a triathlon race, but you must keep in mind that running a 5k won’t be the same after you have completed the swimming and biking legs. When training for the running portion, you should try a combination workout, which means running after your bike or swim workout. That means you should run for 15 to 20 minutes after you have completed your other pieces of training so that you have a solid base.
Our Final Thoughts
How long it takes you to train for a triathlon will mainly depend on your fitness levels and how strong you are in the race’s different legs. If you are good at swimming, running, and biking, then training for a good 6 to 8 weeks consistently should be enough. However, if you start from scratch, you should give yourself 14 to 16 weeks, which means around 4 to 5 months of consistent training before your triathlon race.