You've made the leap into the world of triathlon, you've signed up for your first event (or you're at least thinking about making the leap), WHAT NOW? Triathlon is an appealing sport, a little swimming, a little biking and a little running. Not too much of any one sport and just enough of all three to get a great workout and some cross training in. However, triathlon can be one of the most intimidating sports in terms of training. How much should you swim, bike, and run in training? How do you structure your week? What do you do in the pool? How far should you bike? And so on and so on and so on. Luckily there is a lot of help out there for you and you have options.
1. Online pre-made training plans: If you search online you can find a pretty generic training plan for any distance triathlon, from a sprint triathlon (500 meter swim, 12 mile bike, 3.1 mile run) to an iron distance triathlon (2.4 mile swim, 112 bike, 26.2 run) and everything in-between. These plans are a good starting point and the most budget friendly. They offer a basic idea about how much you should train in each sport but offer little else in terms of how to adapt the plan for your specific race and around your lifestyle needs. As a new triathlete its almost impossible to figure how to switch around a swim, bike, and run plan to suit your weekly lifestyle needs. These plans are a good start, perhaps a great way to learn about what you need to do to train for a triathlon in general, but have limited use for most people.
2. Race specific training plans: This type of plan is usually written by an independent coach or a coach associated with the race. These training plans are race specific, designed to get you ready for your specific race conditions such as length and terrain (distance, hilly vs flat, open water vs pool swim, trail vs road race). While written plans from a coach are not individualized for each specific athlete, they offer more details than generic online plans. Swim, bike, and run workouts are designed with the one race goal in mind, with drills and tips given to help the athlete succeed in their goal race. These are a cost effective way to train on your own for the race of your choice. She Tris offers a training plan put together by Anne Moore Endurance Coaching written specifically for this race—race distance and race conditions. Awesome! http://annemoore.s461.sureserver.com/beginner-triathlon-training-plan/
3. Join a training group: Want a little more guidance? There are even more options! Signing up for a training group is a fun, effective way to train for a triathlon. These groups provide weekly training plans, access to a coach for questions, as well at least one weekly group training session. The training sessions are designed to teach skills necessary for triathlon – swim skills (an often overlooked and sometimes the scariest part of a triathlon!), bike handling, gear use, and comfort in riding your bike on the road, and finally run skills and how to get used to running off the bike. And a big bonus is the sense of community and friendship made while training with a group. Never underestimate the feeling of camaraderie and joy you can get training with a group of like-minded people. Blue Sky Endurance, a local triathlon store, is offering a She Tris training program starting the week of April 8th. Check it out for a great, fun way to train for your race! https://blue-sky-endurance.myshopify.com/products/she-tris-training-program
Triathlon is an incredible, friendly, supportive sport for people of every age! Enjoy the journey you're beginning and I'll see you out at the races!
Siobhan Maize, Ph.D.
ITCA Triathlon Coach