This sprint training plan keeps it simple so that someone with no swim, bike, or run experience can successfully reach the finish line.

Overwhelmed by the idea of training for a triathlon? You can do it! This sprint training plan keeps it simple so that someone with no swim, bike, or run experience can successfully reach the finish line.

This training plan is designed to prepare inexperienced triathletes to successfully complete a sprint triathlon in 12 weeks. It entails just one workout per day, six days per week: two swims, two rides, and two runs. (There’s a third weekly run in weeks 8 and 10, where Saturday’s ride is replaced with a bike-run brick workout.) The plan is divided into three phases. Weeks 1-3 constitute the base phase; the next four weeks make up the build phase; and the last five are the peak phase. Weeks 4 and 8 are recovery weeks, with slightly reduced training to give your body a chance to absorb recent training and prepare for the harder workouts to come. Week 12 (race week) is a taper week, meaning your training tapers off during the week to ensure you’re rested and ready to perform on race day. Choose this plan if you are fit and healthy enough to train for a triathlon, but you have done little or no recent swimming, cycling, or running. The plan begins with a total of 1,000 yards of swimming, 40 minutes of cycling, and 40 minutes of running in Week 1. It peaks with 2,275 yards of swimming, 2 hours of cycling, and 1 hour and 14 minutes of running in Week 11.

Difficulty Level: 1

Week 1

The first 4 weeks of this plan comprise the base phase of training. Your goals in this phase are to ease into a regular schedule of training, avoid injuries, and gradually build aerobic fitness and endurance.

Monday
Relax

Tuesday
Swim Base: 500 Yards
WU: 200 @ low aerobic intensity
4 x 25 drills, RI=0:10
CD: 200 @ low aerobic intensity

Wednesday
Recovery Bike: 20 Minutes
WU: 10 minutes @ recovery intensity
CD: 10 minutes @ recovery intensity

Thursday
Foundation Run: 20 Minutes
WU: Run 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
CD: Run 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity

Friday
Swim Base: 500 Yards
WU: 200 @ low aerobic intensity
4 x 25 drills, RI=0:10
CD: 200 @ low aerobic intensity

Saturday
Recovery Bike: 20 Minutes
WU: 10 minutes @ recovery intensity
CD: 10 minutes @ recovery intensity

Sunday
Foundation Run: 20 Minutes
WU: Run 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
CD: Run 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity

Week 2

Quick Tip: Never train in pain. If you feel anything worse than normal workout soreness while swimming, cycling, or running, abandon the session and begin trying to figure out what caused the pain and how to keep it from coming back.

Monday
Relax

Tuesday
Swim Base: 700 Yards
WU: 200 @ low aerobic intensity
4 x 25 drills, RI=0:10
MS: 2 x 100 @ moderate aerobic intensity, RI=0:05
CD: 200 @ low aerobic intensity

Wednesday
Recovery Bike: 30 Minutes
WU: 10 minutes @ low aerobic intensity
MS: 10 minutes @ low aerobic intensity
CD: 10 minutes @ low aerobic intensity

Thursday
Foundation Run: 20 Minutes
WU: Run 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
CD: Run 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity

Friday
Swim Base: 700 Yards
WU: 200 @ low aerobic intensity
4 x 25 drills, RI=0:10
MS: 2 x 100 @ moderate aerobic intensity, RI=0:05
CD: 200 @ low aerobic intensity

Saturday
Foundation Bike: 30 Minutes
WU: 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
MS: 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
CD: 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity

Transition Run: 10 Minutes
MS: Run 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity immediately following today’s bike workout

Sunday
Foundation Run: 20 Minutes
WU: Run 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
CD: Run 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity

Week 3

Monday
Relax

Tuesday
Swim Base: 850 Yards
WU: 200 @ low aerobic intensity
6 x 25 drills, RI=0:10
MS: 3 x 100 @ moderate aerobic intensity, RI=0:05
CD: 200 @ low aerobic intensity

Wednesday
Foundation Bike: 30 Minutes
WU: 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
MS: 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
CD: 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity

Thursday
Foundation Run: 25 Minutes
WU: Run 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
MS: Run 5 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
CD: Run 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity

Friday
Swim Base: 850 Yards
WU: 200 @ low aerobic intensity
6 x 25 drills, RI=0:10
MS: 3 x 100 @ moderate aerobic intensity, RI=0:05
CD: 200 @ low aerobic intensity

Saturday
Foundation Bike: 30 Minutes
WU: 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
MS: 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
CD: 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity

Sunday
Foundation Run: 25 Minutes
WU: Run 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
MS: Run 5 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
CD: Run 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity

Week 4

The next 4 weeks of this plan comprise the build phase. Your goal in this phase is to continue developing your aerobic fitness and endurance while also improving your efficiency and speed with some high-intensity training.

This week is a recovery week. Your training is slightly reduced to allow your body to fully absorb your recent training and prepare for harder training in weeks 4-7.

Monday
Relax

Tuesday
Swim Base: 700 Yards
WU: 200 @ low aerobic intensity
4 x 25 drills, RI=0:10
MS: 2 x 100 @ moderate aerobic intensity, RI=0:05
CD: 200 @ low aerobic intensity

Wednesday
Foundation Bike: 45 Minutes
WU: 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
MS: 25 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
CD: 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity

Thursday
Recovery Run: 20 Minutes
MS: Run 20 minutes @ low aerobic intensity

Friday
Swim Base: 700 Yards
WU: 200 @ low aerobic intensity
4 x 25 drills, RI=0:10
MS: 2 x 100 @ moderate aerobic intensity, RI=0:05
CD: 200 @ low aerobic intensity

Saturday
Recovery Bike: 30 Minutes
WU: 10 minutes @ low aerobic intensity
MS: 10 minutes @ low aerobic intensity
CD: 10 minutes @ low aerobic intensity

Transition Run: 10 Minutes
MS: Run 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity immediately following today’s bike workout

Sunday
Recovery Run: 20 Minutes
MS: Run 20 minutes @ low aerobic intensity

Week 5

Monday
Relax

Tuesday
Swim Base: 1000 Yards
WU: 200 @ low aerobic intensity
4 x 25 drills, RI=0:10
MS: 5 x 100 @ moderate aerobic intensity, RI=0:05
CD: 200 @ low aerobic intensity

Wednesday
Bike Short Hill Climbs: 45 Minutes
WU: 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
MS: 4 x 1-minute hill climbs @ speed intensity with enough recovery to reach total workout time of 45 minutes (including warm-up and cool-down)
CD: 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity

Thursday
Foundation Run: 25 Minutes
WU: Run 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
MS: Run 5 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
CD: Run 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity

Friday
Swim Threshold: 900 Yards
WU: 200 @ low aerobic intensity
4 x 25 drills, RI=0:10
MS: 2 x 200 @ threshold intensity, RI=0:30
CD: 200 @ low aerobic intensity

Saturday
Foundation Bike: 30 Minutes
WU: 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
MS: 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
CD: 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity

Sunday
Foundation Run: 25 Minutes
WU: Run 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
MS: Run 5 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
CD: Run 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity

Week 6

Quick Tip: Be sure to fuel your workouts properly. Sip regularly from a bottle of sports drink every 10-12 minutes throughout all high-intensity workouts (i.e. all workouts at threshold intensity and above) and all workouts lasting an hour or more. This will help keep your muscles cool and supply them with extra energy, so you perform better and get a bigger fitness benefit from the workout.

Monday
Relax

Tuesday
Swim Base: 1100 Yards
WU: 200 @ low aerobic intensity
4 x 25 drills, RI=0:10
MS: 6 x 100 @ moderate aerobic intensity, RI=0:05
CD: 200 @ low aerobic intensity

Wednesday
Bike Short Hill Climbs: 50 Minutes
WU: 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
MS: 5 x 1-minute hill climbs @ speed intensity with enough recovery to reach total workout time of 50 minutes (including warm-up and cool-down)
CD: 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity

Thursday
Foundation Run: 25 Minutes
WU: Run 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
MS: Run 5 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
CD: Run 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity

Friday
Swim Threshold: 900 Yards
WU: 200 @ low aerobic intensity
4 x 25 drills, RI=0:10
MS: 2 x 200 @ threshold intensity, RI=0:20
CD: 200 @ low aerobic intensity

Saturday
Foundation Bike: 45 Minutes
WU: 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
MS: 25 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
CD: 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity

Transition Run: 10 Minutes
MS: Run 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity immediately following today’s bike workout

Sunday
Foundation Run: 30 Minutes
WU: Run 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
MS: Run 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
CD: Run 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity

Week 7

Monday
Relax

Tuesday
Swim Base: 1200 Yards
WU: 200 @ low aerobic intensity
4 x 25 drills, RI=0:10
MS: 7 x 100 @ moderate aerobic intensity, RI=0:05
CD: 200 @ low aerobic intensity

Wednesday
Bike Short Hill Climbs: 50 Minutes
WU: 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
MS: 5 x 1-minute hill climbs @ speed intensity with enough recovery to reach total workout time of 50 minutes (including warm-up and cool-down)
CD: 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity

Thursday
Foundation Run: 30 Minutes
WU: Run 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
MS: Run 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
CD: Run 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity

Friday
Swim Threshold: 1100 Yards
WU: 200 @ low aerobic intensity
4 x 25 drills, RI=0:10
MS: 3 x 200 @ threshold intensity, RI=0:45
CD: 200 @ low aerobic intensity

Saturday
Foundation Bike: 45 Minutes
WU: 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
MS: 25 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
CD: 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity

Sunday
Foundation Run: 30 Minutes
WU: Run 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
MS: Run 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
CD: Run 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity

Week 8

The last 5 weeks of this plan are the peak phase. In this phase you will transform the general triathlon fitness you have developed into race-specific fitness with workouts including tempo rides, lactate swim intervals, and brick workouts.

This week is a recovery week.

Monday
Relax

Tuesday
Swim Base: 20 Minutes
WU: 200 @ low aerobic intensity
4 x 25 drills, RI=0:10
MS: 5 x 100 @ moderate aerobic intensity, RI=0:05
CD: 200 @ low aerobic intensity

Wednesday
Tempo Bike: 45 Minutes
WU: 8 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
MS: 2 x 10 minutes @ threshold intensity with 10 minutes active recovery
CD: 7 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity

Thursday
Foundation Run: 25 Minutes
WU: Run 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
MS: Run 5 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
CD: Run 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity

Friday
Swim Base + Lactate: 800 Yards
WU: 200 @ low aerobic intensity
4 x 25 drills, RI=0:10
MS: 4 x 75 @ VO2max intensity, RI=0:45
CD: 200 @ low aerobic intensity

Saturday
Brick Workout: 40 Minutes
WU: Bike 30 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
MS: Run 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity

Sunday
Foundation Run: 25 Minutes
WU: Run 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
MS: Run 5 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
CD: Run 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity

Week 9

Monday
Relax

Tuesday
Swim Base: 1200 Yards
WU: Run 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
MS: Run 5 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
CD: Run 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity

Wednesday
Tempo Bike: 50 Minutes
WU: 15 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
MS: 20 minutes @ threshold intensity
CD: 15 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity

Thursday
Tempo Run: 30 Minutes
WU: Run 10 minutes @ low aerobic intensity
MS: Run 10 minutes @ threshold intensity
CD: Run 10 minutes @ low aerobic intensity

Friday
Swim Base + Lactate: 875 Yards
WU: 200 @ low aerobic intensity
4 x 25 drills, RI=0:10
MS: 5 x 75 @ VO2max intensity, RI=0:45
CD: 200 @ low aerobic intensity

Saturday
Foundation Bike: 1 Hour
WU: 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
MS: 40 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
CD: 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity

Sunday
Foundation Run: 30 Minutes
WU: Run 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
MS: Run 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
CD: Run 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity

Week 10

Monday
Relax

Tuesday
Swim Base: 1300 Yards
WU: 200 @ low aerobic intensity
4 x 25 drills, RI=0:10
MS: 8 x 100 @ moderate aerobic intensity, RI=0:05
CD: 200 @ low aerobic intensity

Wednesday
Tempo Bike: 55 Minutes
WU: 17 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
MS: 22 minutes @ threshold intensity
CD: 16 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity

Thursday
Tempo Run: 32 Minutes
WU: Run 10 minutes @ low aerobic intensity
MS: Run 12 minutes @ threshold intensity
CD: Run 10 minutes @ low aerobic intensity

Friday
Swim Base + Lactate: 875 Yards
WU: 200 @ low aerobic intensity
4 x 25 drills, RI=0:10
MS: 5 x 75 @ VO2max intensity, RI=0:30
CD: 200 @ low aerobic intensity

Saturday
Brick Workout: 45 Minutes
WU: Bike 30 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
MS: Run 15 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity

Sunday
Foundation Run: 35 Minutes
WU: Run 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
MS: Run 15 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
CD: Run 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity

Week 11

Quick Tip: A proper bike set-up is very important. Having the most expensive racing bike on the market is no better than having the cheapest one if it’s not set up properly (correct saddle height, front stem length, and so forth). Poor set-up not only reduces efficiency and is less comfortable, but may also cause knee and low back injuries. Take your bike to a good local shop for a proper fitting, which will run you $50 or so.

Monday
Relax

Tuesday
Swim Base: 1400 Yards
WU: 200 @ low aerobic intensity
4 x 25 drills, RI=0:10
MS: 9 x 100 @ moderate aerobic intensity, RI=0:05
CD: 200 @ low aerobic intensity

Wednesday
Tempo Bike: 1 Hour
WU: 13 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
MS: 2 x 12 minutes @ threshold intensity with 10 minutes active recovery
CD: 13 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity

Thursday
Tempo Run: 34 Minutes
WU: Run 10 minutes @ low aerobic intensity
MS: Run 14 minutes @ threshold intensity
CD: Run 10 minutes @ low aerobic intensity

Friday
Swim Base + Lactate: 875 Yards
WU: 200 @ low aerobic intensity
4 x 25 drills, RI=0:10
MS: 5 x 75 @ VO2max intensity, RI=0:20
CD: 200 @ low aerobic intensity

Saturday
Foundation Bike: 1 Hour
WU: 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
MS: 40 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
CD: 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity

Sunday
Foundation Run: 40 Minutes
WU: Run 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
MS: Run 20 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
CD: Run 10 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity

Week 12

This week is a taper week. Your training is reduced to ensure you’re rested and ready to perform on race day.

Monday
Relax

Tuesday
Swim Base: 1300 Yards
WU: 200 @ low aerobic intensity
4 x 25 drills, RI=0:10
MS: 8 x 100 @ moderate aerobic intensity, RI=0:05
CD: 200 @ low aerobic intensity

Wednesday
Tempo Bike: 45 Minutes
WU: 8 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity
MS: 2 x 10 minutes @ threshold intensity with 10 minutes active recovery
CD: 7 minutes @ moderate aerobic intensity

Thursday
Tempo Run: 30 Minutes
WU: Run 10 minutes @ low aerobic intensity
MS: Run 10 minutes @ threshold intensity
CD: Run 10 minutes @ low aerobic intensity

Friday
Swim Base + Lactate: 800 Yards
WU: 200 @ low aerobic intensity
4 x 25 drills, RI=0:10
MS: 4 x 75 @ VO2max intensity, RI=0:45
CD: 200 @ low aerobic intensity

Saturday
Recovery Bike: 20 Minutes
WU: 10 minutes @ recovery intensity
CD: 10 minutes @ recovery intensity
It’s usually better to do a very short, easy workout the day before a race than to take the day off completely.

Sunday
Race Day!