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Over the next week Triathlete Magazine Senior Editor Matt Fitzgerald will provide six tips on jumping in to the sport of triathlon. In the first article, Fitzgerald explains how to balance the training load of all three sports.Written by: Matt Fitzgerald
Swimming, cycling and running are all equally important to triathlon success. Sure, you spend a lot more time on the bike than you spend in the water or on foot, but weaknesses in swimming or running are just as likely to limit your overall performance as weakness on the bike. Therefore, you should do a roughly equal number of swims, rides and runs each week. At a minimum, you should do two workouts per week in each discipline. Three workouts per discipline each week is a suitable schedule for most competitive triathletes. There’s nothing to be gained by doing more than four workouts per discipline each week. It’s a good idea to do one combined bike-run (or brick) workout each week. The bike and run segments of this workout can each count toward your total number of workouts in each discipline, or one segment can count as an extra session in that particular discipline.
Following are four basic weekly workout templates. One features two workouts per discipline per week; the second features three workouts per discipline per week; the third features four workouts per discipline per week; and the last features three workouts per discipline per week plus either a fourth ride or a fourth run, thanks to the inclusion of a weekly brick workout (whose position within the week alternates from week to week so that the extra session is a run one week, a ride the next and so forth).
Sample weekly workout template #1
2 swims, 2 rides, 2 runs
Sample weekly workout template #2
3 swims, 3 rides, 3 runs
Sample weekly workout template #3
4 swims, 4 rides, 4 runs
Sample weekly workout template #4
Week 1: 3 swims, 3 rides, 4 runs
Week 2: 3 swims, 4 rides, 3 runs