Getting Started

Training Plan: 8 Weeks to Your First Sprint Triathlon

A sprint triathlon is the perfect introduction to the sport, and you can get to the finish line triumphantly using this eight-week plan.

A sprint triathlon is the perfect introduction to the sport, and you can get to the finish line triumphantly using this eight-week plan.

Before you get started, get clearance from your doctor. This plan is for someone who has been exercising at least four days a week for the past few months and is injury-free.

Technique should be a priority for beginners—avoid the tendency to do too much too soon so you can stay injury-free. Rather than just going for a swim, swim mindfully. Rather than tearing after a ride, ride with intention. And rather than struggling through a run, run with perfect form for as long as you can and take short walk breaks so you can run perfectly again.

Training Paces

Easy: Your go-all-day pace. Using the “talk test,” you should be able to say completely full sentences with no problem.

Moderate: A steady, consistent intensity. Talk test: 2–3 words at a time.

Hard: A close to all-out effort, should be challenging but sustainable for the given interval. Talk test: One word at at time.

Run or bike on flat terrain and keep pace easy unless otherwise noted.

Sprint-Distance Training Plan key:
’ = minutes
” = seconds
hr = hour

Weeks 1–4 goal: Keep things comfortable and make technique the priority in every workout.

Week 1

Monday
Bike 45′

Tuesday
Rest

Wednesday
Swim 30′
Do short intervals (such as 10×50) with perfect technique. Rest 15–30” between each effort. Keep body level at the surface and focus on proper head position, looking down with chin tucked.

Thursday
Run 35′
5’ warm-up, 25’ moderate, 5’ cool-down.
Run tall. Walk for 60–90” as often as needed to keep quality posture.

Friday
Day off

Saturday
Bike 90′
Aim for 80–90 RPM with fluid, efficient pedal circles.

Sunday
Swim 30′
Do short intervals with perfect technique. Rest 15–30” between each effort. Work on rolling entire body side to side to work hip power into each stroke.

Week 2

Monday
Bike 50′
Focus on scraping on the bottom of the pedal stroke and pulling up on the back side.

Tuesday
Day off

Wednesday
Swim 40′
Confirm level body and a long axis rotation.

Thursday
30’ of limiter (your worst sport).

Friday
Day off

Saturday
Swim 40′
Focus on timing the entry hand with hip drive.

Sunday
Bike 90′
30’ easy, 30’ moderate, 30’ easy.

Week 3 – Recovery Week

Monday
Bike 45′ hilly terrain
Shift early to keep cadence high, even on climbs.

Tuesday
Day off

Wednesday
Swim 45′
Start to include longer intervals (5×100) followed by 20-40” rest, but keep focus on technique.

Thursday
Run 50′
15–20’easy and the rest of the time at a moderate pace.

Friday
30’ of limiter (your worst sport).

Saturday
Swim 45′
Reduce kick but keep body level with changes to head and lead arm.

Sunday
Bike 1:45, moderate

Week 4

Monday
45′, hilly terrain
Keep stride short and look up when climbing. Walk 60” when needed to keep heart rate under control.

Tuesday
Day off

Wednesday
Swim 45′
Try to swim as silently as possible by relaxing and slipping through the water rather than fighting it.

Thursday
Bike 60′
10’ easy, 40’ moderate, 10’ easy.

Friday
Run 35′
Limit your walk breaks and focus on short, quick strides.

Saturday
Swim 50′
Get a feel for the “catch”— start to grip the water with the lead arm at the moment the recovery fingers enter the water.

Sunday
Bike 2 hr
Make last 15’ as strong as the first.

Weeks 5–8 goal: Workouts increase in duration but not much in intensity. Technique is still the top priority—challenge yourself to hold perfect form, even at the end of long workouts.

Week 5

Monday
Bike 45′
Loosen legs with easy, fluid circles.

Tuesday
Day off

Wednesday
Swim 30′
Include short intervals with 15–30” rest.

Thursday
Run 35′
5’ warm-up, 25’ moderate, 5’ cool-down.

Friday
Day off

Saturday
Bike 75′
Spin the bike up to speed 80-90 rPM with heart and lungs, not by mashing the pedals at 60–70 RPM.

Sunday
Swim 30′

Week 6
Monday
Bike 60′

Tuesday
Day off

Wednesday
Swim 45′
Turn head early to breathe and look back toward shoulder for easier air.

Thursday
Run 45′, hilly terrain
Warm up 7’ on flat then run hills moderate and flats easy.

Friday
Bike 75′
Warm up 10’, then climb a few hills in a big gear at 60 rPM, spin on flats.

Saturday
Swim 45′
Build more relaxation into each and every stroke.

Sunday
Bike 90′
15’ easy, 60’ moderate, 15’ easy.

Week 7

Monday
Swim 45′
Extend the duration of the intervals (4×150) but keep the 15–30” rest to ensure quality.

Tuesday
Day off

Wednesday
Run 50′
10’ warm-up, then 3×5’ moderate to hard. Take a full 2’ rest between each. Test race pace to find what you can comfortably hold.

Thursday
Bike 60′

Friday
Run 35′
5’ warm-up, 10’ moderate, then 4×1’ hard with 3’ recovery.

Saturday
Swim 50′
Match the entry hand with the catch and the hip rotation for greatest power.

Sunday
Bike 2 hr
1 hr easy, 1 hr with 3x 5’ hard with 3’ recovery.

Run 10′
Easy off the bike.

Week 8

Monday
Bike 30′
Loosen legs from yesterday’s brick.

Tuesday
Day off

Wednesday
Swim 30′
Include 3–4 fast 75s with 15–30” rest. The remainder should be easy.

Thursday
Run 25′ easy.

Friday
Day off

Saturday
Swim 10′ easy
Run 10′
Easy with 3 30-second fast pickups with 2’ recovery.

Sunday
Race day! Pre-race warm-up:
Jog for 8’ overdressed.
Swim 5’ or do arm circles to warm up the shoulders.