My First Triathlon Training Plan

Wow, putting together a training plan that covers a 10 mile race in April, a sprint tri in May and an Olympic tri in June that still leaves time for things like my volleyball and softball leagues is much, much harder than I expected.

In fact, it took me pretty much the entire afternoon while I was home yesterday.

I wasn’t sure how to approach it and with training dates that didn’t line up nicely it was challenging.

  • Training for the 10 miler needed to start in the middle of February.
  • Training for the sprint needed to start at the end of Feb.
  • Training for the Oly needed to start at the end of March.

I looked at a ton of different running and tri training plans, and finally came up with a hybrid that I think will work.

march training
End Feb./beginning of March

If you’re interested in seeing the full training plan, shoot me an email and I can share the Google calendar with you.

I selected a 10-miler training program from Runner’s World that only has you running three days. That leaves four days for cross-training or possible rest. In the beginning of my training the emphasis will be on running to get me ready for the 10 miler. I’ll bike and swim on the cross-training days to build a solid base.

Then once my 10 miler is over in April, the training plan shifts focus to more tri-centric workouts. Running times get shorter while swim and bike times increase. And bricks will be added to the plan on a more regular basis.

Looking at the training plan seems a little overwhelming at times, but I think mixing it up with swimming and biking will keep things from getting stale.

When I’m training for road races, I tend to run into the problem of getting bored or burnt out half way through training, I’m hoping a plan with this much variety prevents that from happening.

But it will certainly be a test of my time management skills. The pools around here don’t open early enough for me to swim before work, and getting to bike trails takes time, but I’m confident I’ll be able to make it work. it won’t be as easy as slipping on my shoes and heading out for a run, but I’ll get it done.

Triathletes, how do you make time to fit in all your training?


  1. Great job in having a Plan. I’m lucky in that I am an early riser 3-4am and I have a 24Hr gym w/pool close by. Another way I fit in tri training is that I ride to work. On Monday morning I drive My food n clothes for the week to the office, go home and ride to n from all week. This allows for more time to ride after work, in bike gear, and for some sprint work on the way in. Happy training!

  2. Wow, you are brave to create plan for your first tri yourself. At first I though I was going to do the same but I have realized very soon that I had no idea what I was doing and thus I hired a coach.
    I am again on my own since the beggining of the year and I have become a major slacker because I still have no idea what I am supposed to do. I need to find a coach soon.

    It is hard to fit all workouts and life in but once you get into a good routine it will be manageable.

  3. Getting the plan can be the hardest part. Good deal! I tend to do something over lunch and something after work. Swims tend to be shorter workouts by time, whereas bike rides take the longest. so I used to swim over lunch before I joined this masters team. and I want high resistance from a stationary bike until I can get outside for a mid-morning ride on the weekends. but that’s how I do it.

  4. that’s exactly the right idea. focus on your 10 miler, and use the cross training days as base training only. go for miles (cycling) or yards (swimming) and don’t worry about time. Once the 10 miler is over, I would maintain my base long run at whatever it was through the Olympic and do short quick stuff during the week.

    But John is right. Having a plan is half the battle!

  5. it looks like a good training plan to me. To help manage time, I bring in clothes into work the day before so I can run or bike(when it’s warmer) in the morning and go right into the office. Or I do that same thing after work so Idon’t waste time going home first. Also using your lunch to get shorter runs in is great.

  6. I believe the triathlete secret is to never ever ever sleep. I think. But 3 days a week is all the running you need, for sure.

  7. It takes a while to get used to the concept that the bike (outside) and swim are much more limited than the run. You can literally run anywhere, anytime, and pretty much in any conditions. The same does not hold true for the bike and the swim.

    It really is all time management!

  8. Sounds like you’ve got yourself a good plan! I think having a plan is key, as that then gives you something to organise yourself around, so you have more chance of getting the sessions done!

    I think as a triathlete you have to be flexible and adaptable as well – if you don’t have time to get out on your bike, then doing a run is better than not doing anything at all. You then have to shuffle the rest of your training week round so you still get the right balance of training.

    Training for a 10 mile race will mean your running fitness should be pretty good when you move into your tri training, so that will mean that you can focus more on swim and bike for a while, whilst just keeping your running going – especially seeing as you have a sprint tri up first.

    We have a free triathlon training planner on our site that you can download and use to record and keep track of your tri training:

    Good luck with the training!

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