Your First Triathlon (Sprint/Beginner).

Average Weekly Training Hours 03:57
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours 03:57
Training Load By Week

This simple and easy-to-follow, 12-week plan is intended for the beginner training for his/her first sprint-distance triathlon (about S-400/B-13 miles/R-5k) who has little or no experience with swimming, biking, or running. It includes 6 workouts per week with 2 in each sport plus weightlifting which is optional. There are also other weekly optional workouts suggested that you can choose to do if you have time and want to train more in any given week. The plan is based on Joe Friel's book, Your First Triathlon.

Sample Day 1
0:45:00
Optional: Strength, AA.

OPTIONAL. Strength Workout #1: Anatomical Adaptation Phase. The purpose of the AA phase is to perfect the exercise movements while building general body strength. Warm-up by spinning on a stationary bike for 5 minutes. Then with a 30RM load (a weight you could only lift about 30 times), do 3 sets of 20 reps each (it will feel easy--until the last few) of the following exercises: A. leg press, B. seated row, C. chest press, D. heel raise or knee extension or leg curl (choose one of these 3 based on your personal weakness—calf, knees, hamstrings), E. abdominal curl ("sit up") with twist, F. standing, bent-arm, lat pull down simulating the movement of swimming. (For details on these exercises go here: http://www.trainingbible.com/bkp-all/pdf/Triathlon_Strength_Program.pdf.) Complete all 3 sets of each exercise before advancing to the next exercise. Focus on doing each exercise with perfect form. Form is more important than weight loads in this phase. Cool down by riding a stationary bike for 5 minutes with a comfortably high cadence and a low resistance.

Sample Day 2
0:10:00
1. 10 Minute Form Swim.

Swim workout #1. This is a 10-minute swim. Swim 1 length of the pool concentrating on your "PDLC" swim stroke mechanics (see PDLC explanation under "Pre-activity comments" below). The effort should be easy (zone 1-2). Stop and rest at the wall for 30-45 seconds. Then swim back to the other wall and rest again. Continue this for 10 minutes.

Sample Day 2
0:20:00
Optional: 1. Alternate Short Run-Long Walk.

OPTIONAL: Run Workout #1. This is a 20-minute walk-run session and is best done on a flat, soft surface such as gravel, grass, dirt, or on a track. A treadmill is OK. Avoid concrete and asphalt if at all possible. Warm-up by walking briskly for 5 minutes increasing the intensity from easy to moderate as you progress. Then alternate 15-second runs with 45-second walks 10 times. The walk portions are done at an easy effort. The runs are a moderate effort. Cool down by walking easily for 5 minutes.

Sample Day 3
0:20:00
1. Focus on Cadence.

Bike Workout #1. This is a 20-minute ride and is best done on a mostly flat road course, on an indoor trainer, or on a stationary bike. Gradually increase the intensity from easy to moderate as you warm up for 5 minutes. Stay with easy to moderate intensities for the remainder of the ride. Concentrate on your pedaling cadence (count every time your right foot goes down for 1 minute). If on a flat stretch of road it is below 80 rpm, shift to a lower (easier) gear. On the road, every time you come to a small hill or head wind shift to a lower (easier) gear to maintain a comfortably high cadence. Shift to a higher (harder) gear on downhills. If on an indoor trainer, play with the gears shifting frequently noticing how your cadence changes when you do. Cool down easily for the last 5 minutes.

Sample Day 4
0:20:00
8. Strides.

Run Workout #8. This is about a 20-minute “strides” workout and is best done on a flat, soft surface such as gravel, grass, dirt or on a track. Parks are excellent for this workout. A treadmill will do. Do not do this workout on concrete and asphalt. Warm up by alternating 1 minute of walking briskly with 1 minute of running for a total of 7 minutes (the experienced runner can run for 15-20 minutes gradually building intensity). Then on a flat or very slightly downhill course which is approximately 100 yards/meters long, run 20 seconds fast. Note that these are not an all-out effort. Hold back and concentrate on running form, not speed. Your feet should be making contact with the ground in a nearly flat position (not with the toes pointing up). After each stride turn around and WALK back to your starting point. Do 4 of these strides. As a variation on this workout, do the first 2 or 3 strides barefoot (on grass only and be sure to check for sharp objects and dog droppings first). When you put your shoes back on try to run with the same good form you used when barefoot. Cool down by walking in for 5 minutes. The experienced runner can vary this workout by doing the strides uphill and may extend it to 45 minutes with a longer warm-up and cool down.

Sample Day 4
0:45:00
Optional: Strength, AA.

OPTIONAL. Strength Workout #1: Anatomical Adaptation Phase. The purpose of the AA phase is to perfect the exercise movements while building general body strength. Warm-up by spinning on a stationary bike for 5 minutes. Then with a 30RM load (a weight you could only lift about 30 times), do 3 sets of 20 reps each (it will feel easy--until the last few) of the following exercises: A. leg press, B. seated row, C. chest press, D. heel raise or knee extension or leg curl (choose one of these 3 based on your personal weakness—calf, knees, hamstrings), E. abdominal curl ("sit up") with twist, F. standing, bent-arm, lat pull down simulating the movement of swimming. (For details on these exercises go here: http://www.trainingbible.com/bkp-all/pdf/Triathlon_Strength_Program.pdf.) Complete all 3 sets of each exercise before advancing to the next exercise. Focus on doing each exercise with perfect form. Form is more important than weight loads in this phase. Cool down by riding a stationary bike for 5 minutes with a comfortably high cadence and a low resistance.

Sample Day 5
0:10:00
1. 10 Minute Form Swim.

Swim workout #1. This is a 10-minute swim. Swim 1 length of the pool concentrating on your "PDLC" swim stroke mechanics (see PDLC details below). The effort should be easy (zone 1-2). Stop and rest at the wall for 30-45 seconds. Then swim back to the other wall and rest again. Continue this for 10 minutes.

Joe Friel
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Joe Friel Coaching

An endurance coach since 1980, Joe Friel has worked with triathletes and cyclists from all over the world helping them achieve their race goals. He also trains coaches around the world and has consulted with national federations and national Olympic team coaches. Coach Friel offers personal camps, and seminars for clubs and teams, and consults with professional athletes. He is currently not accepting one-on-one coaching clients.