SPRINT TRIATHLON PLAN
This 12-week program is designed for beginner to intermediate triathletes who have their sights set on an Sprint distance race (swim: .5 mile/750m; bike 12.4 miles/20K; run: 3.1 miles/5K). There are 8-10 weekly workouts (3 swims, 2-3 rides, 2-3 runs, 1-2 strength training sessions) that build a strong, capable foundation to go the distance in all three disciplines. The workouts are far from basic: nearly every ride and run has skill or speed development, while the pool workouts are rarely repeated.
If you are a more experienced triathlete going for a time goal or simply want more time in your weaker discipline, there are periodic optional sessions that can be easily added to enhance your preparation.
THE PREREQS: At a minimum, you need to be able to swim 100 yards (back, forth, back, forth) in a pool without touching the bottom or hanging on the edge. It doesn’t have to be pretty, and you don’t have to keep your face in the water the whole time. If you can’t do that but are intent on this plan, enrolling in an adult swim class and/or private lessons is a great idea.
For the run and bike portions, being injury-free is necessary.
EQUIPMENT: We’ve compiled a full gear list here, but if you’re new to the sport of triathlon, we’re all about keeping it minimal and cost-effective. Ride your old bike or borrow one from a friend. Rent a wetsuit, if you need one. The only pieces of equipment that might feel are unusual is a stability/Swiss ball and hand weights for the strength circuits; most gyms have these.
TRAINING BASICS: Most of the mandatory weekday workouts are in the hour range. (Some run a little over.) The weekend workouts range from 60 minutes to about 90 minutes, one day typically has a bike/run brick and the other is either bike or run. You will practice running after riding at least twice a week (and riding after swimming at least once), so you’ll be very familiar with transitions, both logistically and physically.
A few more helpful tidbits:
—During Week 10, you will do a weekend workout of all three disciplines in a row to get you familiar with race situation and transitions.
—Swims range from 500 to 2,200 yards; rides range from 20 minutes to 65 minutes; runs range from 20 to 60 minutes.
—One day weekly is a total rest day. (On the plan as written, it’s a Friday, but you can easily rearrange the plan to accomodate your schedule.)
STRENGTH TRAINING INCLUDED? Yes. You will have one to two (mandatory) strength circuits a week. These require hand weights and a stability ball.
A SAMPLE WEEK: