Training for a triathlon is different from training for a single-event race. You must ensure you practise each of the sports in the triathlon and the transitions in between. Devising a training plan can be tricky when you must master many different sports. This article looks at some tips for training for a triathlon. 

Create a training plan

A training plan is essential for any athlete to participate in a triathlon. Without the correct training structure, you won’t be able to increase your distance and make measurable improvements to work up to your chosen triathlon length. As part of your training program, you should work on each sport individually and combine them together so you can train all the muscles you need in the event. 

As part of your training, you should establish a schedule; a basic timetable would include a minimum of two sessions of each sport per week; two bike sessions, two runs, and two swim sessions. As well as these individual sessions practising each type of sport, you should include a brick session. A brick session is training two sports back to back in one session, which could be a swim and a bike or a bike and a run. It's important to include these in your training schedule to practise the transition between two sports and replicate what you’ll be doing on the event day. If your swim is in open water, you’ll need to include this in your training schedule; swimming in a pool is beneficial, but it won’t prepare you as well for the open water portion of your triathlon. Open water swimming can be challenging if you haven’t done it before; try to practise in the same or a similar body of water to the one that's part of your event. 

Resistance training is also beneficial for triathlon participants; it will help you to build and strengthen the muscles you’ll need to complete the triathlon. Work on each area you use for the individual sports. For swimming, you’ll use your back muscles, shoulders and arm; during biking, you’ll predominantly use your leg muscles. For running, you must ensure your legs are strong and flexible enough to take on the distance. 

When following a training plan, ensure you take a few days each week to rest and recover. By doing this, you will avoid getting injured, which would prevent you from participating in the triathlon. Listen to your body, and don’t push yourself too far; incremental performance improvements are much more stable and beneficial to your training.

Dedication and consistency

Training for any endurance event requires dedication and consistency; without these two things, you’re unlikely to be successful. Setting small goals during your training will help you to stay motivated. Always track your progress and increase your training sessions slowly; this is the best way to improve your overall performance. When training, you should keep everything consistent throughout your regime. For example, if you use energy gels for triathlon athletes, you must incorporate these within your training. Changing things at the last minute isn’t a good idea. It would be best if you remained consistent with your clothing, equipment, and consumption throughout your training and race.


Nutrition and healthy eating are vital for triathlon athletes. When pushing your body to its maximum potential, you need to ensure you fill it with the right sources of energy. Choose a nutritionally balanced diet with enough protein and complex carbohydrates to help build muscle and endurance. Avoid fatty, processed and fried foods as they don’t provide a healthy and balanced diet. Tracking your calories and intake of different nutrients can be important when you’re training. By doing this, you can ensure you get enough of each food group to support muscle growth. It will also help you to avoid under-eating or overeating unless this is part of your training programme. An experienced nutritionist can help you make a plan that’s tailored to your needs. Alternatively, you can work out how many calories you need using your weight and your training regimen. This is much less accurate than using a trained nutritionist, but it can be a good solution if you’re on a budget.