How to Train for a Triathlon – Triathlon Training Program for Beginners

Training for a triathlon is different from other sports in which the improvement is very much focused on a particular skill or area of strength. In a triathlon, there are three areas to be developed or enhanced. Since the most popular and widely accepted components of a triathlon are swimming, cycling, and running, we should consider the appropriate training program for each sport.

You may train yourself for swimming the way swimmers do. The same approach must also be done with cycling and running. On the other hand, the transition is also another skill that you should develop and improve. This is because most triathlon athletes with similar performance in swimming, cycling, and running may have different performance in the transition between two stages.

Today, we will be going over the best ways for beginners to participate in a triathlon.

Triathlon Swim Training

During your training, swimming should also be the first. Health factors are considered here. It is not recommended you sweat first before you swim and get wet. If you do so, you will most likely suffer from the cold or flu. To avoid this, start with swimming even in the morning before you go on to your running exercises.

In an actual triathlon competition, swimming may take place in various forms. Sometimes, it is done in a swimming pool. Most of the time, it’s outdoor. It means you may swim in the river or in the sea. In such cases, your endurance must be reliable. There may be an instance that the swimming segment entails an island-to-island race.

To prepare for this, you have to get used to swimming for a much longer time. It doesn’t matter how long you have gone or how fast you have reached your finish line. What is important is that you can keep on swimming continuously for a long period of time.

To achieve this, here are the swimming activities you should do:

  • Floating
  • Diving
  • Free Style
  • Back Stroke
  • Combination of Styles


Skill in floating is important. This is what you can use when you get tired in the middle of the water. It doesn’t necessarily mean you stop in the middle to take a rest in a floating position. However, you can even move quickly while floating.

You can do so by trying to do a little of backstroke. Afterward, try to stop moving your hands and arms as though you’re lying upon a bed. All you have to do is to push yourself through your feet the way mermaids swim. Of course, you can’t do it with feet simultaneously waving.

What you can do is to alternately wave your feet and toes softly and smoothly. In other words, just do the back stroke without moving your arms. From time to time, you can use your hands to keep yourself floating.

If you keep on practicing floating, you can have lots of arsenals to use in case the competition entails swimming in the ocean.


There are many types of diving. You may think of diving as the one being done from high above. This is not actually the type of diving you need to practice. The important type of diving you should practice is the diving which is done at the start of a swimming race.

We call this type of diving dolphin kick. A simple dolphin kick can make a slow swimmer win a swimming competition. Most swimmers can reach the first half of the standard pool in just a single dolphin kick. This skill can also save your energy and endurance.

Always try to dive horizontally. Avoid falling movement. Think of a submarine that transitionally submerges into the water. Just do the same but with the speed like an arrow.

Freestyle Swimming

In swimming, we know that there are four swimming styles: breaststroke, butterfly, backstroke, and freestyle. There are some triathlon competitions in which all such styles must be used. However, this is not common. Most of the time, freestyle is used especially for outdoor swimming.

Because of this, it is best to practice freestyle every day. Take note that this style is the most energy efficient among all styles. Why do we need to save energy by the way? The answer is simple. It is because the more energy we exert, the lesser our endurance becomes.

In your swimming exercise, your goal of improving your heart rate is just one, but the most important goal is the speed and the distance you can make with less effort.


The backstroke may be required when a swimming triathlon requires all four styles of swimming. In the case of ocean or river swimming, you can have a choice between freestyle and back stroke depending on the situation. You can’t use back stroke when waves are high and strong.

On the other hand, this can be your alternative if you need some more air. In freestyle, you don’t have the freedom to breathe any time you want. Through the backstroke, you can regain your energy and gather some air.

Combination of Styles

Whether or not all swimming styles are important, you can practice swimming by switching from one style to another. This will improve your heart rate and flexibility.

Triathlon Bike Training

Training yourself for a cycling competition is different from the training you should do for your triathlon competition. Keeping in mind that cycling is the second part of triathlon after swimming.

Have you noticed that your legs and feet seem to be so heavy right after swimming? Sometimes, you can hardly stand and walk straight after rising from the pool.

Now, imagine yourself swimming for a long period of time, and you need to immediately run to your bike and ride uphill. For beginners, this could be intimidating.

Because of this, your triathlon bike training should be designed to develop the strength of your legs and feet. Here are the best ways to train on your bike:

  • Ride Often: You have to get in gear when preparing for this triathlon, and if you are riding a once or twice a week, you will want to increase this significantly, but remember to give yourself ample rest time as well.
  • Build Intensity: When you’re out practicing you might want to change up the intensity by switching gears for something more intense for a couple of minutes followed by a couple of minutes of rest or a more relaxed speed to cool down. This will build the strength you need to keep at your goals of finishing the race strong.
  • Develop Your Own Style: The way you can do this is by riding with more experienced cyclists. Observe their motions when you are riding with them. See how they shift and rest and then develop your own technique from this. If you can’t find a group to ride with, ask a friend who might also be in the race to show you the ropes.
  • Use the Right Equipment: It’s important that you wear the proper clothing like cycling shorts, a visor, helmet, and a good pair of sunglasses that you are comfortable with. Without these items, you have a higher probability of getting injured.

Other valuable tips include using a bike that fits you as this will work with you instead of against you. If you have a smart bike computer, it will help you plot your course as well as help you increase your time if you keep track of this. Also, make sure you have a flat tire kit on hand because you never know when you will need it.


Triathlons may seem like a feat that you always wanted to take on, but they may have seemed overwhelming at all the work you have to do in order to prepare for them. Triathlons, for the most part, require a lot of discipline and training. You have to remember when you are training not to push yourself too hard as your body can only take so much. Finishing a triathlon for a beginner is a major accomplishment and should give you confidence that you have accomplished so much.