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You love cycling and also like to go for a run or swim? Participating in a triathlon would be a perfect challenge for you. Especially if you have always dreamed of competing in a triathlon, we have compiled a couple of tips to make your first experiences with this diverse sport a little easier.

Triathlon – can I do this?

You don’t have to do an ironman straight away. Start out by doing shorter distances to get acquainted with the challenges of a triathlon. A triathlon still consists of the three disciplines swimming, cycling and running which makes competitions a tough task that, however, can be overcome with goal-oriented training. If you already have some experience with at least one of the three disciplines, it will be easy to get better at the others. A great beginners’ triathlon consists of 300-750m of swimming, 5-30km of cycling and 3-10km of running. With a pinch of motivation and regular training you can prepare for your first short triathlon within 8-12 weeks and start into the competition with a good level of fitness.

How important is cycling?

Cycling is the second triathlon discipline and thus takes a key role. If you are already tired when starting into the cycling part, being an experienced cyclist gives you an advantage. The final running part will be easier, too, if you aren’t completely exhausted after cycling: Triathlons are all about the right distribution of your stamina. Cycling becomes more important the longer the competition is. This should also be reflected in your training. If you are already a good cyclist, you can focus your training on swimming or running no matter the length of the triathlon. One cycling session per week will suffice to maintain your level. 

Tip: Brick training is a key segment of your training. Simply change into your running shoes directly after you’ve finished your cycling training e.g. do 40km of cycling followed by 5km of running. This prepares your muscles for the quick changes and diverse strains of a triathlon.

Exemplary training plan for a sprint triathlon

You should define your strengths at the beginning of your training and plan how to improve your weak areas. If you’re already a good cyclist, try to work on your swimming technique or your running speed. Furthermore, the transition from cycling to running takes a key role. We have compiled an exemplary three-week-long training plan (based on the assumption that cycling already is your strong suit). 

The plan consists of 750m of swimming, 20km of cycling and 5km of running. Start of training: 6 weeks before the competition. Alternate 2 weeks of strenuous training with 1 week of regeneration.


Week 1

Monday: free

Tuesday: 4x600m of running at competition speed with 3min of relaxed jogging in between each block 

Wednesday: 600m swimming (200m technique, 400m endurance)

Thursday: free

Friday: 20km cycling followed by 4km of running (brick training)

Saturday: 2x400m open water swimming

Sunday: 20-40km cycling (basic endurance)


Week 2

Monday: free

Tuesday: 4-6km of running (basic endurance with 2x 100m of running with increased intensity at the end (start slowly before sprinting))

Wednesday: 800-1000m swimming (400m technique, 600m endurance)

Thursday: free

Friday: 30km of cycling followed by 2km of running at competition speed (brick training) 

Saturday: training for the transition zone: 100m of swimming, 2km of cycling, 1km of running

Sunday: 40-60km of cycling (basic endurance)

Week 3 (regeneration week)

Monday: free

Tuesday: 10km of relaxed cycling

Wednesday: free

Thursday: 400-600m of relaxed swimming locker schwimmen just as the fancy takes you

Friday: free

Saturday: 10km of cycling followed by 1km of relaxed running

Sunday: 600-800m of relaxed swimming just as the fancy takes you

8 tips for beginners

  1. Pick a suitable distance (e.g. hobby or sprint)
  2. Focus your training on your weaknesses
  3. Don’t get flustered by your competitors, simply stick to your tempo
  4. Every discipline counts for itself. Make use of your strengths in the competition
  5. Make good use of your energy and make sure to save some strength for running 
  6. Practice transitioning to the other disciplines during your training
  7. Make a checklist for the transition zone and mentally practice the transition 
  8. Create a dietary plan

Have you participated in a triathlon before? 🏊🚴🏻🏃

Let us know in the comments!