Beginners Guide to Triathlon

What is Triathlon? 

Triathlon is a multi-sport event consisting of a Swim Bike and Run. There are various race distances including:-

 Description Swim Bike Run
 Enticer 300m 8km 2km
 Sprint 750m 20km 5km
 Olympic 1,500m 40km 10km
 Half Ironman 1,900m 90km 21.1km
 Ironman 3,800m 180km 42.2km


There are also other distances as well as team’s events. 

Triathlon has some closely related cousins such as:- 

  • Duathlons (Run/Bike/Run) 
  • Aquathlons (Run/Swim/Run) 
  • Xterra (Off-road triathlon) 
How do I train for a triathlon?

Anyone with basic level of fitness and who is willing to do a few specific training sessions can realistically expect to complete an enticer or even sprint distance event. Firstly have you ever swum, ridden a bike or run? For most of us the answer is YES (even if it has been a few years ;-)) or if you haven’t, do you enjoy challenging yourself and trying to achieve something new? (see below for basic training program) 

For most novices the shorter distances are achievable and a great way to practice triathlon specific skills including open water swimming , swim to bike transition and bike to run transitions. If you start at least one session per week in each discipline (swim, bike and run) it should only take you 6-10 weeks till you are ready to complete an enticer event. 

What equipment do I need? 

You don’t need to outlay much to get a bit of a taste for triathlon. But you will need 

  • Swim - goggles and swimmers 
  • Bike - approved bike helmet and roadworthy bicycle (it can be any type of roadworthy bike - bmx, mountain bike, hybrid, road bike - consider borrowing from a friend if you don't have one)
  • Running - shoes or joggers 
Is triathlon for me? 
Hopefully!! Triathlon is a great sport to make part of a healthy lifestyle and meet like minded individuals. Triathlon can be as big a part of your life as you want. It can give you fitness, travel to new locations meet new friends and help you achieve personal goals 

How can I get involved? 
Joining a club is a great start. You will be able to participate in organised club training and social events. By meeting other club members you will have access to many years of accumulated knowledge for all levels of triathlon.

Basic training programs 
For you first triathlon just swim bike and run as your schedule will permit. The most important thing is that you should also enjoy the training. Yes, there may be fatigue as your body adapts but just remember the main reason you are doing this is the FUN factor! 

If you are looking for a bit of structure around your training, a sample week may look something like the training program outlined below.

Key points to remember:
  • Be flexible with your training. Swap sessions around to suit your schedule. Can you do any training before or after your work day? Can you complete anything during your lunch break? (spin classes or swimming squads etc)
  • Pay attention to your recovery and nutrition
  • If it has been a while since you exercised regularly seek medical clearance before commencing 
  • If time will permit consider x-training options (stretching, yoga, Gym).
  • Practice Transitions (swim / bike and bike / run) 
  • Include “Brick Sessions”. This is running after a bike session. This is the “bricks and mortar” or foundations of triathlon…. (also describes how your legs feel running after a bike session!)
Sample 8 week program for enticer training

 Activity Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Training Hrs
 Week 1     Swim Easy
10 mins
    Bike Easy
30 mins
Run Easy
10 mins
50 mins
 Week 2     Swim Easy
10 mins
    Bike Easy
35 mins
Run Easy
15 mins
60 mins
 Week 3      Swim Easy
15 mins
    Bike Easy
40 mins
Run Easy
20 mins
75 mins
 Week 4   Swim Easy
15 mins
  Rest or
X-train
  Bike Easy
45 mins
Run Easy
20 mins
85 mins
 Week 5   Swim Easy
20 mins
  Rest or
X-train
  Bike Easy
50 mins
Run Easy
25 mins
95 mins
 Week 6   Swim Easy
20 mins
  Rest or
X-train
  BRICK
Bike Easy
40 mins
Run Easy
20 mins
Run Easy
30 mins
110 mins
 Week 7     Swim Easy
15 mins
    Bike Easy
40 mins
Run Easy
20 mins
75 mins
 Week 8 Swim Easy
10 mins
  Easy Bike
20 mins
  Easy Run
10 mins
REST RACE 40 mins