How to Train for a Sprint Triathlon

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Your Swim, Bike, Run—and Lose—Plan!

More: Shed pounds and get seriously fit with our 12-week sprint triathlon training guide.

Month 1

  • Mon: Off
  • Tue: Run: 20 minutes easy
  • Wed: Bike: 30 minutes easy or spin class
  • Thu: Off
  • Fri: Run: 20 minutes easy
  • Sat: Swim: 10 to 16 x 25 m easy, rest 20 seconds
  • Sun: Bike: 30 to 40 minutes easy or spin class

Swim: During weeks 3 and 4, swim 8 to 10 x 50 meters, rest 15 seconds.

Bike/Run: Increase by five minutes each week.

Month 2

  • Mon: Off
  • Tue: Run: 3 to 4 Two-minute intervals
  • Wed: Bike: 50 to 60 minutes easy or spin class
  • Thu: Swim: 8 to 10 x 75 m easy, rest 15 seconds
  • Fri: Run: 35 to 40 minutes easy
  • Sat: Swim: 8 to 10 x 75 m easy, rest 15 seconds
  • Sun: Brick: Bike: 30 minutes steady; Run: 20 to 30 minutes easy

Swim: During weeks 3 and 4, swim 5 x 100 m, rest 15 seconds.

Bike: Increase by five minutes each week.

*Run: Begin interval training: Warm up for 15 minutes, then alternate two minutes at a faster pace with two minutes jog/walk. Cool down for 15 minutes; increase by one interval each week.

More: How to Create Your Own Interval Workouts

Month 3

  • Mon: Off
  • Tue: Run: 6 to 8 two-minute intervals
  • Wed: Bike: 60 to 70 minutes easy
  • Thu: Swim: 800 m easy
  • Fri: Run: 40 minutes easy
  • Sat: Swim: 800 m easy or 30 minutes in open water
  • Sun: Brick: Bike: 50 minutes steady; Run: 25 to 30 minutes easy

During weeks 2 and 3, do the brick on Tuesday; on Sunday, do a mini tri (15-minute swim, 45-minute bike, 20-minute run). Race week: Revert to month 1, week 1. The day before your race, rest or swim easy for 10 minutes.

Your Building Bricks

Back-to-back bike-run training workouts (a.k.a. "bricks") are essential—they'll teach you to run on legs that feel like jelly after hopping off the bike. "The first mile always feels as if someone else's legs have been grafted to your body," says Cane. "It'll feel lousy—but since triathletes prepare themselves with brick workouts, they hit their stride pretty quickly."

Starting in the second month of training, do a bike-run brick every weekend. Figuring out that it takes about 10 minutes for you to get past the running-through-mud feeling will mentally ready you for race day—you'll know you can push through and finish strong.

More: A Brick Workout for Every Distance

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