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Training Plan for a Sprint Newbie by Katie J Synge

June 10, 2014

Triathlon is a sport open to all, great fun with and as a result of its increasing profile - offers something for all ages, ability and ambition. However with three disciplines, it is also time consuming and can be hard to know how to balance training across the disciplines. I have written you a short blog to offer some advice from experience as you prepare during training for your first sprint triathlon;


Although the smallest portion of a triathlon, it is always good to have a good swim to set you up well for the rest of the race. I appreciate the ability to get to a swimming pool around work is not always easy - so here are some short but thorough sessions to help you get onto the bike a little quicker! ;)

1. Having a solid aerobic base will improve your fitness and help this first phase of the race not take quite so much out of you! Aerobic: (Warm Up: 300 with a pull buoy, 4x50 drill (ie skulking, single arm or catch up), 4x50 building the pace from steady-strong,100 easy) (Main Set: 400, 300, 200, 100 x2 maintaining same pace) (Cool Down: 200 easy)

2. Once you have built an aerobic base (normally over the winter months), you can begin to build some faster work into your training. Try and get a speed session in at least once a week! These type of sessions are often shorter in distance but a harder effort with more rest!
Speed (Warm Up: 200 swim, 200 with a pull buoy, 4x50 drill (see set 1) 8x25 build 1-4, 5-8) (Main Set: 100 hard, 2x50 hard, 300 tempo x3) (Sub Set: 400 pull easy) (Cool Down: 200 easy)


Cycling is the easiest phase to incorporate the training into everyday life! Ditch the car and cycle to the shops, gym, pool, work instead and watch the extra km's clock up! Unless you are targeting an actual session, try to make all the riding you do really steady. It might be that you do your riding with a club, but here are couple of session ideas for when you need a hit out! It is easy enough to incorporate these into a normal ride. Make sure you warm up well and get a good spin in at the end!

1. 6x4minute efforts with 2 minute recovery between. These are relatively short efforts but it is easy to go out to hard and suffer a painful 6th rep! Keep it consistent and if you do this as out and backs along a road, you can try and hit the same point each time! Do this week to week or month to month and you can see how you are progressing!

2. 3x10minute race pace efforts with 5 minutes spinning in between. Like above, try and keep this consistent and see how far you are going with each rep!


The best bit!
Running is so simple. All you need is a pair of trainers and out the door you go! All my run mileage is super super easy (I'd go as far to call it jogging!) apart from my two key sessions a week.

1. Speed Session. This session involves shorter reps, above race pace.
(Warm Up: 15 minutes jogging, 4x50m strides) (Main Set: 30sec, 60sec, 90sec, 60sec, 30sec efforts with equal recovery x4) (Cool down: Easy jogging and thorough stretching!)

2. Tempo Session. This session is focused on maintaining a strong pace, usually just below race pace.
(Warm Up: 15 minutes jogging, 4x50m strides) (Main Set run @ 10km race pace: 10min effort/2min jog, 8/2, 6/2, 4/2. 4x1/90) (Cool down: Easy jogging and thorough stretching!)

After training the most important thing is to recover quickly so you carry minimal fatigue and are ready for the next day's session or your race! Here are some easy, cheap and efficient ways to ensure that.

      1) Milk based recovery drink straight after your session - nesquik milkshake does the job!

      2) Ice bath - fill up your bath or dustbin with cold water and some ice cubes and reap the benefits (trust me)!

      3) Sleep! Unarguably the best way to recover. Better yet, its free and available to all!

    4) Find a hockey, tennis or golf ball and roll out on your legs, back and glutes to avoid those muscle knots forming.

Training aside, the most important part is to enjoy your race and any prep you do in the run up. The atmosphere on race day is always really friendly, with everyone always willing to help you out, get you into your wetsuit or point you in the direction. Whichever race it is your doing, you can be sure you wont be the only newbie so do not worry! Don't be intimidated by what other people are doing, what kit their in or what warm up their doing. Run your own race and be proud of what your achieving!

Best of Luck and, let us know how you get on!