Triathlon Training: A Brief Guide to the Three Disciplines

Posted in triathlon on June 12, 2013

Personal trainer, triathlete and duathlete, Ralph Hydes talks us through the three disciplines of triathlon and some helpful tips to get you started and to guide your training.

Training for the swim section

This is generally considered to be the most daunting & tricky of the three disciplines.

Try to build the distances you swim each week until you can manage the race distance in a continuous effort.  Once you’ve mastered that, aim to swim a further 500m more than the race distance. This is so that you are comfortable when you come out of the water and not totally exhausted.  Remember you have another 2 disciplines to follow so you need some energy when you finish the swim.

If swimming is your weakest discipline then this where you should focus to build your strength and confidence. If you are really struggling with swimming, think about investing in a swim coach.  A few lessons can make a big difference to your technique and your enjoyment!

Training for the Bike section 

One of the best things you can do to improve your cycling is to get on your bike!  It sounds basic but the reality is that doing more miles will improve your cycling.  Try to keep the gearing low.  This is the basic mistake that most novices make – they try to push too hard a gear which leads to the muscles developing lactic acid which in turn leads to heavy legs and less efficiency.

On your rides, spin in a medium gear keeping the cadence fast.  Try to keep most of your rides at a comfortable pace. Once a week you should do a hard session where you aim to go at your race pace over the distance you are doing in the race.

You don’t need to have all the latest, most expensive gear and you can do most of your training indoors if you are worried about riding on busy roads.

Training for the Run section 

Running is often considered to be the easiest of the 3 disciplines as anyone can run, right?

What people don’t do though is train properly for the run. They either do training runs at too slow a pace all the time or run too hard all the time!

If you can only do one run session per week then you should run at a comfortable pace where you should be able to hold a conversation. Towards the end of the run do some short sprints.

If you are able to do more than one run per week then one run should be a longer steady run and the other should be a shorter faster run.

However, to get more out of your training using a heart rate monitor can really help to ensure that you are running at your optimum efficiency and coached sessions will also help you progress faster.

Keen to find out more? Why not get in touch with Ralph for a training session here.