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3 Rules Of Triathlon Training

As someone who’s spent the best part of 30 years thinking and responding to the question, “What is the best way to train for a triathlon?”, it was almost comical to see it pop up as an innocent one sentence question on Quora. Of course, the answer varies vastly depending on all sorts of factors, not least of all on your particular athletic background. But I pride myself in taking complexity out of the sport, often made too confounding, and came up with three simple rules that could apply universally and might help guide a debutante who didn’t want to launch straight into hiring a coach.

Rule #1

Learn to swim with good technique if you’re not already a proficient swimmer. Focusing on proper technique will not only help you improve faster than mindless laps of the pool but massively increase your enjoyment of the sport.

Rule #2

For the duration of your training, start small (like two workouts of each sport a week if you have no endurance sports background) and PROGRESSIVELY increase the length and frequency. Many coaches are scared to say it, but triathlon is an endurance sport, and generally the more hours you can get in a week without injuring yourself, the better triathlete you’ll be. But doing too much, too soon will lead to injury or burnout.

Rule #3

When it comes to how hard you train, I have followed the 80/20 rule that’s popular at the moment but in reality has been backed up by studies for decades. Eighty percent of your time spent training should be aerobic, simply put an effort that feels easy and where you are able to control your breathing enough that you can have a conversation while performing the exercise.

Boiling the three rules together, the best way is to train for triathlon, in my opinion, is by learning efficient technique, building up the volume gradually at mostly low intensity.

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