Sprint Triathlon Training: A beginner’s guide

You’ve just decided on — or are thinking of — getting into your first sprint triathlon race. Well, congratulations! Τhe magical world of triathlon is waiting for you. To that end, in this article, we’ve decided to write everything you need to know to get the most out of the sprint triathlon training process; and the race itself.

What is a sprint triathlon?

A sprint triathlon is the 2nd shortest triathlon — with the super-sprint distance triathlon being the shortest. To illustrate, when you line up on the starting line, get ready to:

  • swim 1/2 mile (750 meters)
  • bike for 12.4 miles (20K); and
  • run for 3.1 miles (5K)

Generally speaking, this is a very popular category; and, for many reasons. One of them is that it offers a great opportunity to jump right into the world of triathlon. Another — and, probably the most important reason — is that you won’t have to dramatically change your daily schedule; nor will you have to sacrifice your personal life to take part in it. That goes to say, a sprint triathlon training routine won’t take too much of your free time; granted that it’s well-structured.

Sprint triathlon training: Novice vs Expert

To clarify, just because the sprint triathlon distance isn’t that long — as compared to other triathlon races — it doesn’t mean that it’s not challenging. Surely, the sprint triathlon may be considered an introductory race for longer triathlons; but still, keep in mind that there are athletes who commit to a training program, specifically designed for this category. 

In all truthfulness, the sprint triathlon training process is very demanding, in terms of:

  • maximum oxygen uptake
  • maximum aerobic power
  • muscle endurance, etc. 

On the other hand, if you are a newbie and want to get the hang of triathlon races, guess what; this race is the perfect start! You can train for the race, and still ‘have a life’. That is, unlike other triathlon races, where you might forget you have one, during the training period. 

Typical sprint triathlon training for beginners 

As in all triathlon categories, here too, consistency is the key to success. On top of that, you have to train in three — or four, if you include strength training — different sports. Considering the above, the sprint triathlon training process is not a trifling matter. You need to commit and deliver.

On average, a first-timer needs to train for 3-4 months, in order to safely prepare for the sprint triathlon. Long runs and long rides are great; but, really, you don’t have to spend 3 hours running, or 6 hours on the saddle. All things considered, 90-150min of cycling, and 60-90min of running will suffice to prepare you for the distance. (See? Lots of free time to rest, and enjoy your life.)

In addition, take note to implement structured training in your schedule, such as:

Also, don’t forget to swim in the sea — or ocean — too, not just inside a pool; as the conditions in the sea environment are different — waves, temperature, upthrust, orientation, etc. 

Basic equipment

At this point, the requirements of the sprint triathlon don’t differ much from the requirements of the other categories; at least, not in terms of basic equipment. So, as in all triathlon races, you’ll need: 

  • quality swimming equipment (wetsuit, goggles, etc.)
  • a bike, along with the necessary gear (cycling shoes, helmet, etc.); and, of course
  • a comfortable pair of running shoes

As to the available budget for the listed items above, well, it depends on each athlete’s financial capacity. However, if we are to make a recommendation here, that would certainly be to keep your equipment budget limited; especially for the first few years of your participation in the triathlon. Besides, you can always make upgrades, as you go along.

Download the infographic

Time to shine!

As we mentioned, a sprint distance triathlon is an excellent opportunity to get initiated into the magic of triathlon races! Simply plan your daily sprint triathlon training with your coach, start preparing for it, and, when the race day comes, just enjoy it! After that, you’ll be a triathlete 🙌 (thrills and chills)!

Sprint Triathlon Training: A beginner’s guide was last modified: October 21st, 2021 by Aris Myrkos