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Free 8-week sprint triathlon training plan
Free 8-week sprint triathlon training plan
Jun 22, 2024 11:45 PM

  A sprint triathlon is an intensive racing distance, but a manageable – and thoroughly enjoyable – challenge. But like with all endurance races, a certain level of training is required. Here's everything you need to know to complete a sprint-distance triathlon…

  What distance is a sprint triathlon?

  A sprint triathlon is a 750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run.

  Who is a sprint-distance triathlon suitable for, and what level of fitness/ability will you need?

  This race will take from under an hour to 2hrs and is also used on the elite circuit. You want to be comfortable racing quite hard in each of the single disciplines and can even use single-sport events as milestones to pace your triathlon.

  Make sure you get in some open-water swim practice – it really will be crucial to your overall performance to spend some time in your wetsuit.

  Focus on practising the finer details of open-water swimming such as sighting, swimming in groups and getting used to physical contact.

  Training can be done effectively through the week, so it’s ideal for busy people or those who don’t have much availability at the weekends to train.

  Training should start about three months out from a race.

  What kit will you need and how much will it cost?

  Like super sprints, sprints can be completed with the triathlon basics (goggles, any bike, helmet and trainers). Though the faster athletes will spend a lot on kit and bikes, you certainly don’t need to.

  Some of the races at this distance may be draft-legal (this means you can ride in a group), which would limit the type of bike permitted.

  Like with super sprints, a tri-suit isn’t a necessity but you can always pick up some great bargains.

  If you’re swimming in an open-water event, you must see if you need a wetsuit. Some great entry-level options are available from round £150.

  Nutrition for a sprint distance depends on the time you’re going to take. For those racing closer to the 2hr mark, you may take some energy with you on the bike or for T2. In contrast, those racing for about an hour may only need fluids on the bike.

  Top sprint-distance triathlon tips

  1. Focus on time-saving

  If you want to compete, practise the race skills that will save time, such as body position on the bike, overtaking and hill running. Use each person in front of you as an opportunity to gain places.

  2. Train to sprint

  Sprint racing is at the top end of the comfort scale so train your body to operate better at that level. You will adapt and get stronger with each tough session.

  3. Head outdoors

  Get in open water as much as you can. You also want to practise swimming in close contact with other swimmers, so it can’t faze you or disrupt your swim.

  4. Practise fuelling

  Practise your nutrition plan for a sprint triathlon. You’ll need to take on fuel and fluids and work out the best timing and quantities for you.

  5. Choose your sprint races wisely

  Sprint-distance racing is the shortest distance you can step up to an age-group qualification for the European or world championships.

  However, this may impact your race choice. A local sprint race may be a better first-timer event instead of a qualifying event, which may be more intimidating.

  Sprint-triathlon training plan

  This sprint-triathlon training plan is designed for those who already have some triathlon experience and are able to commit to six days' training per week.

  You should have a decent base level of fitness and an understanding of working at differing levels of intensity.

  Training plan notes

  One key element is that each week has a number of ‘double days’ where there are two training sessions – these don’t need to be done in succession and, in fact, it’s better to recover between training sessions and be ready to execute each session as strongly as possible.

  Consider how best to refuel between sessions on double days with the right hydration and nutrition.

  After week 1, when you’ll have completed a time trial in each discipline, you’ll use the results to set the intensity of many of the proceeding interval sessions, so it’s important to record the data and have a way of monitoring speed/pace.

  Always include a warm-up and cool-down. Warm-up = 4-5mins gradually building the intensity from moderate to vigorous and includes 2-3 bursts of hard efforts for 30secs each. Cool-down = 3-5mins easy cardio followed by stretches. For the TT pace, calculate the average pace from your time trials and use that in the relevant sessions.

  Swim TT pace = pace per 100m; bike TT pace = kmph; run TT pace = kmph.

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