Beginner Training Help

Long-time lurker and beginner to triathlon, looking to improve as much as possible in the time I can dedicate to triathlon to do sprint and possibly Olympic distance races at first.

I currently get on the bike and run about 3-5 times a week in total for 60 min sessions (3-5 hours a week). At the moment I am just doing easy biking and easy running to ease myself into the sport, I also do some strength work in my home gym which is something I want to do alongside triathlon training.

Running – 1-2x a week

I run twice a week, at an easy pace. I had a month of running during lockdown where I got to a 24:55 5K, 02:13:08 HM, however I got injured at the end of that month (IT Band Syndrome) and would ideally keep the running easy-ish for now and lean more into the biking for intensity due to injury worries. I don’t have any hills nearby for hill sprints.

Cycling – 2-3x a week

I bike 2-3 times a week, currently at an easy pace, on my dumb trainer. I feel like my first budget purchase for this should be a heart rate chest strap so I can measure my workouts somewhat? Means I can quantify my “easy” and “hard” training. As well as my dumb trainer I have a 10km cycle path near me that I’d be comfortable riding along and back for 20km, I was thinking I could occasionally race this and time it to measure progress?

Swimming – 1x a week in future

I don’t swim yet due to COVID closing the pools and vulnerable family members meaning I need to be more careful. As soon as I can I would sacrifice a strength workout for a 60 min swim session once a week. Mainly in the pool but also can do open water once I get some confidence in the pool.

Training Plan -

The main thing I want from a training plan is not getting injured. I think a polarized training plan (with lots of easy sessions and an interval session/20km “race” on the bike once a week) sounds like something that would suit me? I have no idea how to structure an interval session on the bike with only a heart rate monitor to measure progress however? Would I be better off just doing very short intervals by feel (i.e. 30 secs all out, then rest for 90 secs and repeat). And are intervals any better than just doing a 20km as fast as I can for an intense session?

Mon Run 60 mins easy pace

Tues Cycle 60 mins easy pace and Lower body strength workout

Wed Swim 60 mins focus on technique

Thu Cycle (warm up, intervals, cooldown – or – 20km “race”)

Fri Run/Cycle 60 mins easy pace

I am a beginner to triathlon as I mentioned, so want to make sure that my plan looks like it makes sense firstly and would lead to any improvements without risk of injury secondly. Happy to hear any suggestions or comments on what I have outlined, and thanks for any guidance!


There’s lots of beginner plans out there but you seem to have got the basics right.

If you can swim, bike and run each discipline twice a week you’ll make plenty of gains over the first year and get some experience racing. Don’t overthink training yet, you’re at the point where it’s all beneficial. When you are doing that and have plateaued then you may need to mix it up. If you want to do some harder efforts, then go for it but again, don’t overthink it.

Better to swim 2x30 min than 1x1h (I’m bad at doing this as the extra faff means swims take up a lot of time)

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depending on where you live, joining a tri club could also be beneficial.

for swimming advice you need input from @Hammerer


That seems like a great start!

Can you swim at all?
It’s probably better to join a Tri club (if you can?) for that.
However, you can also self-teach and get good enough :+1:t3:

Like @jgav says, just have a Google for 12-16 week beginner triathlon plans.
There’s nothing massively hard about it, just consistency.

Nice to have you on board :+1:t3:

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yep. just don’t tell him about the initiation ceremony… :wink:


That’s only to get to Blackpool

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And don’t feel the pressure/need to jump straight into an Ironman. It’s not the be all and end all of the sport.

Good luck and remember. The number one thing that overrides any training plan /advice is to make sure you’re enjoying yourself.


you also forgot to tell the OP they they shouldn’t join IMJ on FB :crazy_face:


And not to use TLAs in posts


Thanks all for the welcomes and replies so far!

Sounds like easy-moderate rides and runs will get me somewhere for now from what I’ve read, but will definitely look for some beginner training plans online to get an idea of how to train more effectively.

I can swim, but havent done more than a length since high school (so maybe 15 years?) so will be learning from the ground up really.

Another point is that I have about 3.5 months until I become a dad, so I really want to build a good base of fitness and habit of training before that day as I’m sure I will be in “maintenance mode” once April comes for a while and the chance of me building fitness/building new habits in that time are close to zero so I want to have everything dialled in by then!

Ironman might be a very long term goal but I’m not even thinking about it until I’ve done a good amount of sprint, Olympic and halfs.


They really should…?!

With 40,000 members, I’ve had some great answers, bought kit, found out start times, entered races and currently train with two guys I met on there.

If you avoid the trolls, the idiots telling the OP he needs a coach and TP account before he buys a bike and a wetsuit and the gloom and doom over the Ironman brand … it’s a very good site.

Plus there’s some proper helmuts on there, some of them are really funny.


I would take the vast majority of advice on there with the proverbial. Even the well meaning one’s are just Freddie Kruger know it all. We used to have a saying on TT1.0 many years back, Finish an Ironman in sub 17hrs then become a coach :rofl:

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Two really good coaches on there, both based in Europe.

Given me some truly brilliant tips which yielded good results, sometimes it’s the little things I guess.

I know enough to sort the wheat from the chaff.

I’ve never actually asked a question, well not for a long time, I prefer this place by we only have 50? Active members.


Which coaches? I’m yet to see anything particularly useful, just tired regurgitated nonsense or sales pitches from Ironman University “graduates”.
Any real coach knows, work on efficiency and consistency over years. Do that you will improve. The rest of coaching is psychology.


Matt hill ?
In Sweden now.?!

Great reviews common sense personified and good results base.

Nick Dunn? Runs tri holidays in Spain ? Never been, but good feedback and been a top age grouper, like his style.

Been approached by a few, some just want PM, TP account and give you a basically generic plan, search continues …

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Know nick dunn. Never really seen him post but he’s decent guy. Im cautious of any coach that hasn’t done a L3 as whilst the qualification isn’t everything it shows that they have a level of commitment and will have done the hard yards volunteering at clubs and gained a lot of experience that your IMU online coach hasn’t.

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You’re up by Bolton, I know a guy Jahn Hanson near you who I did the high performance coach program with. Really nice guy, would be cheap and soft skills are awesome. His first presentation on day one about his coaching journey and philosophy his first words were, “be kind”. Sums the guy up and this was before it became popular to say. He has his own S&C setting at home also. He has a group called Evolving Tri. Look him up, tell him I sent you over


I will.


Ive “ sat down” with four in the last four years.

One was too busy, and was by far the best… that’s probably why he was to busy…the other three… were exactly the same.

I’d have to at least like someone to give them £100 a month about a subject I’ve done well… ish in to date.

Two I didn’t.

I really couldn’t give AF about qualifications.

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Jahn is nowhere near that price. I told him to up his prices :rofl: Certainly get proper individualised plan, no cookie cutter like a lot of coaches do.

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No wonder I can’t find him …!

Looking for John!
Thought it was a typo!

Thanks for your help.