12 Weeks of Training for Your First Sprint-Distance Triathlon

Mischele Stevens

Contributor - Triathlon Workouts

Barrie, Canada

Triathlon, Endurance Sports


EDITOR'S NOTE: Mischele Stevens has been helping beginners fulfill their dream of completing a triathlon for the past decade. A former ironman athlete, Mischele has coached athletes to the World Championship level at both the 70.3 and full Ironman distance. In addition to her work with elite athletes, Mischele also coaches in a community-based program that helps hundreds of people of all levels complete triathlons each year. 


This programming has been designed for the beginner to train for a sprint distance triathlon, but anyone can use it.


There will be workouts that you will be asked you to record the time or distance. Do it! Recording your training sessions allows you to confirm that you are progressing. All workouts are expected to be done with a hard/fast effort unless stated otherwise. This means you will not enjoy it and will wish desperately for it to be over. This is how we get fitter and faster. Plus, if you are in a time crunch you can get a workout in without taking away from life.


You will plug the training week into your life and complete each workout according to your schedule. This allows you to swim when you can get to the pool or bike when you have more time, not because I said you have to do it on a certain day.


Please do not do the same sport two days in a row (example: swim on Monday and Tuesday). You can do more than one workout in a day, but need at least three hours between for recovery. There are six workouts in a week. Do not make up any you miss from previous weeks. You must take one whole day off in a week to rest and recover.


Workouts for Week 1

sprint triathlon training with mischele stevenssprint triathlon training with mischele stevens



Survived week one and ready for more?

It’s normal to question your training at times. Am I doing enough training? Do I need to do more? Am I working hard enough?


Yes, you are doing enough, and adding more will not get you the results you need. You can do too much and over train, which results in injury and sickness. But more on the subject of overtraining in another week.


Questions about working hard enough are mostly answered during training. Are you gasping for breath? Are you cursing me? Are you fighting to finish the set? If yes, than you are working hard enough! The great part about working at hard or all out efforts is that as you become fitter you are still pushing at a hard effort just at your new level of fitness.


Science shows that doing long slow efforts in workouts will not make you fitter.  That "LSD" effort of 70% will net you 70% fitness. Who wants that? That’s why I will have you repeat some workouts over and over. You will see the difference. But, if you like to read long, boring science studies:


Six sessions of sprint interval training increases muscle oxidative potential and cycle endurance capacity in humans.


Click on the number below that corresponds to the week of training you're in.


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