I often hear: “training for one sport is complicated enough, but THREE sports? Impossible! Unless you have five extra hours in the day, or you give up sleeping that is...”

Think again! With a touch of organisation, a pinch of adaptability and the determination never to give up, you'll see that anything is possible.


1/ Organisation is your priority

The real challenge of doing the triathlon is that you need to train for not just one, but three different sports. And having tried all of them myself, I call tell you that the obstacles in triathlon training may stack up pretty quickly:

- it's not always easy to find somewhere to train (swimming pool and athletics track opening hours),

- it's an outdoor sport, and therefore depends on the weather (rain, wind, snow and other climatic joys),

- it's time-consuming (a bike ride can last over three hours).

Add to this professional commitments (work hours), personal commitments (picking up the children from school) or social commitments (your great-aunt's birthday party next Sunday) and the feeling of being overwhelmed and "I'm never going to do it" can soon take over.

OK, STOP! Take five minutes out, a few deep breaths, and let's break it down. It's really not that difficult to get into the triathlon. You just have to do things in the right order.

The first thing you need when you want to start doing triathlons is to have a clear and realistic goal. We'll talk about that in more detail later, but it's important to base your end goal on the amount of time you'll have to train for it. Once this goal is set, you need to think about the crux of the matter: training! I've got lots of things to share with you on this point: the importance of good planning , with the help of “tips and tricks” to optimise your training time. Are you ready? Then your triathlon awaits!

2/ A clear and realistic goal

Before you set your goal, you have to define how much time you will set aside to achieve it. Here's my personal example: I would like to do an Ironman this August (3,800 m swimming/180 km cycling/42 km running). If I only had an hour on Monday evenings to train, my goal would clearly be unrealistic. With such short notice, I need to train intensively. On a normal week, I do seven or eight sessions minimum, and I spend 15 hours training.

I know it sounds like a lot, but my training time is simply consistent with the goal I set myself. Don't panic: when you start out, or you're thinking about doing shorter distances, you won't need to spend as much time training.

What is especially important to remember is that training for the triathlon shouldn't force you to compromise on the other things going on in your life. After all, it's a question of priorities: the Ironman has been a dream of mine for years, so it stands to reason that I would want to spend so much of my time preparing for it.

So, it's up to you to decide how much of your daily life you want to dedicate to training for the triathlon compared to your other commitments.

3/ Plan a time for training according to your goal

Once you've decided this, you can start thinking about which distance you would like to try. Here, I'm going to give you an idea of how much time you'll need to set aside for training according to the distance you want to do:

-        If you're aiming for a Half Ironman (1,900 m/90 km/21 km) or Full Ironman (3,800 m /180 km/42 km), you'll have to do some significant training. In my experience, you'll have to free up between nine and fifteen hours a week minimum, and aim for between five and ten sessions.

-        To train for a super sprint (400 m/10 km/2.5 km), a sprint (750 m/20 km/5 km) or an olympic (1,500 m/40 km/10 km), you can scale down your training time: you'll still have to train for a total of three to nine hours a week, split into two to six sessions according to your availabilities.

Whichever distance you choose, there's one golden rule to remember: you must train regularly. Don't take on the challenge of a triathlon with no training behind you! I'd say that regular training for eight to twelve weeks before your first triathlon (super sprint, sprint or olympic) is essential to get the most out of your race and not feel overwhelmed by the combination of the three disciplines. If you want to take on the longer distances, your training needs to be longer too (between 16 and 20 weeks).

In short: you have to look at the time you want (or can) dedicate to triathlon training, define a realistic goal accordingly, and then embark on a regular training programme!


If you want to know more about the preparation and the importance of the training planification, click below: