Sprint Triathlon Training Plan

If you’re new to triathlon, figuring out a sprint triathlon training plan may be a little daunting for you.

This is understandable, as you have three different sports to train for and somehow work out how to pace yourself during the race.

A sprint triathlon is a great entry point to multisport events. It’s achievable for anyone who commits to a sprint triathlon training plan.

In this guide, we’ll be covering:

  • Before You Start Training
  • Training Zones
  • Your 8-Week Sprint Triathlon Training Plan

Ready to start your journey to your first sprint triathlon?

Let’s get started!

Sprint Triathlon Training Plan: Title Image

Before You Start Training

Before starting your sprint triathlon training plan, you need to make sure you’re injury-free and in good health. As a bare minimum, you should have no problem swimming 100 meters. Also, cycling for 20 minutes and running continuously for 10 minutes should be manageable.

This sprint triathlon training plan spans 8 weeks, training five days a week. You will start with two swims a week, a run, and a couple of bike rides, but expect to progress to more weekly workouts as you get closer to the event.

If possible, try to train on similar terrain to your race. This will help you to pace yourself naturally, with no nasty surprises.

A triathlete runs through the transition zone on blue asphalt.

Training Zones

A sprint triathlon training program is put together using training zones according to perceived effort (how you feel while training).

You can monitor your training zones with a heart rate monitor. Still, you can get a good idea of your training zones simply by paying attention to your body.

  • Zone 1: This is a very low-intensity zone. Your breathing will be gentle and rhythmic while you go for a very easy jog, swim, or bike ride.
  • Zone 2: In Zone 2, your breathing will be slightly more difficult and a little faster. However, you will still feel comfortable while running or cycling and easily be able to hold a conversation.
  • Zone 3: You’ll notice that your breathing is a little harder, and you will be moving at a moderate pace. You’ll feel good, but it will be harder to talk to someone.
  • Zone 4: This is when things start to get hard, including your breathing. You’ll be going at a pace that is difficult to maintain as you’re approaching an “all-out” speed.
  • Zone 5: You’ll be breathing deep and hard, while your pace is only sustainable for a few minutes.
Triathletes in teal hats swim around a yellow buoy.

Your 8-Week Sprint Triathlon Training Plan

Week 1: Build Your Consistency

You need to start slow during the first week of your sprint triathlon training plan.

However, it’s vital that you commit to completing all the workouts in the schedule to kickstart your training. You should start each session slowly to warm up to reduce the chance of injury.

Monday – Rest Day

Tuesday – Swim 16 laps of 25 meters with 30 seconds of rest between laps. Stay in Zone 1 throughout.

Wednesday – 5 sets of 2 minutes walking and 3 minutes running in Zone 1. Do these sets on flat terrain if possible.

Thursday: 30-minute bike ride on flat terrain. Stay in Zone 1 at 80–90 RPM.

Friday – Rest Day

Saturday – Swim 10 laps of 50 meters with 45 seconds of rest between laps. Stay in Zone 1.

Sunday – Walk for 1.5 minutes, then run for 3 minutes in Zone 1 on flat terrain. Repeat six times.

Week 2: Continue To Build Consistency

You will have already improved your fitness by week 2 of your sprint triathlon training plan. Now it’s time to keep the consistency going while stepping up your game slightly.

Remember to finish your workouts, eat well, and take those all-important rest days.

Monday – Rest Day

Tuesday – Swim 24 laps of 25 meters with 30 seconds of rest between laps. Swim at an even pace in Zone 2.

Wednesday – A bike ride on flat terrain for 30 minutes. Ride in Zone 1 for the first 15 minutes, and ramp it up to Zone 2 for the second half at 80–90 RPM.

Thursday- Run 2 sets of 10 minutes in Zone 1 with a 2-minute walk between each set.

Friday- Rest Day

Saturday: Swim 12 laps of 50 meters with 35 seconds of rest between each lap. Keep your pace even in Zone 1.

Sunday: A 45-minute bike ride on varying terrain. 15 minutes in Zone 1 and 30 minutes in Zone 2 at 80–90 RPM.

Week 3: Further Consistency Building

At this point in your sprint triathlon training plan, you need to focus on progression, both physically and mentally. When you ride your bike, pay attention to how much pressure you exert on the pedals.

In addition to this, think about your cadence and rhythm while running and swimming. Your goal is to focus on the energy pushing you forward and a positive mindset.

Monday – Rest Day

Tuesday – Swim 8 laps of 75 meters with 40 seconds of rest between laps. Maintain an even pace in Zone 2.

Wednesday – A 20 minute run on varying terrain. 10 minutes in Zone 1 and 10 minutes in Zone 2.

Thursday – A 55-minute bike ride on flat terrain. Ride for 20 minutes in Zone 1 and 35 minutes in Zone 2 at 85–95 RPM.

Friday – Rest Day

Saturday – Swim 4 laps of 100 meters, with a 45-second rest between laps. Stay in Zone 2. Then swim 6 laps of 50 meters in Zone 3, with 30 seconds of rest between laps.

Sunday – A 30-minute run on flat terrain in Zone 1.

Week 4: Increase Your Endurance

Week 4 of your sprint triathlon training plan is your midpoint.

Monday – Rest Day

Tuesday – Swim 12 laps of 75 meters with 20 seconds of rest between each lap. Swim 6 laps in Zone 2, and 6 laps in Zone 3.

Wednesday – A 40-minute run on varying terrain. Run for 15 minutes in Zone 1 and 25 minutes in Zone 2.

Thursday – A 70-minute bike ride on an undulating route with some hills. Ride for 20 minutes in Zone 1 and 50 minutes in Zone 2 at 85–95 RPM.

Friday – Rest Day.

Saturday – Swim 10 laps of 100 meters, with 25 seconds of rest between each lap. Stay in Zone 2 throughout the session.

Sunday – A 45-minute bike ride on flat terrain in Zone 1 at 90–100 RPM. Do a practice transition into your running shoes, and try to keep it under 3 minutes. Then, run for 20 minutes on flat terrain in Zone 2.

Two triathletes run towards the transition zone.

Week 5: Continue To Increase Endurance

By week 5 of your sprint triathlon training plan, you’ll be developing skills to cope with race day.

That transition run you did after a bike ride on Sunday is known as a brick workout. The idea behind this workout was to improve your physical and mental race skills.

These moments will teach you to be more organized and focus on running straight after a bike ride. Make the most of it by making your own transition area at home.

Monday – Rest Day

Tuesday – Swim 2 laps of 200 meters, with 30 seconds of rest between each lap. Then swim 4 laps of 100 meters, with 20 seconds of rest. Stay in Zone 2 throughout the session.

Wednesday – A 40-minute run on undulating terrain. Run for 15 minutes in Zone 1 and 25 minutes in Zone 2.

Thursday – An 80-minute bike ride on hilly terrain. Ride for 20 minutes in Zone 1; 25 minutes in Zone 2; 15 minutes in zone 3; and then 20 minutes in Zone 2 at 90–95 RPM.

Friday – Rest Day

Saturday – A 500-meter swim followed by a 2-minute rest. Then swim 5 laps of 100 meters, with a 20-second rest between laps. Stay in Zone 2 for the whole session.

Sunday – A 60-minute bike ride on flat terrain. Do the whole ride in Zone 1 at 90–100 RPM. Then quickly put your running shoes on for a 20-minute run on flat terrain in Zone 2.

Week 6: Improve Your Race Fitness

As you embark on the final two weeks of your sprint triathlon training plan, you’ll really start to notice the benefits of the previous weeks.

You will benefit from setting yourself small goals that you want to accomplish in the next couple of weeks. This will maximize your training sessions and push you further.

Monday – Rest Day.

Tuesday – A non-stop 1000-meter swim in Zone 2.

Wednesday – Run for 35 minutes on rolling terrain. 15 minutes in Zone 1; 10 minutes in Zone 3; 5 minutes in Zone 4; and the final 5 minutes in Zone 2.

Thursday – A 60-minute bike ride on rolling terrain with your first 15 minutes in Zone 1. Then, start a set riding 5 minutes in Zone 3; 2.5 minutes in Zone 2; 5 minutes in Zone 4; and 2.5 minutes in Zone 2 at 90–95 RPM. Repeat the set once more to finish.

Friday – Rest Day.

Saturday – Swim 10 laps of 100 meters, with 20 seconds of rest in between. Alternate the intensity by swimming laps 3, 6, and 9 in Zone 4, and the rest in zone 1.

Sunday – A 40-minute bike ride on flat terrain. Ride the first 15 minutes in Zone 1; the next 15 minutes in Zone 3; then 10 minutes in zone 4 at 90–100 RPM.

Transition into your running shoes in less than 2 minutes before running for 20 minutes on flat terrain. Run 10 minutes in Zone 4; 5 minutes in Zone 2; then 5 minutes in Zone 1.

Week 7: Continue To Improve Race Fitness

You will have accomplished a lot by week 7 of your sprint triathlon training plan. This is an excellent time to reflect on where you have come from in your fitness journey. Your confidence should be at a level where you feel almost ready to race.

Monday – Rest Day.

Tuesday – A 500-meter swim, starting in Zone 1 but building to Zone 2. Then swim 10 laps of 50 meters, alternating between Zone 4 and Zone 1 every 25 meters. Give yourself 20 seconds of rest after each lap.

Wednesday – A 35-minute run on rolling terrain. Your first 15 minutes in Zone 1; then Zone 3 for 13 minutes; then 2 minutes in Zone 5; followed by 5 minutes in Zone 2.

Thursday – A 60-minute bike ride on hilly terrain. 15 minutes in Zone 1; 5 minutes in Zone 3; 2.5 minutes in Zone 4; then 2.5 minutes in Zone 2.

Then, start a new set of 1 minute in Zone 5, and 2 minutes in Zone 1. Repeat four more times.

Friday- Rest Day.

Saturday – Swim 5 laps of 200 meters, with 30 seconds of rest between each lap. Build up from swimming in Zone 1 on your first lap, then laps 2 and 3 in Zone 2, lap 4 in Zone 3, and finishing lap 5 in Zone 4.

Sunday – A 30-minute bike ride on flat terrain. Ride the first 15 minutes in Zone 1, the next 10 minutes in Zone 3, and the final 5 minutes in Zone 4 at 90–100 RPM. 

Then do a quick transition for a 15-minute run on flat terrain. Run in Zone 4 for the first 5 minutes, then 5 minutes in Zone 2, then 5 minutes in Zone 1.

Week 8: Race Week

Feeling excited and nervous at this point is perfectly natural – and can actually be a good thing!

These feelings mean you care about the race, and it’s important to you. You can use this extra energy on race day to boost your performance.

You may be tempted to test yourself before the race, but resist the urge and stick with your sprint triathlon training plan. You need to save yourself for the big day.

Instead, organize everything you need, review the course, make sure you know the rules, and practice your transitions.

Monday – Rest Day

Tuesday – A 200-meter swim in Zone 1. Then 8 laps of 50 meters with 20 seconds of rest between each lap. On each lap, swim the first 25 meters in Zone 4 and the second 25 meters in Zone 1.

Wednesday – A 20-minute run on flat terrain. 12 minutes in Zone 1; 3 minutes in Zone 3; and 5 minutes in Zone 1.

Thursday – A 30-minute bike ride on varied terrain. Ride for 15 minutes in Zone 1. Then, do two sets of 2.5 minutes in Zone 3, and 2.5 minutes in Zone 2. End with 5 minutes in Zone 1 at 90–95 RPM.

Friday- Rest Day

Saturday- A gentle 15-minute bike ride in Zone 1 at 90–95 RPM.

Sunday- Race Day!

A cyclist in a red jersey crosses a finish line.

Now Start Your Sprint Triathlon Training Plan

A sprint triathlon is a great entry point to multisport events.

You will have an incredible sense of achievement throughout your sprint triathlon training plan, but the grand finale is on race day. 

Taking part in your first sprint triathlon can kickstart a whole new lifestyle and way of life!

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One of BikeTips' regular content creators, Tom lives in the French Alps. When he isn't writing, he can be found charging downhill on a mountain bike or snowboard. Tom's other passion is fitness, which goes a long way to help him make the most of the Alpine lifestyle.

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