8-Week Beginner Sprint Triathlon Training Plan

A triathlon, which consists of a swim, bike, and run performed back to back, can be thought of as the holy grail when it comes to endurance sports, so entering the world of triathlons can be as daunting as it is exciting.

However, what’s great about the sport is that, much like running races, there are beginner-friendly triathlons with shorter distances for each leg of the race.

For example, while a full Ironman triathlon involves 140.6 miles of self-propelled travel (a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, and 26.2-mile run), a sprint triathlon requires right around 16 miles of exercise.

Of course, if you’re new to the sport, a sprint triathlon is still a huge challenge and an accomplishment to be proud of, and one that you can absolutely train for with limited fitness.

An 8-week beginner sprint triathlon training plan can help build your endurance and competence in each of the swim, bike, and run disciplines and prepare you to finish your first sprint triathlon.

Ready to become a multi-sport athlete? Keep reading for our 8-week sprint triathlon training plan for beginners.

We will cover: 

  • What Is a Sprint Triathlon?
  • How to Follow the 8-Week Sprint Triathlon Training Plan for Beginners
  • Format of the Beginner Sprint Triathlon Training Plan
  • Then we’ll share our 8-Week Beginner Sprint Triathlon Training Plan

Let’s get started! 

A tablet with the words swim, bike and run on it, and apple, a dumbbell and a measuring tape.

What Is a Sprint Triathlon?

Like other triathlons, a sprint triathlon is a multi-sport event that involves a swim, followed by a bike ride, which is then immediately followed by a run.

Although casual, local sprint triathlons may adjust the distances of each leg of the race somewhat based on the availability of safe routes and courses.

The usual distances for a sprint triathlon include the following:

  • Swim: 750 m (0.5 miles)
  • Bike: 20 km (12.4 miles)
  • Run: 5 km (3.1 miles)
Bikers riding in a triathlon.

How to Follow the 8-Week Sprint Triathlon Training Plan for Beginners 

Our beginner sprint triathlon training plan is designed for novice triathletes who have an interest in the sport, some familiarity with each discipline, but not a lot of current training or fitness built up in any one area.

If you do have an aerobic base from cycling workouts, or you’re a runner who’s looking to migrate to the sport of triathlon, you’ll be all the more prepared.

If this is the case, you can feel free to modify our 8-week sprint triathlon training plan by either skipping a few weeks into the program after the intensity has increased, or you can pick and choose which of the written workouts you do and which ones you substitute with a more challenging workout that you are capable of.

For example, in the case of a runner who can already run 3-5 miles or more without stopping but hasn’t been doing any cycling or swimming, can swap out the run/walk workouts at the beginning of the sprint triathlon training plan for their usual distance runs. 

A triathlete coming out of the water.

Then, follow the training plan as written on swim or bike workout days.

Similarly, when you are training for your first sprint triathlon, it’s best to focus on your weakest areas.

Our sprint triathlon training plan for beginners includes five workouts per week and two rest days.

Because there are three disciplines (swim, bike, and run) and you are only working out five days a week, there is usually one discipline per week with only one dedicated workout, while the other two get two workouts.

If you have a background in one sport and are much stronger in that discipline, consider substituting the workout that appears on the Thursday/Friday slot for that discipline with another in the area of your weakness.

Swimmers leaving the ocean.

Format of the Beginner Sprint Triathlon Training Plan

This 8-week sprint triathlon training plan for beginners follows a similar format every week:

  • Monday is a run workout
  • Tuesday is a bike workout
  • Wednesday is a swim workout
  • Thursday and Sunday are always rest days

The workouts on Thursday and Friday vary from week to week. One week you might have a run on Thursday and a bike ride on Friday, and another week you might have a swim on Thursday and a run on Friday.

As you get into the second half of the sprint triathlon training plan, you will start trying a few brick workouts, which involve sequencing two of the disciplines back to back with no break in between.

Brick workouts are typically considered to be the bike/run combination and are said to be so named either to denote the hybrid of the bike and run or because your running legs can feel like bricks off the bike.

The latter descriptor couldn’t be more true, which is why brick workouts are critical for triathletes.

They help prepare your body for the physical demand you’ll experience in the race and allow you to rehearse your transitions for race day.

Download The Training Plan Here

Enter your email, and I’ll send you this free training plan now, in PDF and Google Sheets formats (completely customizable), in both miles and kilometers.  

Previous visitor or not seeing where to sign up?

Head over to our triathlon training plan database for full access to all plans.

download this free training plan in pdf or google sheet
Bikers riding in a triathlon.

8-Week Beginner Sprint Triathlon Training Plan

Ready to get training for that sprint triathlon? Here we go!

8 Week Beginner Sprint Triathlon Training Plan
Week 1 Focus: Establishing a triathlon workout routine
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
Run:
Warm up: Brisk walk for 5 min

Workout:
8 x 2 minute run/1 min walk

Cool down: 5 min walk
Bike:
20 minutes at an easy effort
Swim:
10 x 25m taking 30 seconds of rest after each length
RestRun:
Warm up: Brisk walk for 5 min

Workout:
8 x 3 minute run/1 min walk

Cool down: 5 min walk
Swim:
10 x 50m (1 full lap) with 45 seconds of rest
Rest
Week 2 Focus: Building your base
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
Run:

Warm up: Brisk walk for 5 min

Workout:
4 x 5 minute run/2 min walk

Cool down: 5 min walk
Bike 30 minutes at an easy effortSwim:
5 x 100m (2 full laps), taking 60 seconds of rest after each 
RestRun:
2 miles (3 km), taking walking breaks as needed
Swim:
Easy distance:
10 minutes without stopping
Rest
Week 3 Focus: Starting to add some speed
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
Run:
Warm-up: Brisk walk for 5 min

Workout:
1 mile (2 km) without stopping

Cool down: 5 min walk
Bike:
45 min at an easy effort
Swim:

10 x 50m in zone 4, with 60 seconds of rest
RestRun:
1.5 miles (2 km) without stopping
Bike: 40 minutes total:

5 minute warm-up then 10 x 2 minute intervals in zone 4 or about 85% of max heart rate, 1 minute of recovery, 5 minute cool down
Rest
Week 4 Focus: Recovering from the work you’ve been doing and try a Brick workout
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
Run:
2 miles (3k) at an easy effort
Bike:
50 minutes at an easy effort
Swim:
Easy distance:
15 minutes without stopping
RestRun:
Warm up: Jog for 5 min

Workout: 10 x 1 minute hard (zone 4) with 1-minute easy jog (zone 1)

Cool down: 5 min walk
Swim/Bike Brick Workout: Swim 10 minutes without stopping and then immediately bike for 45 minutes (zone 3)Rest
Week 5 Focus: Ramping up your training now that you’re getting fit
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
Run:
2 miles (3k) at an easy effort; 4 x 50m strides
Bike:
60 minutes at an easy effort
Swim:
2 x 300m in zone 3, with 90 seconds rest
RestSwim:
Easy distance: 20 minutes without stopping
Brick workout:
Bike 30 minutes and then immediately run for 10 minutes 
Rest
Week 6 Focus: Preparing for the race experience with a race simulation
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
Run:
2.5 miles (4 km) without stopping; 4 x 50m strides
Bike:
70 minutes at an easy effort
Swim:
2 x 400m in zone 3, with 90 seconds of rest
RestSwim:
600m easy effort (zone 2)
Race simulation: Swim 500m, Run 2 miles, Bike 10 milesRest
Week 7 Focus: Building confidence for the race and feeling fit
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
Run:
3 miles (5 km); 4 x 75m strides
Bike:
75 minutes at an easy effort
Swim:
2 x 400m in zone 3, with 90 seconds of rest
RestBrick workout: Bike 45 minutes (zone 2) and then immediately run for 15 minutes (zone 3)Bike:
40 minutes total:
5-minute warm-up, then 5 x 3-minute intervals in zone 4 or about 85% of max heart rate, 1 minute of recovery, 5 minute cool down
Rest
Week 8 Focus: Get ready to have an awesome sprint triathlon!
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
Run:
2 miles (3k) at an easy effort; 4 x 75m strides
Bike:
30 minutes at an easy effort
Swim:
10 minutes easy (zone 2 effort)
RestBike or run easy for 15 minutes RACE!Rest

Feel free to modify this beginner sprint triathlon training program as needed, listening to your body and focusing on your needs, and have a great race!

If you are already a runner, and would like to dabble in triathlon, we have a runner to triathlon transition guide just for you!

Download The Training Plan Here

Enter your email, and I’ll send you this free training plan now, in PDF and Google Sheets formats (completely customizable), in both miles and kilometers.  

Previous visitor or not seeing where to sign up?

Head over to our triathlon training plan database for full access to all plans.

download this free training plan in pdf or google sheet
A swimmer putting their goggle up on top of their head.
Photo of author
Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, and contributes to several fitness, health, and running websites and publications. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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