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Newbie with very limited time to train

Hi everyone

I am a complete newbie to triathlon and I've set myself the challenge of completing 4 sprint distance triathlons this year. A little about me - I am a former 'club' level squash player, but haven't played or done anything fitness wise in approx 18 months. I'm not able to commit to play competitive squash anymore, so thought that triathlon would give me the competitiveness I require from a sport, whilst not having to commit to teams / someone else to play against etc.

I am 34 years old, married and have a 9 month old daughter - so time to train is limited (no more than 3x week). Most of the training plans I've seen, seem to be based around 5 or 6 days training per week - mixing up the disciplines. Is it too simplistic to devote each session I can do to a different discipline or should I focus on my weaker area (running)?

I'm a bit confused as to where to start!  



  • gavinpgavinp Posts: 168

    Hi Steve

    If three times a week is all you have to work with then so be it.  But, there are other ways to train:  If you are only a few miles from work or you commute by train, you could easily turn that journey to the train station or the couple of miles commute into a training session - whether it be a run or bike (or swim the way the weather has been lately!). Even if you are 10 miles or so away that's a nice bit of bike training right there (though you'll probably only want to do that 1-2 times a week to start then build up from there).  You could even do some strength and conditioning at home: lunges while getting the little one to sleep for instance.  It's basically about working your training into your everyday life.

    If you have no choice about training and you 'literally' have no more than 3 training sessions a week, I would suggest spending the next 4 weeks doing each discipline once a week - being very specific with what you do and then decide after that whether to carry on that way or split the sessions to work more on your areas of weakness.  ultimately though, it's more ideal to train in all three elements weekly.

    As you are doing sprints you dont need to be doing lots of long bike rides (3hrs +) for instance, and for the run - building up to 5k will be all you'll need to do for your first race: once you have one under your belt then start thinking about maintaining your fitness and adding more speed.  Dont forget the swim.  Make sure you work hard on that one swim a week to get your fitness up and again -be specific.  Lots of sprint efforts in the pool.

    Good luck!

  • Hi Gavin

    Thanks for the reponse! I only live 4 miles from work, so am looking into my organisations cycle to work scheme. That way I can add a few more 'training' sessions into the mix a week. The good thing is as I live in the Ribble Valley, there are plenty of hills, so even though the journey to work is short, the intensity is quite high!


  • Quality, not Quantity!

  • Good way to mix the sessions up when time is limited is brick sessions. If you get yourself a small backpack you could run to the swimming baths then swim and run back. Plus always good to get used to running off the bike only need to be a mile run and will help you get used to it.
  • Tri FlyTri Fly Posts: 10

    Hi Steve

    I find that I'm able to fit much in on my commute to and from work. I'm about 3 miles by the most direct route available for me. But at the year progresses I will make the distance I go progressively longer. So more rode miles on the bike and off road running through the local woods.

    Also so with different routes one gets a nice variety of workouts in. Also perhaps if your able to is get up earlier and do stretching before breakfast.

    Then to the local swimming pool a couple of times a week on the way home rounds out a nice training program.



  • Thanks everyone for the responses. I've just purchased a bike through my organisations Cycle to Work scheme, so will be able to use my commute as part of my training a couple of days a week. I've also joined my local tri club - 1st session tonight (gulp) so I'll be using 2 of my 3 'allowed by the wife' training sessions with them. Its all starting to come together, so cheers everyone for the advice 

  • I have limited time to train, I found if you set your regular commute to time you can also plan to beat your last. I also chase cars, cyclists etc, its not about going out and slugging it, but changing the way you train. I get up early and put a few hours in before I am distracted, it is also a better time to train, oxygen levels are higher than evenings and your heart has recovered enough so you can raise the levels. All other sessions are pre-planned; pool sessions are set to certain times and cannot be avoided (unless you have a private pool.) So use them at your allowed training time. In a few weeks it will fit in to your family/ business life


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