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Advice for a runner wanting to do triathlon

Hi All,

First post here, newbie triathlete (i've done 1 sprint, and 1 duathlon).

I'm primarily a running (circa 17 min 5k, 36 10k), but want to do more triathlon. My issue is is that I only know how to structure running training, and don't know where cycling/swimming fits in (more in terms of effort levels than anything else).

Currently I run 4 times a week:

  • Tues - longer intervals (5x1 mile) or hill reps for example).
  • Thurs - slightly shorter intervals (8x800m for example).
  • Friday - Easy 5 mile recovery
  • Sun - Long run (10m - 14m (I have some half marathon races in the winter).

Cycling outdoor whilst it's still warmish

  • Monday 25 mile - easy
  • Wed 25 mile - easy
  • Sat 35 mile - easy


  • Tues - group session including drills
  • Thurs - solo technique work (easy)

Here is my issue: due to the fact I do 2 hard runs and a long run, I am not doing any quality (intervals) on the bike, as I feel that this is part of my recovery. Am I wrong in this? I could potentially do some fast bursts on the bike, intervals etc. but does this fit in with the rest of the training? Should I be doing an additional hard swim? Generally I follow the principle that training should be at an easy pace, EXCEPT when doing the quality stuff (tempo, intervals, hills etc.).

Any tips? Thanks in advance.

PS - I have 2 half marathons lined up (first in 2 weeks) and will be doing the XC club races throughout the winter.


  • HarryDHarryD Posts: 425
    Hi, Lots to consider from what you have posted. With the volume of training you are doing it is clear there is dedication and a will to improve. Some thoughts are:

    1. Get a triathlon qualified coach if you can. Where do you live?

    2. If you don't want a coach then get Joe Friel's Triathlon Training Bible, Read it, read it again and start designing your own programme

    3. As a runner you can expect your running to loose something when you become a triathlete although this is not a given. The other training may improve your run performances even if run training is reduced

    4. You could loose your Thursday run and replace it with an extra swim

    5. Make one of your bike rides an interval session. It can mimic your Monday run session but work on duration rather than distance. So if you take 5min for a 1mile run rep then your bike rep is 5min at the same level of perceived effort (note not heart rate)

    6. A third swim session should be longer swims at an easier pace to allow you to practice good technique in an unhurried manner

    7. Your long run can probably be reduced unless you are targeting Ironman or half Ironman distanced. 10miles is more than enough for standard distance races

    8. There is so much more but hopefully these thoughts will get you started while you sort out a programme from the bible or find a coach but don't take too long

    Best of luck

  • CB123CB123 Posts: 2

    Thanks Harry for the reply, lots to consider.

    I've ordered the book, that will be a good starting point. 

  • Very simplistically I´d suggest you cut down to 2 runs per week - one long and EASY, the other can be speed or hills as you have the run background.

    From a triathlon perspective, running is the one part you can afford to cut back as it is more stressful than swim and bike (so does more "damage" and takes longer to recover from) as it is your strength anyway (or at leaast you have more background in run).

    For swim I´d suggest you up to 3 sessions per week if you can (even an extra 30min is good).

    Bike can be as you do but I´d replace one with a specific strength session, on a turbo is perfect (or spin bike/Wattbike)

    You should find that does not impact your run ability/pace at all and it is likely to improve.

    We coach by time, and the longest run we prescribe is 90min (even for someone training for IM) and with 2 runs per week have athletes running under 3hrs in IM - and in Kona.

    Aerobic fitness should be you primary objective, even if you only ever do a sprint triathlon, then strength.

    See: https://mastersoftri.com/triathlon-effort-pyramid/ and make sure you train aerobically! See:https://mastersoftri.com/one-speed-syndrome/

    Hope that helps

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