Couch to Sprint Triathlon Training Programs

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A sprint distance triathlon is defined by these distances:

  • 0.5mile Swim | 13mile Bike | 3.2mile Run
  • 800meter Swim | 21km Bike | 5k Run

Three programs will get you from couch to sprint triathlons.  They are the Conservative and Aggressive based running programs plus the cycling part of Phase IV or VII respectively.  Follow it by your choice of the 16 or 20 week sprint triathlon training programs.  Michael Pate also offers his proven program for the heavier athletes.

*No program here or anywhere else is perfect.  Different programs work for different people.  These programs are based on our opinions, research, our personal experiences and others experience.  Please do your homework and look at other programs too (not just ours). 

Try these combos:

Run Program

MonthsSprint programMonthsTotal Months to Race
Aggressive Run Program416 Week 48
20 Week59
Conservative Run Program716 Week411
20 Week512
  Michaels Total Sprint66 

Overweight? See also: 

*If you are overweight or having knee troubles, it would be best to start out with our Beginner Exercise Program.  Please consult your physician first to get medical clearance on any program.

Aggressive Run Program

  • 4 month program
  • A walk/run routine
  • 3-4 days per week
  • Use this if have not worked out for a long time or forever.  You can also use this program if you feel you have a little weight to lose.
  • You may follow with any of the sprint programs

Conservative Run Program

  • 7-Month program
  • A walk/run routine
  • 3-4 days per week
  • Use this if you are overweight as it will be easier on your joints. 
  • If you find that your knees hurt on this, it may be wise to lose some weight with a proper diet and start out with a swimming/cycling regimen such as the Beginner Exercise Program for several months until you have lost some weight and have established an aerobic base. You may follow with any of the sprint programs

Michaels Total Sprint Program

  • Designed by Michael Pate author of "When Big Boys Tri"
  • Designed for those having some weight to lose.

NOTE - It may be beneficial for you to taper after your sprint program, take a week or two off with some fun activities or impromptu exercising, build back up and maintain your max sprint times for the duration of a month or two BEFORE continuing on to the olympic.  The taper and one week off is for some needed rest.  Listen to what your body tells you.

Silver-Level Sprint Plans

When you upgrade to our silver-level membership, you get access to 33 more training plans.  Each of these plans include:

  • DETAILED workouts.  You get workouts with specific drills and heart-rate zones.
      
  • Video drills.  These plans come with video drills to help you with technique.
      
  • A detailed race day execution article - everything from nutrition to heart-rate zones for when you race
      
  • Access any plan on your phone with our mobile log or app
      
  • Get the full list of bronze membership features for more training log access

The Silver membership includes this beginner couch-to-sprint triathlon training plan:

12 Week Couch-to-Sprint 

A solid, detailed plan that starts out with low volume and gradually progresses over 12 weeks to your race.  No fancy equipment needed, only some desire and motivation to change your life for the best. 

"I just wanted to drop a note to thank you for your beginner, couch potato-to-finisher training program.

I finished my first triathlon (1/4 mi. swim; 15 mi. ride; 4.75 mi run) yesterday after finding your website and the programs. I had to start two weeks into the program because I was 11 weeks away from the triathlon.

I really liked the variety of the workouts, including the time spent training, as well as the two days off each week.

I am 48 years old, not particularly athletic, and consider myself a bit overweight. I didn't loose any weight, but my doctor said not to worry about it, so I didn't.

Again, thank you for a doable program/workout schedule. Nice job."

- John

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date: August 30, 2004