Are you ready for your first triathlon race? Here’s how to find out

Triathlon & Open Water
Written by: arena coaches at 9 January '17 0
You are reading: Are you ready for your first triathlon race? Here’s how to find out

Except for those predestined athletes or those who began at a very early age, what usually gets people to take part in their first triathlon race is the idea of taking on an impossible challenge, managing to overcome a really tough hurdle and feeling ready for anything.

Okay, but how can you tell you are ready for it? When can you make your Olympic triathlon debut (1.5 km – 40 km – 10 km), what level of fitness do you need to complete the event without doing your body any harm?

First and foremost you must be ready to handle an effort that lasts well over 2 hours and you can test this out on a bike.

Asking you to swim or run for 2 hours would be too much, but asking you to attempt it on a bike – obviously after a period of specific training – is the best way to test out your physical endurance.

You need to be sure you can complete 4 types of training session, one for swimming, one for the bike, one for running and a brick session. There are no precise, objective guidelines, but I am more than happy to give you mine:


  • 400m easy warm-up (50fs 25bst 25legs bks – 50fs 50bks 25legs bst)
  • 12 x 50m easy with  15’’ recovery(1legs – 1 drills – 1max for 12.5 m – 1pull breathing every 5 arm strokes with slight acceleration)
  • 8 x 200m steady with 20’’-25’’ recovery  (4th and 8th with faster leg kick)
  • 1 x 300m cool-down (50 legs with board – 50 pullbuoy with the lowest number of arm strokes  – 50 double-arm backstroke)

Tot 2900 m


  • 15km slow warm-up 90-100rpm ( cadence )
  • 2 x 20km at threshold with 5’ active recovery  spinning easily at a  fast  cadence
    (1st set on hilly route – 2nd  set on flat route)
  • 5km cool-down, very easy spinning

Tot 60km


  • 3km easy warm-up with 3-4 x 20’’ accelerations
  • 1 x 10km steady-progression run: sub-threshold steady pace (steady pace just under threshold for 7km + 3km at threshold pace)
  • 2km easy cool-down at recovery pace with  4-5 x 15’’ accelerations

Tot 15km


  • Approximately 15 warm-up’ with dynamic stretching and other exercises
  • 2 x (15 easy swim + 30’ steady bike ride on a  hilly route + 15’ steady run)

During this final session you should make your transitions fast and tidy, so as to train properly for these extremely tiring and energy-sapping moments in the race.

Can you complete these four sessions without feeling completely exhausted? Then what is stopping you from entering your first race?

Best of luck!


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arena coaches

Swim coaches, trainers and experts will give you all kinds of tips for performing at your best in both training and races.