Triathlon | 6-month sprint training programme

Peter Bryan Peter Bryan Triathlon coach and lifeguard
Combining swimming, cycling and running, triathlons require dedication to three very different disciplines, and alternative techniques for each. Triathlon coach Peter Bryan provides expert advice for all sprint triathletes in this six-month training programme.

Whether you’re new to triathlons or looking to improve on your performance, my six-month training programme will help you cross that finish line with a smile.

Before beginning this programme, look at this safety advice for preventing injury and always listen to your body. It’s better to miss a session and continue next week, rather than push and become injured or ill and not be able to train at all.

This programme is based on seven timed sessions and two aerobic rest days per week. It incorporates endurance, speed and class sessions to fully ready your body for the task ahead.

Each month has been designed with five weeks so you can take up your training at any time of the year. Where a month has only four weeks, miss out week three or four.

You will be training in excess of the required distances for the triathlon. This will ensure that you are fit enough to complete all three disciplines on the day of the event.

Training session tips


  • You should complete the endurance sessions at an easy to steady pace making sure you complete the distance at a comfortable speed.
  • If swimming, swim a distance and stop for 30 seconds, then repeat the pattern for the duration of the session.
  • If cycling, maintain a high comfortable pedal rate (around 90 to 100 revolutions per minute) to achieve a constant speed.
  • If running, run at a pace at which you can hold a conversation.


  • You should complete speed rounds quickly and with a high effort over a short distance.
  • If swimming, swim 50 to 100m as fast as you can and time yourself. Then add 10 seconds to that time to give an interval timing. 
  • If cycling, maintain a high pedal rate and ride, holding at a speed 3 to 5mph higher than your endurance speed.
  • If running, start sprinting between lampposts with a recovery jog between the next three lampposts. As the recovery becomes easier, reduce the recovery time down to two lampposts and then one. Alternatively time yourself over a mile or two mile distance at endurance pace, then run the same distance at a pace where it is hard to hold a conversation to beat your previous time.


  • Using classes as part of your training can add variety and interest.
  • Do Pilates for core strength, GRiT for strength, yoga for flexibility and group cycle just for a good workout.

It is possible to undertake all of this training in the gym environment, using pool, static bike and treadmill. However the sport of triathlon is an outdoor activity so the training will need to go outside at some point.

Training programmes

Get stuck straight into your training with these month-by-month training programmes.

Six months to go
Five months to go
Four months to go
Three months to go
Two months to go
One month to go

Last updated Friday 14 December 2018

First published on Wednesday 13 April 2016