So, you’re ready to run your first Tri?  You’re crazy enough to do the training, pumped enough to reach for that cross-the-finish-line feeling, and motivated enough to achieve this amazing goal. Of course you are!

To get you started, here are 10 key tips, resources, and insider insights to get you started on training for your first Tri. These tips are from fitness afficionado and impossible do-er Joel Runyon, who writes the Blog of Impossible Thing, and published the Impossible Tri: a holistic eBook on how to train for your tri, including everything from a nutrition program, workout regimen and schedule, day-of-training tips, a detailed FAQ section. There’s also bonus interviews with a few Tri Runners like Hailey Manning of Hailey In Training and Jarie Bolander of Endurance Leader.



Head over to Joel’s website HERE to check out his Tri Guide

1.) Sign Up!

There’s no better way to get yourself motivated than to actually bite the bullet and sign up. Head over to, where you can browse races by state and distance. Book a tri within the next 6 months, and make sure its one labeled “sprint triathlon” or is close to the 750m swim, 14 mile bike, 5k distance. (Already sounds awesome in a grueling way, right?! You’ll be doing iron mans next!)

2.) Tri Training: SWIM

6 key components to focus on that will improve your swimming time and ability are to:

  1. Focus on your Form – Kicking should compliment the movement of your entire body, not drive it.
  2. Look Straight Ahead – Swim like you walk. Keep your neck in line with your spin and your eyes facing the bottom of the lake/pool.
  3. Swim on your Sides – When you move to alternate strokes, rate your body from one side to the other.
  4. Efficiency Over Speed – You get more power out of 2-3 well-executed strokes than from 10 wild, thrashing strokes.
  5. Breathe Well – When you turn to breathe, turn your body and head. This will give you more time to breathe.
  6. Practice – As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

3.) Tri Training: BIKE

3 essential tips on Cycling Form to get you started:

  1. Your back arched and your head focused on the road in front of you.
  2. Your elbows slightly bent, but not locked.
  3. Your shoulders forward to help your chest carry the weight of your upper body.

4.) Tri Training: RUN

5 Steps to Good Running Form:

  1. Use mid-foot stride. You don’t want to land on your heel.
  2. Shoulders back, head up.
  3. Let your arms swing forward and back
  4. Skim the ground. You don’t want to slam your feet into the ground. Land softly and quickly.


5.) Tri Training: Nutrition

Nutrition is basically the fourth training element of a triathlon. Joel is an avid fan and practicer of the Paleo diet. While its important to eat what works for you, here’s a bit about the philosophy behind the Paleo diet:

Humans have been around for about 150,000 years, and for most of that time we were simply hunters and gatherers, eating what nature had to offer us – meats, nuts, greens, vegetables, and berries/fruits. Then, around 10,000 years ago, the agricultural revolution occurred, and we began eating grains. And sure, we can survive off of grains, but we’re training here, and we need our bodies to be at peak performance. Joel describes it like this: “It’s like trying to fuel a Ferrari with watered-down gasoline. It might get you to the grocery store, but it won’t win you any races.”

6.) Tri Training Gear: SWIM

Equipment: Swim Wear, googles, Wetsuit (optional)

Men: Don’t wear traditional swimsuits. Get yourself a pair of compression shorts.

Women: You can wear a one or two piece suite, just make sure it stays on there good!

7.) Tri Training Gear: BIKE

Equipment: Helmet, Bike, Bike Shoes (clips)

Helmet: Must be CPSC Certified

Bike: You can go all out, but all you need is a decent bike with 2 wheels and some handlebars for steering. Don’t let the the thought of not having a $10,000 bike stop you. Do what you can with the resources you’ve got!

8.) Tri Training Gear: RUN

Equipment: Shoes

Note: If you’re thinking about switching to minimalist running, be sure you do plenty of training pre-race and get used to the shoes. It’s a slow process, and one you don’t want to find out about on the day of the race.

9.) Tri Training Schedule

This is a glimpse of what you’re typical training week might look like the first week of training if you’re just getting started:

  • Monday: Warm-up: 10 min on bike | 20 min moderate cycling pace
  • Tuesday: Warm-up: 10 min on bike | Run 15 min total
  • Wednesday: Warm-up: swim 4x 25m easy | Workout: 15 min of total swim time
  • Thursday: Warm-up: 10 min on bike | Run 15 min total
  • Friday: Warm-up: Swim 4x 25m easy | Workout: 15 min of total swim time
  • Saturday: Fun Activity – spin class, team sport, weight training, etc
  • Sunday: Rest

Each week, the training will get a bit more intense until you’re ready for the tri.

10.) A Final Rule Of Thumb: Have Fun!

Running a Tri is a rewarding and well-deserved accomplishment. It takes perseverance, will-power, planning, and motivation. It’ll test you both physically and mentally, but in the end, it couldn’t be more worth it!

A Final Word:

Now lace up your shoes, and get started!

About The Author

Lauren Rains is the editor at large of Outdoor Minded Mag. She is struck by wanderlust, and spends most waking hours of her life either exploring the outdoors around the globe or working on various passion projects be it film to microadventures to cooking chili. You can read about her adventures in life, biz and travel on her blog, and catch up with her on Twitter at @LaurRAINS.