Beginner Triathlete, Training in Five Months

Triathlon Event  Ok, so I feel as though I have been truly “bitten” by this thing they call the Tri-bug. I turn 40 next month and being shamefully honest I am in the worst shape of my life! (5’11 235) Having said that while I am somewhat intimidated by the sport, I also find it exciting. I am motivated and sincerely committed to training for and participating in (and hopefully completing) my first Triathlon in late July here in Nashville.

My questions are: Do I have enough time? Is there one event I should put more focus on? Any particular training tips for a heavy guy like myself? Thanks for any help!

Damon from Tennessee

Triathlon Event  Hi Damon,
Thank you for contacting!

It is always so exciting and a bit frightening to start a new journey in your life, so we’ll do our best to ease your fears and pump up your excitement!

Training for your first triathlon is going to put you on a truly healthy path which will lead to a long-term healthy lifestyle. As we tell all of our first-timers, check with your doctor to make sure everything’s in order before you begin and then pick a training guide that works best for you. Here are a few guides for training that we recommend — all have training guides but address slightly different audiences (taken from our Triathlon Training Resources page):

Outside Training Guide Resources:

Timeframe for Training:

The average person requires 6-9 months to train for a triathlon. In addition to being able to swim, bike and run properly, you’ll need to be able to sustain these activities for roughly two hours.. or more if you’re goal is to compete in a distance longer than a sprint/mini-triathlon.

We also have a section called “Beginner Triathlete Basics” that has all of the information you’ll need in one spot like

  • swim/bike/run gear suggestions
  • training tips
  • a description of a race (told from a racer’s point of view)
  • encouragement
  • and much more.

To answer your questions:

  1. Do I have enough time?
    It looks as though you have 5 months to train, and that’s only if you started at the beginning of February and the triathlon is at the end of July.
    If you’re a couch potato, you will have some challenges getting your body to respond on a hurried schedule. It’s really up to you if you want to shoot for one in the summer or see if you can find a triathlon in early Fall to give yourself the proper time to train.Every year we have a handful of people who write to us about an unsuccessful triathlon experience and we normally find out in the email that they didn’t train properly or didn’t have enough likes to reinforce pre-planning/ample time for training and events. This gives your body its best chance of completing short-term goals (workouts), which leads to completing your long-term goal (the event). This also gives your mind a sense of accomplishment, the encouragement to stick with the plan and the fortitude to see itself through to the goal. Getting your mind on board will get your body to follow suit.
  2. Is there one event I should put more focus on?
    Knowing how to bike and run and the rules for triathlon biking and running are very important, but the swim can be the most dangerous if you have never done it before. Be sure that you can swim proper freestyle 100 yards further than the race distance. There are swim training guides listed above and you can always hire a coach for a few sessions if you feel that you aren’t progressing quickly enough to meet your timeline.
  3. Any particular training tips for a heavy guy like myself?
    Stay the course!
    It doesn’t matter if you’re a big guy, small guy or anywhere in between. Triathletes come in all shapes and sizes and we all have challenges that accompany our body structure.

Be well.
~Jack staff Recommended Resources:


Triathlon Swim : – Get the low-down on gear and read tips for training and events.

Triathlon Bike: – Learn how to structure bike workouts, find safety tips and read recommendations on great bike gear.

Triathlon Run : – Get the ultimate skinny on running sneakers, running gear, safety tips and much more.

“Triathlete Profile
Read interviews of people like YOU who give advice on training, balance and much more.

There are Newbies Starting Triathlons Every Day. Today Just Happens to be YOUR Day!