Knowing When You're Ready for a Triathlon

Triathlon Event Is it too soon to try a sprint triathlon? I have been doing a lot of excercise with cycling (15-20 miles per ride on the road) and about 5 miles on the various indoor machines to combine 5-6 workouts per week. I feel in very good shape and have lost 50lbs from this workout. That said, I have not hit the swimming other than a trial to complete the 1/4 mile. This was difficult and I needed to rest do part breast stroke. My goal right now is to simply complete the local sprint triathlon (1/4 mi swim, 8k off road bike, 5k off road run). I want to enter one or two of these before the end of the series which ends in 8 weeks. What’s a good barometer to feel ready to be able to complete the event?

Scott from Connecticut

Triathlon Event  Hi Scott,

Thank you for contacting! Congratulations on losing the weight and living a healthier lifestyle!

Regarding your question on readiness, it takes the average person 6-9 months to train effectively for a triathlon. Where you are proficient on the bike, fairly ok with the run and still working on completing a quarter mile swim, we think you “could” probably be ready for the triathlon in 8 weeks, BUT you’d have to work VERY hard on bringing your swimming up to speed between now and then. One gauge for knowing if you are ready is if you can swim a quarter mile and hop right on your bike for a decent workout (that’s called a brick). The idea is that you need to be able to complete the quarter mile and have lots of extra energy to complete the bike and the run. If you are using everything you have to get through the swim, you are not ready and should maybe consider a biathlon for now…a triathlon for early fall.

Here is a swim resource we recommend and have personally used with great results. Check it out:

You could also consider hiring a coach to suggest stroke corrections so that you are moving more fluidly through the water and exerting less energy.

Please email us with any other questions and let us know how what you end up doing.

Be well,

~Niki 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.

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