Training for Your First Triathlon

May 15, 2014

By Christine Dailey

Triathlon season has arrived! If you’re new to the infamous swim-bike-run, it can be slightly overwhelming. Level 1 USA Triathlon Coach and Sports Club/LA – San Francisco Private Trainer Paul Garner has put together an eight-week training schedule to help you ace your first sprint triathlon. Here are a few things to keep in mind when preparing for your first event.



  • Have a plan. Follow the training schedule provided below. Plan for arrival on race day and for hydration.
  • Read and digest the event website. There’s a ton of vital information on there that’ll tell you where you have to be and when, as well as the course map with transition areas.
  • Know the rules of the course. For example, are wetsuits allowed? The website will make all rules and regulations clear.

Race Day

  • Arrive early and set up your transition.
  • Know where the mount and dismount lines are. You can’t ride your bike through the transition area, so you need to figure out how far you’ll have to walk/run your bike to the mounting line. Same for when you dismount your bike – you’ll need to walk/run it back into the transition area before you start your run.
  • Stay relaxed and don’t let other people stress you out.


  • When you rack your bike, the front wheel will be on the ground and the back will be lifted on the rack. Set up your items for transition next to/underneath your front wheel.
  • Less is more. Bring the bare minimum with you and know what you’re going to change into.
  • Know where your bike is racked so you can get to it quickly.


  • Know what you’ll be wearing and understand wetsuit rules as not all events allow them.
  • Start your swim calmly; don’t rush out the gate. Focus on controlling your breathing and build to a strong finish.
  • During the swim it’s important to be polite but to hold your line.


  • Know where your bike rack spot is relative to the mounting line so you know exactly where to go once you get your bike.
  • Hydrate from your swim while on the bike.
  • Fast riders pass on the left while slower riders should keep to the right.


  • Pacing yourself during this leg is key to a strong finish.
  • High five as many spectators as possible.
  • Smile at the finish line!