Training for a Triathlon: How Much Time Does It Take?

If you’re thinking about doing your first triathlon, or your first triathlon of a longer distance, you might be wondering how much time you’ll need to devote to triathlon training. The time to train for a triathlon depends a little bit on what your training paces are, but mostly depends on what distance triathlon you’re training for.

The first question you might ask is: How many days a week do triathletes train? Regardless of the race distance, most triathletes train six or seven days a week. Some triathletes prefer a complete rest day and train six days a week. Other triathletes may feel better with an active recovery day – one day with very easy training, that provides rest during activity – or may have a schedule that requires training seven days a week to fit in all the workouts.

Your second question might be: How many hours a week do triathletes train? That is where the answer varies greatly based on the race distance. The weekly training ranges shown below are appropriate for many athletes, but there will also be exceptions.

Sprint-distance training hours per week: 4-5 hours
Olympic-distance training hours: 6-7.5 hours
Half-Ironman / 70.3 training hours per week: 8.5-11 hours (average week) / 11-14 hours (peak week)
Ironman training hours per week: 10.5-14 hours (average week) / 14.5-18.5 hours (peak week)

Your final question might be: How many workouts a week do triathletes do? Again, that varies based on the race distance. Sprint- and Olympic-distance triathlon training typically includes two swims, two bikes, two standalone runs, and a third run after one of the bikes (typically the longer one) each week. Half-Ironman and Ironman-distance triathlon training typically includes two or three swims, three bikes, three standalone runs, and a fourth run after one of the bikes (typically the longest one) each week.

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