How Triathlon Training for Beginners Works

Common Beginner Triathlete Mistakes

Avoid looking like a novice by taking into consideration some of the most common beginner triathlete mistakes:

  • Inadequate training -- It's a mistake to assume that if you're skilled in one area, like running, that you'll naturally be skilled in the others. You don't want to discover you're weak in any area on race day, so train for all three parts of the race, no matter your experience level.
  • Overtraining -- Even though triathlon training is hard work, it's still possible to overdo it. Just as on race day, you'll need to pace yourself. You don't want to push too hard in training, or you won't make it to race day.
  • Not warming up or stretching before the race -- It's important to prepare your body for the race with warm-up and stretching exercises. Warming up enhances your performance, prevents injuries and helps you to mentally prepare for the task ahead [source:Bernhardt].
  • Not pacing yourself -- Even the shortest of triathlons can take between one and two hours to complete, so don't wear yourself out in the first few minutes by starting at full speed.
  • Not including a good diet in your training regimen. Just as important as exercise and technique training is a proper diet. Fuel your body with the right foods and reap the benefits.
  • Not having the proper clothing -- Plan ahead to make sure you've got the right clothing for each stage of the race. Some companies even make clothes you can wear during all three legs of the race without having to change. Just be sure to practice in the clothing you plan to race in to avoid any unexpected surprises.
  • Not practicing swimming in open water -- If your swim race will take place in open water, make sure you know how to swim in open water. You may not think there's much of a difference between pool swimming and lake swimming, but there is, and you don't want to wait until race day to discover what those differences are.
  • Not learning how to fix your bike -- You don't want a flat tire to be the thing that knocks you out of the race.
  • Not practicing transitions -- Some triathletes experience difficulty transitioning from cycling to running because the constant motion of cycling can make your legs feel a little wobbly. For that reason, it's a good idea to practice your transitions from water to cycling and from cycling to running.

Learn more about triathlons, triathlon training and other competitive sports by visiting the links below.

Related Articles


  • Beginner Triathlete. "Choosing a Triathlon Training Plan." 2010. (July 30, 2010).
  • Beginner Triathlete. "Spring Training Programs." 2004. (Aug. 3, 2010).
  • Bernhardt, Gale. "The Real Reason You Should Warm Up." 2010. (July 28, 2010).
  • Holland, Tom. "The 12-Week Triathlete: Train for a Triathlon in Just Three Months." Fair Winds. 2005.
  • Jonas, Steven and Virginia Aronson. "Triathaloning for Ordinary Mortals." W.W. Norton. 1999.
  • Murphy, T.J. "Triathlete Magazine's Guide to Finishing Your First Triathlon." Skyhorse Publishing. 2008.
  • Stieg, Bill. "Anyone Can Be a Triathlete." Men's Health Magazine, Vol. 21, No. 6. July 2006.
  • "Triathlon Distances." 2009. (July 30, 2010).
  • USA Triathlon. "Triathlon." 2009. (July 28, 2010).