Everything you need to swim, ride, and stride to the finish line of your first triathlon is right here

By Michelle Portalatin
March 19, 2014
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Swimming and biking and running, oh my! A triathlon may seem overwhelming, but this plan will prepare you for an Olympic-distance race-usually a 1.5K swim, 40Kride, and 10Krun-in just 12 weeks. Besides the sense of accomplishment you'll feel, training will get you into the best shape of your life (win-win!). So put a race on the calendar (locate one at trifind.com) and start now. You can print out the full program below and refer to this page anytime you need a refresher on the details.

On race day, take a deep breath, forget about the clock, and just focus on finishing-because you definitely will!

Rest Intervals for Swim Sets

50 meters: 10 to 15 seconds

100 meters: 15 to 20 seconds

200 meters: 20 to 30 seconds

300 meters: 30 to 35 seconds

400 meters: 35 to 40 seconds

800 meters: 40 to 45 seconds

Cycling Zones

Zone 1: easy, aerobic, 60 to 70% max heart rate, recovery

Zone 2: moderate, aerobic, 70 to 80% max heart rate

Zone 3: moderately hard, lactate threshold, 80 to 85% max heart rate

Strength Training

Do this total-body strength routine once a week, in addition to your prescribed aerobic training for that day. Do all four exercises in circuit 1 consecutively, with minimal rest between moves. After the last exercise, repeat the full circuit twice more. Continue with all the exercises in circuit 2, completing the full circuit 3 times total. If this is too challenging, perform each circuit twice instead.

Circuit 1

Squats (bodyweight or weighted, depending on your fitness level): 12 to 15 reps

Pushups: 15 to 20 reps

Seated rows: 15 to 20 reps

Plank: 30-second hold

Circuit 2

Walking lunges: 20 reps

Assisted pull-ups: 12 to 15 reps

Medicine-ball reverse woodchops: 12 to 15 reps in each direction

Side plank: 30-second hold on each side

(If you're printing the plan, be sure to use landscape layout for best resolution.)