How to Train for Triathlon Swimming

How to Train for Triathlon Swimming
Triathlons are challenging competitions because of the different events an athlete must prepare for. For many triathletes, swimming can be the hardest leg of a triathlon because training can be more difficult, and open bodies of water can be hard to come by. But the trick in training for the swimming leg of a triathlon is to balance it with workouts running and cycling, too.


Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

Step 1
If possible, find an open body of water to train in. You can use an indoor swimming pool, but it's better to get comfortable with open water and lake currents before you battle them in competition. Plus, not having a pool edge to cling on to forces you to keep moving.
Step 2
Allocate two days a week to swimming the first few weeks of training, but no more. You need to work out running and cycling two days each per week, and give yourself one day to rest.
Step 3
Start off doing repetitions at a distance around five to 10 percent of the distance you will swim in your race. Do four to six of these, with a 5 to 7 minute rest in-between. If these distances are too far, you may want to consider competing in a triathlon with a shorter swim leg.
Step 4
Increase your workload 10 to 20 percent a week. On alternate weeks, allocate one workout as a long swim equaling the combined distance of your sprint workouts for that week. Don't worry about times; those will come with fitness.
Step 5
After three or four weeks, begin mixing various workouts together, tacking on a small swim workout to the end of a full run workout, etc. These don't need to be exhausting, just brisk workouts to get your body acclimated to changing gears.
Step 6
Begin tapering down your workload in the final week. Do not swim more than 10 minutes within the final three days of your race.

Article Written By Jonathan Croswell

Jonathan Croswell has spent more than five years writing and editing for a number of newspapers and online publications, including the "Omaha World-Herald" and "New York Newsday." Croswell received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Nebraska and is currently pursuing a Master's of Health and Exercise Science at Portland State University.

Keep Me Informed

Weekly newsletters, announcements and offers from to your inbox.

Sign me up!

We HATE spam and promise to keep your email addresses safe and secure.