With three components to train for, competing in a triathlon can be daunting. And finding a successful training approach can be a challenge in itself. Add family, friends, work and other commitments, and it gets even more challenging. But whether you are preparing for your first triathlon, or a goal race, a simple training approach is key to building momentum and being ready on race day.

I have found that keeping my core training path straightforward is a way to avoid getting bogged down and overwhelmed by all the things I could do. Not every day will go as planned: schedules change, things come up, and training schedules get disrupted. So to build and keep my momentum ­– no matter what comes up in work or life ­– here are three ways I keep my preparation as simple as possible.

1. Commit to one daily workout

Plan for one workout each day as a top priority. Trying to schedule in multiple workouts in the course of one day can be difficult, especially with existing work and family commitments.

  • 2 days a week: in the water
  • 2 days a week: on the bike
  • 2 days a week: on a run
  • 1 day a week: all about recovery

On many days I do another session, but focussing on one key session each day is enough to gain momentum and helps you find a better living/working/training balance. 

Make 1 workout each day your priority to build momentum

2. Keep the momentum: no activity is too small

Some days, the only training opportunity that presents itself may be as small as 20 to 30 minutes. This can be extremely frustrating when you are working towards a bigger goal, but it all counts. Make the most of this time to keep your momentum as part of your long term plan.

To maximize a small timeframe for training, I have an old pair of running shoes at work and in my car. Even a 20-minute run is getting some movement in.

20 Minute Run session

  • 10 Minutes Easy
  • 5 x (30 Seconds accelerations / 30 seconds easy)
  • 5 Minutes Easy

Some days you only have time for a short run - embrace the chance to get moving!

3. Focus on Recovery

On one day each week I primarily focus on recovery. This doesn’t mean that I will not train on this day, but it does mean my aim is to get my body and mind right for the week of training ahead.

Recovery day is also a great opportunity to get your gear ready for the week ahead – pack a swim bag, clean/tune your bike – and ensure that you have set yourself up for a successful week.

Recovery Day Checklist

I like to look back the previous week and choose one or two things to focus on that maybe was lacking or needs some improvement:

  • Sleep
  • Strength
  • Stretching
  • Mental Fatigue and Stress
  • Nutrition

Using a recovery day to do some mobility and stretching

Consistency to Achieving your Goals

Over the course of a few weeks, these tips can help you create a routine and a mindset that can't help but build momentum, which will help you achieve your goals in triathlon. The leading benefit of a simplified approach is that it builds consistency, which, more so than any specific workout, will contribute to your long term success in triathlon.


About Jeremy

Jeremy Hopwood lives in Vancouver, BC and looks to keep active as often as possible competing in running and triathlon events throughout BC. When not out swimming, biking or running Jeremy can often be found trying to keep up with his 3 and 6 year-old girls on their bikes or at a park

In August 2017 Jeremy is racing on the Canadian Age Group Team at the ITU Multisport World Championships in Penticton, BC competing in Duathlon (Sprint & Standard) and Long Course Triathlon.