8 Week Sprint Triathlon Training Program in prep for the SANDMAN TRIATHLON

Complete this easy to do 8 week Triathlon Training program, and you’ll be sure to finish your first SANDMAN sprint triathlon.

Summer is almost upon us and you are itching to do that sprint triathlon down at the Sandman Triathlon. You want to finish it don’t you? Good, follow this easy to use 8 week program and you will easily cruise through a 600m swim, 20km bike and 5km run

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I have divided the program into 4 parts


  • 2 weeks of easy regular training

This will allow you to get a feel for the way a triathlete should train. It will help you build up some strength, allow you to loose the stiffness in the muscles, show up your strengths and weaknesses. Basically, you should know exactly where you stand after the first two easy weeks.


  • weeks 2 to 4

Here we shall keep the program structure the same, but up the mileage by some 20%. It means you go a bit harder and will allow you to build up a good base from which to work. It is important that we do not overdo it, injury prevention and lack of energy are two issues we want to avoid.


  • weeks 4 –6

These will be the two peak weeks and will be most important. Consistency is the name of the game. You have to keep your sessions regular and not skip if possible. Obviously illness, injury of exhaustion can be taken into account, but if possible, stick to the program as best you can. You can play around with some of the sessions, so mix and match where necessary. As long as you do the weekly sessions of four in the pool, bike and run.


  • week 7

This week will be used specifically for speed work. Everything is short and sharp. The countdown has begun.


  • week 8

This is basically rest, rest and more rest. You do not become fitter in the week preceding the event. If anything, you can do your chances of having a good race, some serious damage by overdoing it. Relax and enjoy the rest. Wait for the big day and give it everything you have got. For most, it is just a question of finish, so take up the challenge and enjoy the race and the atmosphere. It could be the start of a very long triathlon career.




  • The first aspect before we start is to be in possession of the right equipment.
  • The basics include a swim costume, swim cap and goggles. Please note that it is compulsory to wear a swim cap during the swim leg of a triathlon, so make sure you buy one. Most indoor pools require that you use them, so most should already have this basic item. Goggles are also important. If you wear specs or contact lenses, then they are an absolute must. One must admit that you are certainly not going to see any marine life under water, so the goggles are there more for comfort and eye protection.
  • You will have noticed the use of wetsuits at all the races. The original thought was to use this suit to keep you warm in the cold water. However things have changed and manufacturers now design suits to make you fast. These are however quite costly, so if your on a budget, rather opt for the speedo. Unless the water is really cold, do not wear the old faithful skin diving suit. This will only weigh you down and hinder your swim stroke. Two options, either buy the expensive triathlon wetsuit or go with the costume.
  • As for the bike, here once again it’s a choice between expensive and “good enough”. As a novice, I would recommend that you keep faith in whatever bike you have presently, be it a jalopy or a mountain bike. As long as it has two wheels and is roadworthy, it’s certainly good enough for your first triathlon. Once you have passed the beginners stage and wish to go faster, then one can look at getting something slightly lighter and more efficient. I would not spend too much money until I am completely sure that this is the sport for me.
  • Most novices will ride in their running shoes, which is not a bad thing. If you want to look the part, then buy yourself a decent pair of cycle shoes and pedals. These two items will definitely make you go faster.
  • A Helmut is also compulsory, so don’t go to the race without it!!
  • Running shoes are also an essential item to add to the list. Don’t go and run in new shoes on the day of the race. Wear in the shoes first, the run is hard enough without having to worry about blisters.




  • In transition area, make sure you know exactly where your bike is. It may sound stupid but when you have a thousand bikes all lined up together and you’re not totally sure where you put yours before you started swimming, you may end up losing plenty of time looking for the trusty steed.
  • The swim start is also vitally important. Don’t go to the front unless you can swim with the big boys. Rather start at the back or on the sides, where you have a good amount of freedom to swim at your own pace. It is also a good idea to continually look up during your swim to make sure you’re headed in the right direction.
  • Before you start the bike, take your time and ensure that you have what you need to complete the bike ride. A spare tube and pump in case of puncturing. You do not want to train for weeks only to find that you puncture and cannot repair!
  • Start the bike easy and build up speed. If you’re a slow swimmer, do not try and make up all the time lost within the first couple of kilometers on the bike. Pacing is of vital importance.
  • The run is also approached with a certain amount of caution. Start slow and finish like the wind.
  • If it’s hot, please drink adequately during the bike and the run. Performance does take a dip if you’re dehydrated, so just keep that in mind during the race.
  • A good pointer is to look and learn. Nothing better than learning from those in the know.







Our first three sessions will begin on a Friday. The idea here is quite simply, to show you what your limitations are and to gauge your start up fitness levels



Put on your watch and run for a total of 20 minutes at a good comfortable pace. See what distance you can cover in the time limit allowed. Don’t go hard, easy is what you want.



Go down to your nearest pool and attempt to swim non-stop for 5 minutes. It may sound short, but if you are not a swimmer, it could feel like an eternity. Rest if you have to, once again measure the distance you complete within the 5-minute limit.



Take out your bike, and see what distance you can cover in 60 minutes. Once again, take it easy and do not over exert.



You might be slightly stiff and somewhat tired, especially if you’re a complete couch potato. None the less, at least you know where you stand in terms of limitations. Now for the hard work as you begin the 8-week cycle.



MONDAY (S): This is a day of rest throughout the 8 weeks. A perfect day to relax and enjoy. Perfect to sort out those post weekend blues.



CYCLE 1 (Weeks 1 – 2)






Swim                                       bike                             run


Tue                              8 x 25metres                            rest                              4km easy jog

Swim easy

Rest 30 secs between

Each 25m

100m easy swim

4 x 25m hard, rest

After each


Wed                           rest                                          20 – 60km easy                        rest


Thursday                     4 x 100m straight swim                                               4km easy

Rest 30 secs after each


Friday                          rest                                          20 – 40km easy                        4km hard


Take time!!!

Sat                               8 x 50m swim                          15km easy                   4km easy


Sun                              2 x 200m straight swim           60km easy

Rest 1 minute after each




Tue                              400m straight swim                 20km moderate           4km moderate


Wed                            16 x 25m swim                        rest                              rest

Rest 30 seconds after ea.


Thursday                     rest                                          40 – 60km moderate    rest


Fri                                4 x 100m swim                        rest                              4km time trial

Rest 1 minute after                                                     record time!



Sat                               8 x 50m swim                          rest                              4km easy

One easy, one hard

Rest 30 secs after ea.


Sun                              rest                                          80km moderate           4km directly

After the bike






Swim                                       bike                             run


Tue                              4 x 200m straight                    rest                              8km easy

Swim, rest 1 minute

After each one


Wed                            rest                                          rest                              6km of hills


Thursday                     8 x 100m swim,                       40- 60km easy             rest

Rest 30 secs after

Each one


Fri                                16 x 50m swim                        rest                              4km hard time

Rest 15 secs after each                                                trial, record


Sat                               32 x 25m swim, rest                20km ride after           rest

10 secs after each one             swim

Rest 1 minute after each 4


Sun                              rest                                          80km ride at good       run 2km after

Pace                             bike ride




Tue                              800m straight swim                 20km easy                   7 km easy


Wed                            2 x 400m sw                            rest                              7km moderate

Rest 2 min after

Each 400m


Thursday                     rest                                          20km moderate           rest


Fri                                4 x  200m swim                       rest                              4km time trial

One hard, one easy                                                     record time!

Rest 1 min after ea


Sat                               800m straight swim                 rest                              rest

Take time!


Sun                              rest                                          40km TT hard effort   2km after bike

Take time!                   Run easy




CYCLE 3 (WEEKS 4 – 6)

This is your most important training period. Stay healthy, eat well and rest. You need these next two weeks to give you that peak needed for the event. If you do get injured or sick, take time off, don’t try and play catch up by stacking your days with increased mileage.



Tue                              1000m straight swim               rest                              8km easy


Wed                            rest                                          40km hard                   5km moderate


Thursday                     10 x 100m on 2:30                  40km moderate           rest



Fri                                5 x 200m, one easy                 rest                              4km time trial

One hard, one easy                                                     record time!

One hard, last easy

Rest 1 min after each

Sat                               20 x 50m, rest                         20km easy                   rest

Rest 10 secs after each

Rest 1 minute after set of



Sun                              rest                                          90km hard ride            5km run

Directly after

The run




Tue                              2 x 500m swim,                       rest                              5km easy

Rest 2 min after each


Wed                            rest                                          40km easy                   8km moderate


Thursday                     10 x 100m on 2:30                  rest                              rest

Rest 1 min after 5


Fri                                20 x 50m on 1:30                    rest                              4km time trial

Rest 1 min after 4                                                       record time!


Sat                               40 x 25m swim                        20km moderate

4 hard then

4 easy, do 5 sets


Sun                              rest                                          80km bike hard           5km run direct

After ride




The hard training is over, we know just have to sharpen up and have some good rest. The important thing about speed is, go all out, but rest in between. Your sleep is also important during this period.



Tue                              200 easy                                  rest                              8km fartlek

4 x 50 hard efforts                                                      run, jog 400m

Rest 30 secs after ea                                                   sprint 100m,

200 easy                                                                      for the 8km

8 x 25m swim

hard, rest 30 secs

After each on

200m easy swim



Wed                            rest                                          20km, easy ride for 4km         rest

hard ride for 1km. Do it

4 times


Thursday                     500 m swim as                        rest                                          4km

Hard as possible                                                                      easy


Fri                                rest                                          10km time trial as                    rest

Hard as possible


Sat                               5 x 100m sprints                      rest                                          4km

After each 100m rest                                                              time

1 min                                                                                       trial


sun                               rest                                          20km time trial as

hard as possible                       4km







The most important aspect here is rest, rest ,rest. You are not going to get any faster or fitter in this last week.. Enjoy it while it lasts.


Tue                  run 8km nice and easy

Wed                ride for 20km also nice and easy

Thursday         swim 500m at leisurely pace

Fri                    rest

Sat                   rest

Sunday            RACE DAY  (ALL OUT!!!)


To enter the SANDMAN TRIATHLON or for more detail, click this link


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