Training Advice for the Beginner Triathlete

When people find out I compete in triathlons, they always have lots of questions especially if they’re a beginner triathlete. I actually love talking about my sport. I’m not the athlete you’ll probably ever find on the podium or leading a race at the front of the pack. I’m an everyday wife and mom with a crazy schedule and I don’t look like what most people would think of when they think That’s a Triathlete.  So, people who are thinking about doing a triathlon and beginner triathletes feel comfortable asking me because they can relate to me. When they ask me how I train, I tell them that for me the most effective training is to focus most of my workouts on either swim, bike or run, but I also add in strength training and core work. Then I lay out my general practices for each of those sports individually:


  • Most of my swim workouts are one of about a dozen workouts I keep laminated in my swim bag.
  • Every two weeks, usually on a Sunday afternoon when the pool is empty, I do a long lap swim of straight freestyle just to get a feel for how my training is going.
  • A couple weeks out from an event, I do freestyle lap swims more frequently and decrease the drill workouts.



  • During winter months, I put my bike on the trainer and move Bella indoors. It’s amazing how many Netflix series you can catch up on doing your weekly miles.
  • When Spring hits, me and Bella hit the road! (Bella’s my bike in case you haven’t figured that out yet) The goal here is to spin 90. That’s the cadence that you want to ride when you’re not riding a hill.
  • I try to practice hills more than flats because that’s where improvement comes for me.
  • I always practice bike etiquette while on the road. This is a big pet peeve for me in races. There are so many people in races, believe it or not, that have no idea what bike etiquette even is. Sometimes I think some of them woke up one day and said hey, I’m gonna see if I can do that triathlon they are having done the road, but they have no idea how to pass left or inform anyone that they are doing so. These are the people causing other bikers to crash. OK, sorry, rant over…I kind of get lost in my tangents when it comes to sports etiquette.



  • As a rule, I never increase weekly training mileage by more than 10 percent per week. I learned that from my running coach!
  • For each mile that I race, I allow one day of recovery before returning to hard training or I learned this from my running coach too, but I follow it for all training not just running.
  • For safety, I always run opposite traffic. This allows me to see what’s coming at me rather than running with traffic and not knowing what’s behind me. Unfortunately, when biking you have to follow the rules of the road and ride with traffic, so just be careful where you ride.


Strength Training and Core:

  • I try to get in at least 2 days per week of strength training. One of them is usually Bodypump. The other is and on my own HIIT/Bootcamp style workout or just a heavy lifting session in the weight room.


If you’re thinking about training for your first triathlon or you’re a beginner triathlete, consider following some of my rules when you’re laying out your training plan. And if you have any questions, feel free to ask them below. I love helping people follow in love with triathlon!

How does your training advice stack up to these suggestions? What advice would you give a beginner triathlete or someone thinking about doing their first triathlon?

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Cassandra Burke is a Forensic Scientist by day, and a Group Fitness Instructor, Swim Team Coordinator and Travel Agent by night. A Breast Cancer Survivor since 2010, she writes about her journey as well as her struggles – training for triathlons and races, struggling to get back her health, and balancing family life all while building her brand and finding her purpose after cancer. Subscribe to Cassandra’s newsletter for updates and follow @poweredbybling on social media! For endurance sport race travel and custom family vacation travel, visit her at


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