Triathlon Training: Moving from Sprint to Olympic Distance


You’ve entered the world of triathlon doing your first or a series of sprint distance races and have been firmly bitten by the tri bug. The good news is, you’re just at the start of an incredibly diverse journey.

You have so many options. To start with you can look to improve your performance over sprint and take it to the top, or you can go a little longer by working up to Olympic Distance Triathlon. For those of you looking to do the latter, the even better news is that it is very achievable.


Concentrate on increasing run distance

The key area to work when you move to Olympic distance for the first time is the run.

When you analyse the statistics you’ll find that the greatest impact on performance overall is the run in terms of the largest time differential between first time competitors or those new to the distance.


Get your swim right and the bike and run will follow

Whilst running is important, the swim is the area that can have the biggest positive effect on the bike and run.

Training for your swim effectively allows your core to strengthen so that it maintains power transfer for the bike and run. HUUB triathlon wetsuits also include an ‘exoskeleton’ which assists your core and will definitely help in the transition to the longer distance.

In all likelihood you will already have been doing some good swimming in order to complete the sprint distance. All you need to do is add some more endurance and threshold work to that. This doesn’t have to be an entirely new session in fact I’d recommend adding just two 15min sets into what you are currently doing or extending your main set accordingly.

This increase in threshold and endurance work actually applies across all the disciplines as you will have the high intensity work nailed down from your sprint distance training.


Where to set the bar in your training

In order to effectively compete over an Olympic distance race you should look to complete two swims (one endurance, one threshold), two bikes (one interval based, one long and three runs (one endurance, one tempo and one interval based). Don’t worry if this sounds a lot. You don’t need to be doing all this right now only in the last couple of months leading up to your event and better still you can combine sessions e.g. an endurance ride into a tempo run to help with time management and logistics. Right now you can get away with a threshold swim, an endurance bike and a tempo run.


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