Advice on transitioning to triathlon training from a marathon

MsEMsE ✭✭✭
Can I seek some advice on how to make the transition from marathon training to triathlon training please? I completed the London Marathon on Sunday and am booked into a Familiarisation Camp for the 70.3 distance at Wimbleball on Saturday. I will miss the swim but be able to attend the bike (half of the course) and run sessions (a third of the course).

To my eternal shame, I have not done any triathlon related training yet and have my first race, a standard distance tri in less than 5 weeks', before the HIM 4 weeks' after that.

I am unsure how to adapt the schedules out there to incorporate recovery from the marathon and the short timeframe. Most schedules seem to be a minimum of 12 weeks and I am unsure which weeks to miss out.

I have done some sprint triathlons although this was in 2008 before I had my last baby. The marathon has been my first endurance event so I do not have a background in endurance racing. I am just a keen runner!

Many thanks for any advice.


  • Don't worry too much about schedules, just drop most of your runs and swap them for cycling & swimming.  In fact you could probably do no running at all for a couple of weeks and build up your cycling distance instead.  If you've done sprints before you'll know broadly what to expect.
  • I did VLM last year and then a HIM 4 or 5 weeks later.

    Don't sweat the run, it will be a piece of cake. Give up running until you fancy one, I think I only ran twice between the two.

    Swimming and biking need building but your cardio system is in good order so you just need to get some miles on the bike. Open water swimming if possible.

    Remember the following:

    1. My cardio system is good.
    2. I have the fitness required
    3. I need to develop bike familiarity
    4. I need to be able to swim
    5. I need to recover
    6. I have the fitness
    7. Where can I get £400 to enter an IM

    Simples! So I would suggest you don't need to pile in loads of sessions. The majority of the triathlon training schedules are there to help you build cardio fitness. So longer bikes are better than hard bikes.

    So the next few weeks get rest and start building towards the longer bikes. In 3-4 weeks depending on recovery add a weekly run.


  • MsEMsE ✭✭✭
    Cheerful Dave and Meface - Thank you for replying and for the simplicity of your advice. I think I can cope with that! I loved the whole marathon thing (training and race) so much that I know the HIM is just a curiosity thing so will be looking to enjoy it rather than kill myself for an amazing time. That way I can save myself for my next marathon! image
  • Definately get some time on the bike.  It won't matter how good your run is if you die on the bike and it uses different muscles so you can't assume that because your CV fitness is good you'll be okay.
  • MsEMsE ✭✭✭
    MW - Booked in for a bike fit to get my bike set up so will have no excuses after that. Thanks for the tip!
  • Meface, I love tip 7, hahahaha.

    As the others have said, get out on the bike, that's the most important thing, as your running is obviously fine.  I guess the Wimbleball route is hilly (?), so make sure you train on the hills too.  OW swimming should be starting up soon, so you'll be able to get a few sessions in too.  I probably only did about 6 or 7 OW swims before my HIM, and that was fine.

    Good luck, and we'll no doubt see you at an IM next year then....image

  • MsE,   I did exactly the same as you 2 years ago,  didn't run for a few weeks after VLM,  just spent lots of time on the bike,   had an open water swim lesson having never swum open water before and did 1 ow sprint to ensure I knew what it would be like,  and like Lee a few open water training swims (it's lots nicer than swimming in a pool anywayimage)

    Wimbleball is a fantastic course but definately v. hilly,  so I'd suggest getting some hills into your training (where are you based?),  and practice fuelling on the bike as well.

    Enjoy it it's a great race.

  • MsEMsE ✭✭✭
    Thanks for the responses, Lee and Jaffa.
  • joddlyjoddly ✭✭✭

    Lots of great advice up here.

     I'd add that, if you haven't done much OW swimming, it would give you a lot of confidence if you've swum in the lake, so is there any way you can get to the swim session at the weekend?

  • joddlyjoddly ✭✭✭
    Ah - just seen your other post, so that'll be a "no", then!!
  • MsEMsE ✭✭✭
    Joddly - Yes, I can't make it now (something to do with a husband, four children and an energetic puppy) but will try get into a few lakes to remind myself how dark and cold it is and how much nicer it is with ducks swimming past you than being stuck going up and down a pool.
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