Off-Road Triathlon Training

by Catriona

I have entered an off road triathlon - the Craggy Island triathlon at the end of August next year and am looking for a sensible training plan.

There's a 500m open water swim followed by a 16k bike and 8k run all on rough hilly terrain.

I am 53 and have and a good basic level of fitness all my life.

I would like I start training now and wondered where I would find a training programme for this kind of triathlon.

Many thanks.

Intelligent Triathlon Training replies:

The training you need to do for an off-road triathlon like this is not that dissimilar to an Olympic triathlon training plan. You will just need to ensure you include more off road running and hillier rides.

Off road triathlons present a few different challenges compared to road or sealed surfaces. On the run you need to be more conscious of where you are putting your feet and lower limb strength needs to be a little better to prevent rolling ankles and so on.

Also the hills tend to be steeper, which means running up can be a little harder, but running down is much more technical and also slower. So practice running on these sort of trails, including sessions at race pace. The main thing to focus upon is the muscular strength and endurance, not so much on the speed.

Riding on the road is where most mountain bikers will spend the majority of their time getting fitter, but they will then include some harder efforts on the mountain bike. If you do all your riding off road then it usually ends up being too high intensity and less beneficial. One long ride a week off road during the winter on your mountain bike should be sufficient, with the remainder on the road.

The swim programme is similar to a road triathlon, however ensure you have had time to practice the open water skills.

We don't have a specific programme for this type of triathlon on the site at the moment. But following the Olympic distance programme and making some adjustments as outlined above would be OK. At the end of the day you need to work on similar aspects of fitness.

You can find all our training plans here.

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