6 Steps from Sprint to Olympic

You’ve done it! You have completed a triathlon. It was an amazing and unique experience that has you thinking: Now what?

You can always do more sprint triathlons and work on increasing your speed or you can work on your endurance and increase your distance. For those looking to go long, we have 6 steps that will bridge the distance gap and get your from sprint to olympic distance.

  1. Recovery

When upping the distance, many triathletes increase the number of workouts they do per week. They will add in 1 to 2 extra workouts per discipline. While this is great if your schedule and body allow, many will find that they are scrambling to squeeze something into every break they have and forget about recovery. Recovery does not necessarily mean doing nothing, but it does mean having days where you operate at 30% – 50% volume and intensity. Set your recovery week to be every 3 – 4 weeks. A good option for recovery days are activities like yoga, aqua jogging, or thai chi.

2. Speed

It is not all about adding on the miles. Intervals and speed workouts can be an endurance athlete’s best friend. Start with 10-20 second intervals and work your way up to 4-minute high-intensity intervals. Aim for no more than 4-speed workouts per week and make sure to distribute them among the sports. Keep the intenstity high without over heating by checking out these shaded running routes.

3. More Swimming

The swim can be a point of worry for many triathletes and more than doubling your swim distance when you more up in distance can be daunting. Make sure that you put in a swim workout at least 2-3 times a week. If you can, make sure to get an open water swim work out at least every other week. Finding a 50-meter pool to swim is a good substitute if you do not have access to open water. Try these workouts


Doing brick workouts help simulate the conditions on race day. Bricks can be swim/bike or bike/run. For the most efficient brick training, it is best to put as little time between transitioning from the two activities. When going from the bike to the run, it is best to do at least the first part of the run at your race pace goal. Bricks are great way to also mix up your normal workout routine, it is best to get in at least 2 sets of each brick type before race day.

5. Fuel Properly

It is important to fuel properly “on and off the bike.” With the longer distances, you will need to take in more nutrition while on the race course. It is important to hone in on what works for you on training days. Don’t go crazy and try different gels all in one long bike or run because if you react badly to one, you won’t know which one. Plan your pace to know approximately how long you will be out and predict your calorie consumptions. Taking in too much can be just as bad as taking in too little. Keep your meals outside of training balanced. Try and use other reward systems besides “junk foods,” such as massage or new training gear, for those long training days or days when you are just tired of training. By eating whole foods and a balanced diet you will be helping your body recover faster.

6. Motivation

Find what your motivation is during training. Some like to set smaller goals that they can accomplish along the way, while others set one large one that they work towards. Is your motivation to have fun with friends? Is it improving your bike pace by 2 mph? Set a finish time goal? Set your “carrot” and then get to it. And have a little fun along the way!


We have created to the Texas Tri Series that has events starting in May and Ending in September. These events are spaced so that you can start with a sprint tri, move to Olympic and end the season with a half distance in September at The Kerrville Triathlon Festival. Learn more about the series at TexasTriSeries.com.

Looking for more training plans? Check out some of these online resources: