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16375 Views 16 Replies Latest reply: Mar 30, 2010 10:16 AM by tdslovey 1 2 Previous Next
SethW06 Amateur 25 posts since
Oct 13, 2009
Currently Being Moderated

Dec 9, 2009 8:20 AM

Sprint tri and half marathon training at same time?

Hey everyone.  I wanted to hear people's thoughts on training for a first-time sprint and first-time half marathon at the same time.  I've been running for about 6 months now - completed a few 5Ks - and in my training I'm up to about 5-6 miles per run in the 50-60 min time range.  I recently started training for a sprint about a month ago using a plan from, and my goal is to run a few sprints in May-August next year.  But I'd also like to run a half marathon in September or October.  The problem is that every half marathon training plan I've seen includes at least 4 if not 5 days of running and this would be pretty tough to do while also triathlon training.  I realize all of these events are many months away so I can conceive of some customized plan where I alternate training plans - one week on triathlon training then one week on half marathon training.


But I'm wondering from those with experience if all of this seems like it would be too much too soon.  I'm 25 years old, so I know I'm still young and my body should be able to handle it, but I've been out of shape for a few years now.  Getting into running and now triathlons has really helped me get back into shape, and I'm trying to be really conscious of how my body is feeling and not over-work.  I'd hate to have an injury sideline me for weeks after all the hard work.  Thanks in advance for any advice or suggestions.

2009 Races

Baltimore Running Festival 5K 10/10/09 29:53

RAMPace 5K 11/21/09 28:15

2010 Races

Tri to Help Maryland Indoor Triathlon 3/6/10 525yds/10min swim, 10.2mi/30min bike, 2.08mi/20min run

Shamrock 8K 3/20/10 46:34

Apple Blossom 10K 5/1/10 56:32

Celebration Sprint Triathlon 6/27/10 2:20:59

Hammer Man Triathlon 9/25/10 1:40:42

Columbus Half-Marathon 10/17/10 2:10:12

  • jasonmellet Pro 77 posts since
    Jul 6, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Dec 9, 2009 10:33 AM (in response to SethW06)
    Re: Sprint tri and half marathon training at same time?

    hey seth


    my suggestion would be to incorporate your 13.1 training into your triathlon training. just pretend instead of your run being 3.1, put a 1 infront of the 3 and work your way up to that. if you have enough time to up your mileage to 13.1 then i dont see the problem with that.


    all your swim and bike training will help your run and you strengthen your legs and heart so it shouldnt be a problem if you are running 4/5 days a week. when people have running injuries they often sub running with cycling to keep themselves fit.


    Let me know what you think.

    Jason Mellet

    Im racing my first full ironman in may 2011. I am raising money for alzheimer's whilst im training for it. You can find out more in my blog on my Facebook page.

    Here is my Alzheimer's donatation page.

  • MwRaab Amateur 13 posts since
    Aug 24, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Dec 9, 2009 11:38 AM (in response to SethW06)
    Re: Sprint tri and half marathon training at same time?

    You may find that the  of plans may be too taxing for your current level of fitness. If you are willing to do all of your running as long slow distance (LSD) you mat be able to do both. That means you ignore any references in either plan to any kind of interval or speed work. Just concentrate on building up your  by doing miles as LSD. You will still get faster and it will be much easier on your body.

  • kapfast Pro 53 posts since
    May 30, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Dec 9, 2009 12:12 PM (in response to SethW06)
    Re: Sprint tri and half marathon training at same time?

    Both events take the average athlete about 2 hours to complete. By training for your sprint tri, the biking and swimming will certainly help with your running. Just add a few extra long runs into your sprint training plan, and you should be fine.


    I actually perfer running in a 10k or half marathon a couple weeks before a triathlon. It kind of helps me peak up towards the triathlon.


    Also, I would recommend interval training, either in your bike or run (swimming as you advance) to increase your cardio endurance.


    Good luck!

  • Amigold Legend 185 posts since
    Nov 14, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Dec 10, 2009 12:07 PM (in response to SethW06)
    Re: Sprint tri and half marathon training at same time?

    I'm late on responding to this...but I did both a half marathon and a sprint tri within two months of each other.


    The half marathon training only really needs you to run 3 days a week--2 maintenance tempo or intesity runs, and one long run on the weekend.  4-5 days IMO is overkill and you will get the same benefit on those other 2 days from swimming and biking, plus you rest your legs and knees more, which I think is crucial in any kind of long running training.


    So my workout schedule looked like this:


    Monday:  Swim

    Tuesday:  3 mile tempo run or maintenance run

    Wed:  bike (indoors or outside)

    Thurs:  1-3 mile intensity run

    Friday: off

    Sat:  bike or brick (alternate weekends; and save your longer bricks for days when you know your long run the next day is not going to be as long or as hard)

    Sun:  long run (various intenstity depending on length of run, but usually easy and slow)


    It does mean you gotta train 6 days a week, and you need to be SURE and back off training every 4 weeks so your body has time to recover.


    I had a PR in the half marathon because I was in such great shape from not only running, but biking and swimming.


    Let us know how you do!



  • dkhartung Pro 98 posts since
    Aug 2, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    6. Dec 11, 2009 1:25 PM (in response to SethW06)
    Re: Sprint tri and half marathon training at same time?

    I don't know if I'd ramp the run training up too far while preparing for your tris.  You can do it, but the running is going to break you down more than anything else and affect your other workouts in my opinion.  Assuming you have approximately eight weeks between your last tri and your first half mary, I would do the following:


    - Take your long run up to 8-9 miles in your tri training, but don't go further.

    - Since you won't be breaking yourself down as much, put the other available time into your biking.  I've found that building bike strength is valuable for a good run

    - Once you finish your tri, you can take a recovery week, then you can add an extra run into your program and slowly take your long run up to 14 miles.


    Oh, and I buy the argument that biking helps your run fitness, but I don't think the swim workouts are really going to be of much benefit to the run other than a bit of aerobic fitness.

  • Julie Ahlborn Rookie 1 posts since
    Jun 8, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    7. Dec 11, 2009 7:07 PM (in response to SethW06)
    Re: Sprint tri and half marathon training at same time?

    I'm a 40 year old woman and I did my first half marathon this last summer as well as 4 sprint triathlons.  I've done sprint triathlons for the last 3 years and found that adding the half marathon to my race schedule was really easy.  When your body is used to running, biking and swimming for over an hour and a half it is easy to add another 1/2 hour (I know I'm slow but I finish!)  If your 25 years old -- no problem!

  • ischnall Rookie 1 posts since
    Sep 24, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    8. Dec 14, 2009 1:45 PM (in response to SethW06)
    Re: Sprint tri and half marathon training at same time?

    Hi there.  I don't know if this helps because I am very envious of people who can plan out personal training plans, graph trainings, keep log books and all of that -- it is not me.  When I started training in April 2009 I was a 48 year old reasonalby fit female who was gunnning for a half ironman in October 2009. The problem was, although I was ok with swimming and biking, I never ran at all. What I did was follow the beginner triathlete HIM plan and joined a local running group. I added some extra running now and again, but basically stuck to the HIM plan with BT.  I was able to complete two sprints (in April and May or June), two olympic distance tris (in July and August) and the HIM (which includes a half marathon) in October, all with no problem and no injuries.  Good Luck Seth, I wish you much success.

  • Iron Dawg Pro 111 posts since
    Oct 8, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    9. Dec 15, 2009 9:31 AM (in response to SethW06)
    Re: Sprint tri and half marathon training at same time?

    Seth,  You have received some really good advice.  While I'm quite a few years past 25 I actually do both and believe that you wont find it all that difficult to transition.  The only thing I'd recommend adding is to complete your Tri's somewhere before the middle of August and plan for your half marathon toward the end of your goal time.  That way after your tri's are finished you can spend some more time concentrating on your half marathon.  You'll probably find that you are much more prepared due to your cross training that you might otherwise think, especially given that you are young.  And, as one of the posters suggested, and especially this time of year, do a lot of LSR (long slow runs).  Not only will this help you prepare for the distance but will help keep your weight down and get your body used to ooperating for long periods of time.  Good Luck.

    Iron Dawg

    Favorite quote:

    "If you're not gettting better you're getting worse."

  • tdslovey Amateur 21 posts since
    May 31, 2007

    I have a similar question except my half marathon is 7 weeks BEFORE my sprint tri.

    I have a half marathon on May 2nd, a sprint tri on June 20th, another sprint tri on August 22nd and another half on September 19th.  If I can get a goo training for the first set (May half and Aug sprint tri), I can then recover and then repeat for the next set (Aug sprint and Sept half).


    I am following the Hal Higdon (HH) novice half marathon program. Do I follow a sprint tri training program primarily and just replace the runs with whatever is on the HH program?

    After my half, do I taper and start following what's on the tri training plan?


    Did I forget to say I don't have a tri specific program yet. I am taking a swim training class (drills, intervals, sprints) that meets 2x a week and I try to swim at least one other day and focus soley on endurance.  I spin 2x a week but haven't in the last 2 weeks because I hurt my knee in a boot camp class.


    I feel like I am all over the place training wise.



  • pacificfit Legend 147 posts since
    Jan 9, 2008

    I've written a few plans like this for the athletes that I coach, and basically, our weekly scheme was:


    M: Tempo Swim, Run Tempo

    T: Easy bike

    W: Lift, Run Hills

    R: Easy bike

    F: Easy Swim + make-up day for missed workous

    S: Long bike with intervals with 10-15 minute run off the bike + Race Pace Swim

    S: Long run


    Hope that helps!

    Ben Greenfield

    My blog is at

    Also, I'm giving away a free 7-part series on "How To Become Superhuman" at

  • tdslovey Amateur 21 posts since
    May 31, 2007

    My running plan calls for 4 days of running, two days top out at 5 miles, one day is an easy two miles the whole time and then my long run.  The easy 2 miler is optional so I don't do it unless I miss one of my runs, otherwise I lift weights.  I am going to look for aplan but I will have to increase the timeor distance.  Here is what I am currently trying to do.


    Mon- Midday: Spin 45mins / PM: yoga

    Tue- AM: Swim 1hr / PM: run 4-5 miles

    Wed- Midday: Yoga /  PM: Lift & 30 min Spin

    Thu- AM: Swim 1hr / PM: run 4-5 miles

    Fri  - rest

    Sat - AM: Long run

    Sun- AM:Swim



  • Pulson229 Rookie 1 posts since
    Mar 30, 2010

    Thank you for sharing this valuable information. Right now I'm busy with my project and then I'm planning to go to Canada . That's why these days I'm too busy with my documents and can not afford to search for these same things. Keep sharing…

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