Triathlon Training 101

We did it! We signed up for our first sprint triathlon – 800m swim, 20km cycle and a 5km run. Ok, it’s no IRONMAN but it’s good enough! We decided to join a training program that would motivate us to not only get into cold chlorine infested waters but to actually get on a bike (our ultimate kryptonite). The thought of putting on those sexy cycling helmets and flattering padded bicycle shorts made us want to run for the hills, but instead we acted all tough and hesitantly signed up.

Embark, the renowned triathlon and group-training institution was our first choice. Not only is the head coach/owner STeve Attwell (yes, with a capital T) an athletic inspiration and a great mentor, he’s set up a pretty impressive program to not only get you through your first triathlon or marathon but to keep you fit all year round. Let’s be honest, taking on a triathlon for the first time is incredibly intimidating and pretty expensive, but if it’s something you’ve had your heart set on, then you knew this already.


Our experience, Part I:

Our first day was surprisingly not as intense as we imagined. Yes, there were some pretty lean mean machines that could do with a good burger and chips, but there was also a good mix of athletes of all shapes and sizes at varying fitness levels. It was a little daunting at first as there was quite a large crowd, but the energy was fun and positive, which quickly put us at ease.

Our summer beginner’s coach, Hildy, who puts Madonna to shame with her ripped biceps, washboard abs and hot bod (I think we’re secretly in love), is the perfect motivating mentor with extensive knowledge and expertise in all three disciplines.

The Swim:


The swim was not as easy as we imagined – our first open water experience was a little chilly, to say the least. Not only braving hurricane force winds and shark infested waters, we had to squeeze into our high school swimsuits, which were so tight it gave us front and back wedgies! Thank goodness for those wetsuits!


The Cycle:


The hardest of the three disciplines. To be honest we are ‘those people’ who scream out the window as we drive past a pack of cyclist and curse them for not staying in single file! So no, we are not avid cyclists and the thought of getting on a bicycle makes our skin crawl, but we did it! All it took was a few Wattbike sessions to get us warmed up for the open road, and before we knew it we were cruising down Suikerbossie telling the pros to ‘hold their line’ and ‘passing right.’


The Run:


The track sessions comprise of running laps around the field while keeping a steady pace. There are a few plyometrics thrown into the mix and then a stretch session to end things off. You’ll find yourself amongst the Usain Bolts and the Sunday Strollers – making you feel at ease to train at your preferred pace but still giving you the choice to turn up the heat. Rest assured, excuse the pun, you’ll never be last as there will always be a fitness fanatic geared up to lap you.


The summer beginner’s schedule comprises of 3 group-training sessions per week, but you are encouraged to join the more advanced classes too – basically, you can train 7 days a week if you really want to. So what are you waiting for? Get signed up and get your butt on that bike!

Keep an eye out for Part II and see how we survived our first sprint triathlon…


Although you might think triathletes don’t have a life, A.K.A don’t drink alcohol – you’ll be happy to know that you are encouraged to join the coaches and other team members at the bar for a well-deserved beer after most training sessions.

Price: R675 per month
Contact: Email: Website contact form | Tel: 082 739 9010
Location: Atlantic Seaboard, Northern Suburbs, Southern Suburbs, Blouberg, Somerset West and Johannesburg.
Social Media: Facebook: EmbarkTri | Twitter: @EmbarkTri  | Instagram: @embarktri

Wellness in the City
  • Kade van Schalkwyk

    September 25, 2015 at 2:27 pm Reply

    It will be my forst Triathlon as well. I am terribly nervious and excited, I have not joined a coaching team, but tried to train myself, so hopefully it goes alright. Good luck, and enjoy!! Kade

    • Wellness in the City

      September 25, 2015 at 3:04 pm Reply

      Hey Kade, thanks for getting in touch! You’ll do great, see you at the bar after the race for a well deserved beer!

  • Fatima Ajimudin

    June 26, 2019 at 8:14 pm Reply

    I live in Kimberley, is it at all possible for me to train alone.

    • Wellness in the City

      July 16, 2019 at 12:28 pm Reply

      Absolutely! You can check out Embarks website for training tips and also download a training schedule online.

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