How many hours does a triathlete train in a year?

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Have I told you that triathlon is amazing? (Yes, many times, but I’ll say it again.) It’s a lifestyle. It’s challenging, but empowering. It’s time-consuming, but so much fun! It’s competitive, but your competitors will become your friends quicker than you can set up your transition area, I promise.

It’s addictive. And so is all the data about your training that you’ll undoubtedly begin collecting as soon as you get into it. With Strava, of course, where all runners, bikers and triathletes go to have fun obsess over their segments and course records immediately after they get home from training.

So it is courtesy of Strava that I give you the sum-total of my training in 2014. The miles and training hours, and a few select racing highlights. If you ever wondered how many hours a triathlete spends in training, or how many miles they swim, bike or run, here’s a glimpse at mine:

To Chicago and Back

Together, my swim-bike-running miles for 2014 would have taken me from my doorstep to the tip of the Pier in Chicago and back, with 145 miles to spare for sightseeing… Or running the route of the Chicago Marathon approximately five and a half times. Wait… That’s not a bad idea, someone should try it. Dean?

Miles: 4,422.5

Of those, just under 1,300 were on the run. Let’s make it a trip to Denver, Colorado, with 50-ish miles to spare… I’ll use them to get to the airport and fly back home!

Highest mileage month: June, 555 miles. Remember, this is swim, bike and run together. Summer months mean more riding, plus these were peak training weeks for Ironman 70.3 Vineman. It makes sense.

Lowest mileage month: April, 166 miles. I hardly rode a mile in April, dedicating the month to a ramped-up training plan for the Big Sur International Marathon. Makes sense again. Don’t you just love numbers?

Notably, December mileage was 196, nearly all of it running in prep for the North Face Endurance Challenge 50K. ‘Twas the season!

Working Girl

Let’s talk hours now. Care to guess how many hours a triathlete spends in training? Days?

I don’t know what the “normal” is, but these are my stats:

Hours training: 517

That’s 64 and a half 8-hour work days, FYI. No time for lunch runch.

Longest hours: June and July, with 55 each, or an average 13:45 a week.

Shortest hours: December, 30 hours or an average 7.5 a week.

Hey! Kind of like the calendar. Long days in the summer, short in the winter. Makes sense, right?

The (Twice-)Daily Grind

As for number of workouts (or activities), that’s 633 for me, or an average 1.75 per day. I do count things like riding a bike to the gym or work an activity (hours in the saddle are hours in the saddle, regardless!), but let’s face it: twice-a-days are a way of tri-life, and super fun once you get used to them. Also, twice-a-days are usually big appetite days, just so you know.

And, since the average American coffee drinker drinks 3 cups a day and triathletes love coffee and it’s a performance enhancer, an average of a cup and a half per workout per day is a perfectly normal thing to do in your life.

I totally just justified two-a-days, someone please make a meme out of this or I’ll just put one here that hardly has anything to do with anything:

Speaking of Marathons…

(And see? Marathon meme completely appropriate now.)

A few fun racing stats:

Total miles raced: 401

That’s 14 races, of which:
3 x 70.3-distance triathlons (half-Iron)
one 56-mile bike leg in a half-Iron distance race relay
one 50K (that was really a 51.5K due to a last-minute course change)
one marathon
2 x sprint-distance triathlons
two half marathons (I can’t believe I only raced two in 2014!)
two 10Ks
one 5-mile run
one 5K

P-to-the-R trivia

Clocked a few PRs last year, including:

5K: 23:11 min (on tired legs while building mileage for Big Sur; can do better in 2015!)
10K: 49:13 min (also tired legs, during peak week for Ironman 70.3 Vineman)
Half marathon: 1:49:19 at the Giant Race in SF.
70.3: 5:36:50 at my third try at that distance, a full hour of improvement over the first.

Let’s play favorites

No year-in-review is complete without mentioning a few of my favorite races, so here we are, in no particular order:

The Big Sur International Marathon. One for every runner’s bucket list! It was my slowest marathon yet and worth every minute on this incredible course!

Ironman 70.3 Vineman for the beautiful course.

Challenge Rancho Cordova for the pristine swim, a very smoothly organized inaugural event and great race experience overall.

Ironman 70.3 California (Oceanside) for my favorite medal and best birthday party ever!

It’s been a great year. Thanks for being a part of it! (Sorry, Facebook, couldn’t help it.)

If you’d like to follow my swim-bike-run shenanigans in 2015, head over to Strava, Instagram and Facebook, and let’s be friends! I’ll continue to post race recaps here, of course, or other big/ interesting announcements.

Here’s to a healthy, sweaty, injury-free and PR-full 2015!

7 thoughts on “How many hours does a triathlete train in a year?

  • Pingback: A Triathlete’s Year: 2015 by the numbers | Train with Purpose. Race with Heart

    • January 5, 2015 at 11:10 pm

      Thanks! It’s fun to put all that stuff together at the end of each year 🙂

    • January 5, 2015 at 11:13 pm

      Ha, yeah – funny! And it looks like I must join in on one of those coffee dates you co-host 🙂 That would be quite appropriate, indeed!

  • January 5, 2015 at 3:16 am

    Nice year! I didn’t start strava until midyear and don’t log trainer or treadmil hours on it. Wonder if I could get stats out of training peaks. I agree it is a lot…the two a days are tough. Especially in winter when it is dark and I want to hibernate under a blanket.

  • January 5, 2015 at 1:52 am

    I shall happily settle for just cheering you on 🙂


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