Triathlon coach? Who needs one?

by | Updated: December 3rd, 2016 | Read time: 2 minutes

Q. Do I have to hire a coach to do a triathlon? I’ve never done one before.
Jenny, Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

A. Even though I derive most of my income from coaching triathletes, my answer is a resounding “No.”

Having said that, a swim coach might be helpful for those new to triathlon training. The simple fact is that swimming requires at least a basic level of technique, and you may not be able to develop that on your own. Paying for a swim coach is an investment that will make your triathlon experience much more enjoyable””and more likely to pay off on race day.

The best advice I have for a “DIY” triathlete is to try to do two run, two bike and two swim workouts each week. That gives you six days of workouts, with one day off. If you have the time, add in another workout for the sport you enjoy most. (If you pick your least favorite of the swim-bike-run trio, you’re more likely to skip it.) Remember, doing something will do a lot more toward getting you to the finish line than doing nothing.

It’s also a good idea to establish a somewhat formal schedule to follow each week of your training. This way you’ll know, for example, that Mondays and Thursdays are always swim days, Tuesdays and Saturdays you bike, Wednesdays and Fridays are the days you run””and Sunday is your day off. Add in a short run after your bike on Saturday, and you have a great plan of attack.

Good luck!

Team Marsh

Amy Marsh is a four-time Ironman champion, two-time IronDistance champion, and was named the 2010 USAT Long Distance Triathlete of the Year. Brandon Marsh has been competing in triathlons since 1988, and can be counted on to be a top-10 contender in every event he enters. Got a question about swim-bike-run or sports nutrition for Team Marsh? Email them at