Triathlon Journey: The Initial Steps [Part 1]


Earlier this year, I went on a cycling trip with my family. I feel exhausted even after a short ride. I was very disappointed with my fitness level. Then, I decided to take up a small challenge after that trip - a 5KM race hosted at Macau.

I followed a Coach to 5K program and trained for 8 weeks. I completed the 5KM run and broke my personal best time. I felt peace and satisfaction when I stood at the finish line, hearing the cheers of the crowd, and feeling the adrenaline rush. That’s when I decided to take up a bigger challenge - a triathlon.

I am careful that the goal should be achievable but still challenging enough. The objective of the triathlon is to complete it, not to win it. A sprint distance triathlon is a great starting point for me. It is the shortest triathlon distance, consisting of a 750m swim, 20KM bike ride, and 5KM run. This is still challenging to me though. I know I have to plan my training, set realistic goals, and stay disciplined.

I am participating in the Shanghai Jinshan Triathlon in October 2024, four months from now.

title Triathlon Journey
Jan 31, 2024 : Japan cycling
March 17, 2024 : Macau 5KM race
April 6, 2024 : Decision to Register Shanghai Jinshan Triathlon
October 19, 2024 : Shanghai Jinshan Triathlon

I will write a series of blog posts to document my journey from a total beginner to the race day, whether I succeed or fail. This is my biggest challenge yet, both to my body and my mind.

This blog post is the first in the series. It is about the initial steps I took.

Learning the Basics

I don’t have a coach or a mentor. I am learning everything from the internet, which is my favorite way of learning. The resource is abundant and free. Here are the best resources I found.

GTN (Global Triathlon Network) have a lot of videos on triathlon training, tips, and gears. Coaches Corner is a great series, where they answer questions from viewers and provide training tips as if they are your personal coach. It help me a lot to understand the science behind the training, such as nutrition and recovery.

Patrick Delorenzi starts out as a total beginner in triathlon and documents his journey on YouTube. He is very honest and open about his struggles and achievements. I can relate to him a lot. He gives me a lot of motivation - anything can happen through careful planning and real hard work. His video are detailed and informative. I love to watch his videos during my drive to work.

Matt LeGrand is a reviewer of triathlon electronic gadgets. I watched his videos about the Apple Watch on swimming, cycling and running. Thanks to his review on the multisport mode of the Apple Watch, I am certain that my Series 4 is more than enough for me on my triathlon journey. I don’t need to buy a dedicated triathlon watch, which is expensive.


Triathlon Taren has a lot of videos on triathlon training. He created an app called MOTTIV. After entering my information and goals and the date of the race, the app generated a training plan for me. I followed the plan for the first month.

Day Activity Duration
Monday Swim MAIN 45 - 60 min
Tuesday STRENGTH #1 25 - 35 min
Wednesday Cycling INTENSE #1 32 min
Thursday Running INTENSE 33 min
Friday STRENGTH #2 25 - 35 min
Saturday Cycling MAIN 45 min - 3 hrs
Sunday Running MAIN 30 - 75 min

Triathlon is sport that requires not the best in one discipline, but good in all three.


Swimming is my biggest challenge. I have no swimming background at all. I can swim, but I have not gone through any formal training at all. Even worse, I only know how to swim breaststroke, which is not the most efficient stroke for long distance swimming. I must self-learn freestyle and swim for 750 meters.


For the cycling training, I have an old road bike. It is bought a few years ago when I was in college. I have not used it for a long time.

According to my original plan, I will ride that bike outdoor. However, the weather is not good in my area. It is either raining or too hot. I don’t want to ride in the rain or under the sun. I have to find an alternative.

I bought a smart trainer. It is a device that can turn my road bike into a stationary bike. I can ride indoor. The resistance can be adjusted to match the structured workout plan, changing the power in each interval.

I used Zwift as the training platform software. Zwift is quite expensive and I have tried to find other alternative. However, I can’t find any that is as good as Zwift. I will stick to Zwift for now.


This is the easiest discipline for me. I have been running for months. I did not run 5KM very often though. I will have to increase the distance to match with the race distance.