So I was a great swimmer (2k), cyclist (100+ milers) okish runner. (10k max)

After the brain tumor like diagnosis and hospitalization, things went cold. Started running again in a few months and Nike+ Running App recommended the advanced program for my first ever 5k race. (That was top on my bucket list)

I loved the program, it's all about distance, so just for a 5k race the "advanced" program had me run 16K! on one of the days!

Signed up for a 10k next, got a bicycle and there's a swimming pool nearby. Next on my bucket list is a triathlon.

Unfortunately for the 10k one week I ran a lot (Advanced program has you running 5-6 times per week), on the ONE rest day I had I bloody cycled. Kinda really injured my quads.

So I figured I need to meld my swimming and cycling somehow without injuring myself, and that is my question.

How do I somehow cycle and swim occasionally when I run about 4/5/6 times a week and not injure myself?

Replacing the run for cycling on any day isn't too good right? Since the goal is to run a 10k race now. Is there a way to balance them without compromising on the running?

2 Answers 2


I would presume that you are falling into the same trap that many recreational runners and triathletes fall into, in that you are going too hard on your easy days, and not hard enough on your hard days. So, you're in a perpetual state of "almost" recovered, and then busted out a cycle day that thrashed you for a while.

Just like your advanced couch to 5k, there are many (quite a few of them free) training plans for triathlons. Perfectly fine to even stack multiple workouts in a day, as long as you are paying attention and really sticking to the easy/medium/hard levels for workouts. That is the biggest key, because the key to endurance sports is being able to get up every day and get the work in. Does no good to put in three killer days and then need 5 days of rest.

I have found that the beginner programs on Beginner Triathlete are very well put together and have different emphases if you are a good runner already, or cyclist, etc. In addition they have mentor groups, some of them affiliated to certain plans that give you a group to talk with and a couple of experienced triathletes as mentors/sounding boards. Really a great resource.

  • Thanks so much for your answer. Could you explain on "as you are paying attention and really sticking to the easy/medium/hard levels for workouts". I do make sure I get up everyday to workout. Or should I just focus, finish this 10k then get on a beginner tri programme ?
    – gideon
    Mar 27, 2015 at 18:00
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    No, I mean that if you are going to do an easy run day, do an easy run day! Don't daydream and suddenly find yourself doing 1 minute faster pace than your target. Especially on multiple workout days, follow what the program says. Resist the urge to put in extra effort because "you feel good". And if you can run, you are already miles ahead (pun intended) over most triathletes.
    – JohnP
    Mar 27, 2015 at 18:09
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    Pro cycling season was spring through fall, peaking in July. In the mid winter training rides there were guys doing brutal hill intervals, "winning" all the training rides. We called them Christmas Stars. Come the season a few months later they were fried.
    – Eric
    Mar 28, 2015 at 1:35
  • @JohnP I hear you. Thanks for the response. Yea the app also warned me with an "overtraining message" I'm going to stick with the program. Still my question remains how do I stuff cycling and swimming in the run programme I'm doing already. Can I do an easy cycle on an easy run day ? Or replace an easy run with easy cycle (and the distance will be 4 times the run just like most tris). Will that not lead to me getting fried ?
    – gideon
    Mar 28, 2015 at 4:41

Get a coach or join a team.

Although I can recommend the Couch to 5k/10k, it's harder for me to do the same for a Couch-to-Triathlon scheme.

Triathlon is not just Swim/Bike/Run - There is Technics involved, transistions to master and flows to understand.

You need to gradually increase your abilities in 3 (three) different type of sports, which each has it's own unique issues.

The most dangerous thing I can think of is that you will simply hurt yourself.

Free/Handed out Triathlon plans, are only a skeleton, if it's not followed by a trainer/coach, can lead to injuries.

  • I don't think there are any triathlon coaches where I live! lol Besides, I'm sure it's not rocket science. The one race I've been, the guy who won the 10k ran barefoot, those african runners you see winning are there because they had to run from their home to school growing up. I think coaches and all this swag is just a great way for folks to make money. Yea, there are unique issues as you put them, but one can certainly learn on their own. I'm doing this for the fun of it.
    – gideon
    Mar 29, 2015 at 14:29
  • @gideon - That's one of the reasons I recommended beginner triathlete and the mentor groups. It's really not that hard. There are also training groups, triathlon clubs, many group ways to approach it. I know people that do two or three workouts daily for weeks in a row and do just fine.
    – JohnP
    Mar 29, 2015 at 14:43
  • @JohnP so you're saying drop the programme for the 10k and do a beginner tri program instead ? That does sound doable.
    – gideon
    Mar 29, 2015 at 16:45

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