Biathlon Training For the Beginner

You’ve decided you want to cross the finish line at a Biathlon this year!

Now that you’ve decided to make the commitment, you may need some help figuring out where to start and what to do. Memorial SportsCare’s athletic trainers devised a training program to help beginners get into the right condition to be able to participate in the biathlon.

The biathlon consists of 12 miles of biking on gently rolling hills followed by a 3.1-mile run on a mostly flat course. At the end of the training program, you’ll be able to complete both – what an amazing achievement.

You can also participate in the biathlon as a relay, where you complete one leg of the race, and your partner completes the other half.

You may feel nervous or anxious about racing, and this is very normal. One important thing to note is that while this is a USAT-sanctioned event, it is considered non-competitive. There are no medals for first place, only smiles and cheers for crossing that finish line. Everyone wins in this race!

For a day-by-day training schedule for beginners, visit

Here are some highlights from the training program:

Training Protocol
This 12-week beginners program is designed for individuals with little or no background in running. The workouts start with walking only and gradually advance to combinations of walking and running. Toward the end of the program, you will progress to running only. If you feel you are a bit more advanced and would like to start with some running, choose your appropriate point in the program to start. Just remember not to start too quickly.

The Workouts
This program includes rest days, walking and running at an easy pace. You will monitor and adjust the intensity of these workouts using the Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale. This scale rates your workouts by how you feel. The ratings range from 1 (very light), such as sitting and watching TV, to 10 (maximum effort), which is running as fast as you possibly can.

Easy Runs
Easy runs should be completed at a pace that feels comfortable to fairly comfortable, or a rating of 3 to 4 on the RPE scale. You should be breathing hard but still able to carry on a conversation. If you are breathing so hard that you cannot talk, you are running too hard. If you can sing, you are running too easily. Moderate runs should be at a pace that rates 5-6 on the RPE scale. Fast runs should be at a pace that rates above 6 on the RPE scale.

Warm Up
Be sure to warm up before each workout. Your warm-up should consist of about 10 minutes of easy walking. After your workout, gently stretch all of your major muscle groups. Do not stretch until your muscles are warmed up.

Rest is a very important part of any training program. Without proper rest, your muscles and connective tissues will not have an opportunity to recover and strengthen properly. On the days that call for complete rest, do no strenuous activity. Some days call for rest or cross training, which can be any activity other than running. You could walk, swim, bicycle or do nothing. It is up to you. Stability ball training is encouraged at least two days a week for 15 minutes.