Tips on Training for a Triathlon, Seattle-style

Kelly Singer
Swimming in Lake Washington

The idea of training for a triathlon can be more intimidating than the race itself.  As overwhelming as it sounds, signing up for a race and training for one is easier than you think. Lucky for you, Seattle is an ideal place to train for your first triathlon with our long spring and summer days, clean lakes, and year-round running and cycling routes (as long as you don’t mind a little rain). A few tips for getting started:

Open water swimming
First-time triathletes are usually nervous about open water swimming. Truth be told, the milfoil and dark water found in our Washington waters can take some getting used to, but with some planning and little acclimating, swiming in our local lakes can be an experience like no other. Seattle Parks and Recreation takes regular swimming "beach monitoring” tests to show bacteria levels in each lake and provides the information on their website. In general, Seward Park, Madison Park Beach, and Magnuson Beach are also well suited for open water swimming. Green Lake--despite its name--is actually one of the cleanest lakes in Seattle.

There are hundreds of bike trails around King County, some starting right at water’s edge making it easy to practice your swim-to-bike transitions. Mercer Island is a cyclist’s paradise as it not only offers some incredible views but the locals are familiar and courteous to cyclists. Lake Washington Boulevard (south of Mount Baker Beach to S. Orcas St.) is another gorgeous biking destination and there’s always the Burke Gilman Trail which you can ride from Ballard to Woodinville with a little stop at Red Hook Brewery before your ride back.


Seattle is home to one of the largest running communities in the country for good reason; the city offers a smorgasbord of running adventures.  Make your way to Discovery Park, Alki Beach, or stay at Green Lake after your swim for some of Seattle’s best running routes.   

Just as there’s a variety of places for you to train, there are triathlons of all sizes and distances held in and around Seattle all summer. Signing up with a friend or training team is a great way to stay motivated and socialize at the same time. You'll have a great time exploring your city.

Kelly Singer is Health and Fitness expert and a Brooks Bluestreak Sponsored Fitness Coach.  Her weekly blog post will feature fun ways to stay healthy and active in Seattle.