SEARCH:       Saturday, June 22, 2024
subscribe to our e-newsletter

Fitness Tip of the Day!
Fat vs. Fit?
The Cooper Institute published a study in 2004 showing that the health risks associated with an elevated BMI are reduced in diabetics if their fitness level is high (Diabetes Care, 2004). So, get out there and walk, run, bike, swim, play tennis or do anything that gets your heart rate up!

7 Weeks To A Triathlon

Author: Stewart B, Elliot L
Category: Sports Performance
Audience: Consumer
Length: 142 pages
Publisher: Ulysses Press
  Year Published: 2012
List Price: $14.95® Rating: Good

7 Weeks To A Triathlon is a training guide for people contemplating entering a triathlon.

Recommended for: anyone planning to compete in a triathlon: first-timers, intermediates, experienced triathletes.


Brett Stewart is a national-caliber triathlete, certified personal trainer (NCCPT), and running and triathlon coach. Brett has raced in dozens of triathlons, including the grueling IronMan triathlon. He has also competed in marathons and ultra-marathons. Stewart has published many other fitness training books.

Lewis Elliot is a professional triathlete. He turned pro at age 21. He was also a US National Team Cyclist. He has represented the USA in five World Championships and won three US National Championships. He has been the overall winner in over 150 multisport events. His PR in the IronMan triathlon is 8 hrs and 38 min.


The 142-page text is organized as follows:

PART I: Overview

  • Chapter 1: What Is A Triathlon?
  • Chapter 2: Why Triathlon?
  • Chapter 3: Frequently Asked Questions
  • Chapter 4: Getting Started in Triathlon
  • Chapter 5: Taking It To The Next Level

PART II: The Programs

  • Chapter 6: Beginner Program
  • Chapter 7: Advanced Program

PART III: Beyond The Program

  • Chapter 8: Cross-Training for Triathlon Success
  • Chapter 9: Cross-Training Exercises


Author Brett Stewart explains how he got started in triathlon competition on p. 9. This is a nice discussion because the reader makes an immediate connection with the author; ie., the reader realizes that Stewart was just a regular guy before he got serious. Lewis Elliot explains his early career on p. 50. This is also a nice discussion, but, it should be at the beginning of the book where Stewart's summary appears.

"Taking It To The Next Level" (chapter 5) begins on p. 41. This is followed by the 2 chapters that summarize the training programs: the 7-week training program for novice triathletes (p. 56-72), and the program for experienced triathletes (p. 73-87). Since training comes before competing, it seems odd to discuss "Taking It To The Next Level" before the training programs have been presented.

Also perplexing: why is "7 weeks" the desired length of the training program? Unless I missed it, I didn't see this question explained anywhere in the book. It turns out that there is an entire line of fitness training books with the title "7 Weeks To _____". But, I had to go to to discover this.

The page layout/design for the training tables could be better. The font is a bit hard to read. Also, the choice to produce the book in landscape format means that a single training week is presented across 2 pages. If the book was produced in standard portrait orientation, then, a single week could fit on one page. This would make it easier for an athlete to photocopy their current training week and tape it to his/her refrigerator....which is what I would do if I was following a training program. Eliminating the gray background of these tables would make photocopied pages even more legible.

I liked the inclusion of the cross-training exercises and stretches in chapter 9, though I had 2 concerns:

• The "Reverse Crunch" on p. 97 is billed as a good core exercise with "very limited stress on the lower back." However, these straight-leg raises while lying on your back might do exactly, strain the lower back muscles due to the forward tilting of the pelvis as the hip flexors pull against it to raise the legs off the ground. (A safer way to exercise the lower abdominal muscles is to first bring the heels up to the buttocks, and point the knees outward. Doing leg raises while in this "frog-leg" position removes the hip flexors from the exercise and forces the abdominal muscles to do the work.)

• Regarding leg stretches, the authors provide stretches for hamstrings and quads, but omit the lower leg muscles (gastrocnemius, soleus) and also do not include IT band stretches. However, they do include wrist stretches. It seems odd to include wrist stretches but not these other leg stretches.

The authors are to be commended for providing a "healthy" approach to training: On p. 20, they mention how healthy and fit you can get if you train for a triathlon. On p. 24, they emphasize that it is important to not compromise your sleep in order to train. These are good statements. So many elite athletes punish their health by getting up before dawn to train before they go to work. Inadequate sleep combined with strenuous and prolonged aerobic exercise can depress the immune system.

Photos & Illustrations: Lots of black-and-white photos accompany the exercises and stretches in chapter 9.

Tables & Graphs: The training programs are presented in tables. Generally, these are good, though, some of the text could be eliminated to make them shorter, and a better font choice and elimination of the gray background would improve their legibility (see above).

Documentation / Accuracy: No citations to published literature are provided. The Glossary and Index are well-done.

Picky Details: On page 32, the authors explain how to determine the correct size bike to buy. They identify that the important measurement is the distance from the top bar to the ground, but then discuss wheel diameter. After reading this several times, I am still confused.

What I Liked: The book is succinct. Readers should be able to construct a decent triathlon-training plan from this book.

What Could Be Better: For athletes who might want to photocopy the training programs, address the page style/formatting issues mentioned above. Also nice to include would have been: where to find a triathlon coach, and, if there is any coaching certification for this specialty; some rudimentary tips on nutrition (eg., avoid nutrition bars that contain fat or fiber; the importance of ingesting carbs during a long race and protein immediately after); and, a list of the web sites for the major triathlon organizations.


In general, 7 Weeks To A Triathlon is a useful book for people planning on competing in a triathlon. The authors, who are both very accomplished triathletes, provide a straight-forward and practical resource. Addressing the several deficiencies mentioned above would raise this book up to 4-stars. A better book, I feel is "Triathlon 101" by John Mora.

Other Books on Training for a Triathlon:

Reviewed by: Stan Reents, PharmD 4/5/2017 8:17:16 AM

Home | Fitness Tools | Library | Sports Nutrition | About Us | Contact Us | Copyright ©2004-2024 AthleteInMe, LLC

Privacy Statement |  Terms Of Use