Book Review: Triathlon Start to Finish

Triathlon Start to Finish – Sam Murphy

What’s it all about?



Avid runner, Sam Murphy, avoided triathlon for years, feeling it was too complicated and too competitive. When she took a media spot at the London Triathlon in 2006, with the objective of writing a story about it, she began to train and was quickly hooked.

Triathlon Start to Finish stemmed from her love of triathlon, her willingness to let others learn from her mistakes and her belief that triathlon can, and should be fun.

The Good

Triathlon Start to Finish lives up to its name. If you’ve never done a triathlon, but would like to give it a go, this is the perfect book to take you through the training and racing process step-by-step. All triathlon disciplines are covered thoroughly as well as choosing a race and setting goals, transitions, race planning, and nutrition. Stretches and drills are well-explained and include clear, colour photos which are understandable, even for a complete beginner. Also included, courtesy of elite triathlete and coach, Richard Allen, are six-week beginner training plans for sprint- and standard- (Olympic) distance races and an standard-distance improver plan. The training plans are well spelled-out, giving specific instruction as to intensity levels with a thorough explanation of what these levels mean.

The Great

What makes Triathlon Start to Finish unique and sets it apart from a lot of other triathlon books on the market is that Murphy knows who she is talking to. She has written a very comprehensive book, but she’s not trying to target a total beginner and a hardcore ironman. Triathlon Start to Finish focuses on the less hardcore, the growing number of newbies in the sport who want to race well, but race for fun. Not that an experienced triathlete won’t find helpful hints though, even the long-term race junkie might find a new drill or a helpful bike fit tip, but Murphy warns that the book is not for someone looking to discuss which tyres will ‘shave 0.001g off your bike’s weight’. She’s left that to other authors. Murphy writes in a way that feels like she is sharing her experience with a friend, which makes for an enjoyable read, but includes the advice of other (very knowledgable) friends, such as sports scientists, coaches and other triathletes to ensure that the advice is sound.

The Not-So-Great

It’s hard to find much to complain about in Triathlon Start to Finish. It doesn’t have a lot for those wanting to go longer and harder, but it doesn’t apologise for that. Its beginner focus is one of its strengths. Perhaps longer training plans would be helpful, as six weeks is not a lot of time for a total newbie to get race-ready, but it is explained in the book that a base level of fitness is assumed.

Worth Reading?

Triathlon Start to Finish is a worthwhile read for any beginner or fairly new triathlete, especially those working without the guidance of a coach. The best part is that it’s actually enjoyable reading, giving good advice, but in a way that’s not dry or boring. Triathlon Start to Finish provides a sound knowledge base to get anyone on the right track to triathlon racing fun.

Trigirl Review: 5 stars out of  5

Click here to buy from Amazon: Triathlon: Start to Finish

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