So, You’re Doing A Triathlon…
This is the first part of a series if you are just starting your triathlon journey. If you already know the difference between a Sprint and an Ironman and everything in between you should skip to the next section: Here.
You are probably here because for one of three reasons; one of your friends peer pressured you into doing a triathlon, you thought training for a triathlon was a great way to get in shape or lose weight, or doing a triathlon is on your bucket list of things you want to do before you die, and maybe even a combination of some of the three. Whatever the reason for your journey, my goal is to help you finish your first race with a smile on your face. This series is the best place to start if you want your triathlon to be an enjoyable, pain
free, or at the very least as painless as possible experience.
As you probably already know a triathlon event is a combination of a swim, bike, and a run at a certain distance. Just like running events have different distances, such as 5ks, 10ks, ½ marathons, and marathons, triathlons have different distance races that can accommodate almost any skill level.
The Sprint Distance
The sprint triathlon, or even sometimes known as the short course triathlon, generally consists of a half-mile (750 m) swim, a 12.4-mile (20-km) bike ride, and a 3.1-mile (5-km) run. Distances can very slightly on the sprint but from my experience they generally don’t vary much from the distances listed above. If you are thinking about doing a triathlon I strongly recommend that you start with the sprint distance. As mentioned in my triathlon story it is much better to start with a sprint if you’re thinking about doing a triathlon.
The Olympic Distance
The Olympic distance, as you may have already guessed, is called the Olympic distances because it’s the distance that they compete in at the Summer Olympics. The Olympic distance consists of a swim that is just under a mile (1500 m), a 25 mile bike ride (40 km), and a run that is 6.2 miles (10 km). Even if you are in exceptionally good shape I would recommend you complete at least one sprint before diving into the Olympic distance.
The Half Ironman Distance
The Half Ironman Distance also commonly known as “a half triathlon” consists of a 1.2 mile (2000 m) swim, a 56 mile (90 km) bike ride, and a 13.1 mile (21.1 km) run. It’s also sometimes referred to as a “70.3” which is what the race distances add up to in miles. If you’re planning on crossing an Ironman distance off your list I recommend you get a few Half Ironman distances under your belt.
The Ironman Distance
The Ironman distance is on many bucket lists as a must do in life. The Ironman distance is probably the most known distance and consists of a 2.4 mile (4,000 m) swim, a 112 mile (180 km) bike ride, and a 26.2 mile (42.2 km) run at the end. Depending on your athletic ability you might start at a different distance than others but as I mentioned above, if this is your first triathlon, you cannot go wrong choosing a sprint as your introduction to the sport of triathlon.
But Which Race Should I Sign Up For?
While I recommend a sprint distance triathlon to almost everyone starting out check out the next section in the series to decide what is the best strategy when selecting a race: