Are you training for a triathlon yourself or getting ready to cheer on the triathletes in the upcoming Olympic Summer Games in London?
If the answer is “yes” to either, then you’ve come to the right place for a quick review of triathlons.
What is a triathlon?
Triathlons are indicated by three different long-distance, endurance athletic events combined into one single sport:
There is no stopping and resting between events–they are to be completed continuously, one to the next. Typically triathlons start with the swim leg, then on to biking and finish with a run, though some events swap the order. A cumulative finish time, each separate leg of the event, as well as transition times are recorded. Transition times are the moments between events: the time from the water exit to getting on the bike and from transitioning from biking to running.
According to the International Triathlon Union, the main, accepted tri distances is considered the “sprint” course. Here are the distances for each leg of a triathlon and their respective event names:
Traditional Sprint Course Triathlon
- Swim: .47 miles
- Bike: 12 miles
- Run: 3.1 miles
Intermediate Standard Olympic Course Triathlon (a.k.a. 5150)
- Swim: .93 miles
- Bike: 25 miles
- Run: 6.2 miles
Long Course Triathlon Distances (a.k.a. Half Ironman or 70.3)
- Swim: 1.2 miles
- Bike: 56 miles
- Run: 13.1 miles
Ultra Distance Triathlon (a.k.a. Ironman)
- Swim: 2.4 miles
- Bike: 112 miles
- Run: 26.2
The triathlon is gaining in popularity since its 1974 debut on the sports scene. In fact, the triathlon was not part of the Olympics until the Sydney Olympics in 2000.
So, find a triathlon near you and try out this fun, challenging sport. People love it because it combines three very different disciplines requiring an array of abilities encouraging all-around fitness. Already training? Here are some gear tips for the big day!