The world of triathlon offers a unique blend of endurance, athleticism and camaraderie.  Whether you’re a seasoned Ironman or you’ve decided that this season will kick-start your triathlon passion, it takes courage and commitment to push your body to the limit and revel in the challenge of swimming, biking and running your way to the finish line. 

What is a Triathlon Distance?

Triathlons come in various distances, catering to athletes of all levels. The most common distances include:

Sprint Triathlon: Typically consists of a 750-meter swim, a 20-kilometer bike ride, and a 5-kilometer run.

Olympic Triathlon: Also known as the standard distance, it usually comprises a 1.5-kilometer swim, a 40-kilometer bike ride, and a 10-kilometer run.

Half Ironman (70.3): This distance involves a 1.9-kilometer swim, a 90-kilometer bike ride, and a 21.1-kilometer run.

Ironman: The pinnacle of endurance triathlons, an Ironman consists of a 3.86-kilometer swim, a 180.25-kilometer bike ride, and a full marathon (42.2 kilometers).

Difference Between Ironman and Triathlon

The term "triathlon" is often used interchangeably with "Ironman," but there is a distinction between the two. Triathlon is a broader category encompassing various race distances, including sprint, Olympic, and half Ironman distances. Ironman, on the other hand, refers specifically to the full-distance triathlon organized by the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC), known for its grueling 140.6-mile course. Completing an Ironman is a monumental achievement that requires extensive training and dedication.

What is a Basic Triathlon?

Usually referred to as Sprint or Olympic distance races, which tend to be a little more accessible for beginners.  These races have shorter distances but still offer a very challenging test of endurance.  These races often attract newcomers to the sport who are looking to experience the task of multisport racing without committing to the demands of longer distances.

What Do You Do in a Triathlon? What is Required?

In a triathlon, participants must swim, bike, and run consecutively, transitioning between disciplines in designated areas called transition zones. The swim leg takes place in open water or a pool, followed by the bike leg on roads or trails, and concludes with the run leg. Athletes must navigate the course, adhere to race rules, and transition efficiently between disciplines to optimize their performance.

Triathlon Gear

Triathlon gear plays a crucial role in optimizing performance and comfort throughout the race. Kit essentials includes:

  • Swim Gear: Swim cap, goggles, wetsuit (depending on water temperature), and swim-specific apparel.
  • Bike Gear: Triathlon or road bike, aero helmet, cycling shoes, sunglasses, hydration system, and cycling apparel.
  • Run Gear: Running shoes, race belt, visor or hat, and appropriate running attire.
  • Transition Gear: Towel, transition mat, bike rack, and any additional items needed for quick transitions between disciplines.

Types of Bikes Used for Triathlons

Triathletes commonly use two types of bikes:

  1. Road Bike: Versatile and suitable for various terrains, road bikes feature drop handlebars and are commonly used by beginners and experienced triathletes.
  2. Triathlon/Time Trial (TT) Bike: Designed specifically for triathlon racing, TT bikes feature aerodynamic frames, integrated handlebars, and a more aggressive riding position to maximize speed and efficiency.

Can You Swim, Bike, and Run in a Tri Suit?

Yes!  A tri suit is designed specially to be worn throughout the entire race from your swim to the bike and run leg.  Tri suits are made from quick-drying, moisture-wicking fabric and provide compression and comfort without hindering movement.

Wearing a tri suit eliminates the need to change clothes between disciplines, streamlining transitions and saving you valuable time during the race.

Regardless of your level, the excitement of competing and completing a triathlon is something to be incredibly proud of.  With determination and dedication and let’s not forget some serious training, you’ll discover the incredible rewards that come from pushing your limits and achieving your dreams in the sport of triathlon.


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