Triathlon Distances: Sprint, Olympic, 70.3 and Ironman

Do you want to tri? Swim, cycle, run.

A triathlon features the three disciplines of swimming, cycling, and running. The components are completed in that order. A triathlete trains for each discipline as well as learns to do those skills one right after another. Another component of the race includes two transitions. Transition one (T1) shifts from swimming to cycling. Transition two (T2) requires changing from cycling to running. Transitions are included in overall time of a triathlon.

When choosing a triathlon race there are four different races to choose from; sprint distance, Olympic distance, Half Ironman, and Ironman. Although the distances can vary in small degrees, these are the most common distances for each race. Various factors should be considered when thinking about the average times for each race. Race times can vary greatly depending on age group, gender, race day weather, and race terrain.

Sprint Distance Triathlon Length

750m (.46 miles) Swim
20km (12 miles) Bike
5km (3.1 miles) Run

Sprint Distance Triathlon Times
Average Professional time: around 1 hour
Good age group time: 1 hour 40 minutes

If you are a beginning triathlete, a sprint distance triathlon is a great place to begin.

Olympic Distance Triathlon Length

1.5km (.93 miles) Swim
40km (25 miles) Bike
10km (6.2 miles) Run

Olympic Distance Triathlon Times
Average Professional time: Just under 2 hours
Good age group time: 2 hours 15 minutes to 3 hours

An Olympic distance triathlon is considered the intermediate or standard length.

Half Ironman Distance Triathlon Length

1.9km (1.2 miles) Swim
90km (56 miles) Bike
21.1km (13.1 miles) Run

Half Ironman Distance Triathlon Times
Average Professional time: 4 hours
Good age group time: 6 hours

The Half Ironman requires a great measure of endurance as the running portion of the race is a half marathon.

Ironman Distance Triathlon Length

3.9km (2.4 miles) Swim
180km (112 miles) Bike
42.2 km (26.2 miles) Run

Ironman Distance Triathlon Times
Average Professional time: 8 hours
Good age group time: 12 hours and 35 minutes

The ultra distance of an Ironman finishes with a full marathon. Most Ironman races have a 17 hour time limit to complete the race.

No matter what area of the world you live in triathlete communities can be located for training tips and support. Races specific to gender and tailored for first time triathletes are available. There are also a variety of categories to choose from in racing. Age group categories usually ascend in five year intervals. A triathlete can even choose the mixed age group category to race with training partners of all ages.

While training requires dedication, crossing the finish line is well worth all the hard work. Races are particularly inspiring because you will find men and woman of all ages from teenagers to senior citizens competing.

Completing a triathlon is a wonderful way to stretch and challenge yourself. Triathlons are often completed in community and foster a sense of belonging and friendship in those who participate.

Do you want to tri? Join the triathlete community and conquer an accomplishment you can be proud of.

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