So what is it?
A Triathlon, or Tri for short, is a multi-sport event which consists of three disciplines – Swim, Bike and Run. The events are always run back to back and always in the order previously mentioned, with the exception of a reverse triathlon (run, bike and swim). The participants of a triathlon are known as Triathletes.
Triathletes are placed in age groups in which they compete for the fastest overall course time. This overall course time includes the transition time it takes to go from swim to bike and from bike to run. The first transition is referred to as T1 and the second transition is referred to as T2.
Triathlon race distances can vary according to the race director and location, but there some standard distances that have been established by USA Triathlon and the International Triathlon Union.
Sprint Distance – 750m swim, 20km bike and 5k run
Olympic Distance (aka International and Standard) – 1500m swim, 40k bike and 10k run
Long Course (Half Ironman) – 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and 13.1 mile run
Ultra Distance (Full Ironman) – 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and 26.2 mile run
The two most common races are Sprint and Olympic distance. These distances are more achievable for all ages. Half Iron and Iron distance require more commitment and training. With smart and structured training anyone can complete any distance they desire. Be careful, triathlons can be highly addictive. Triathletes are very friendly and very supportive of others, this combined with the rewarded experience of completing a race can bring you back for more and more.
I am scared of the swim portion
Depending on the location of the race, the swim portion of a triathlon can take place in a pool, lake, river or ocean. Most triathletes will swim in their tri clothing. If the water is cold enough, wetsuits will be permitted. Wetsuits offer extra buoyancy for swimmers which translates to a flotation device for a tired swimmer.
What do I need to get?
You don’t need to drop thousands of dollars on a bike or buy tons of gear to get started. You can find a great breakdown of triathlon gear here.
Where do I find tri workouts?
There are many free resources online for triathlon workouts. Here is a great beginner triathlon workout site.