How to get into a Triathlon

Peter Armstrong

Über Member
I would like to complete a Triathlon,

After Starting running at the start of the year, I added on cycling on last month, I will move onto swimming very soon, but I have many questions

What distance Triathlon would you suggest first?

How fast do you need in all 3 areas before you should enter a race?
e.g. 10k run under 50 mins............Swim Blar Blar under 30mins etc etc

Is there a fun run type triathlon where I wont get laughed at for having a crap bike and a slow time?
 

Eoin Rua

Active Member
Location
Belfast
The thing that has struck me the most about triathlons are the range of ages and the huge range of abilities. Sure there are people who compete to race, but if you're just starting out the only real competition is with yourself - take everything in your own time, relax and just go out and enjoy it.

Start off with try-a-tri races or sprint distance races and gradually build it up from there
 

fimm

Veteran
Location
Edinburgh
The shortest "usual" triathlon distance is known as a Sprint, and has a 750m (or 400m) swim, 20km (or so, depending on the course) bike and 5km (see notes on bike course length) run.
You also get triathlons often branded "novice", "try a tri" or similar, at roughly half those distances (for example my club organises a women's triathlon at 400m swim, 10km bike, 5km run (which seems a disproportionately long run to me, but what do I know).
So that's your obvious starting point, and you would not get laughed at all for your kit or speed.

As for times - so long as you can do the distances, you'll be fine. Triathlon prides itself on being an inclusive and encouraging sport, in my experience.

If you have not done much swimming, I'd really encourage you to get some teaching and coaching. It is not at all like cycling or running where the more you do it, the better you get (more or less). Swimming is very technical and you need to learn to do it right.

If you let us know where you are based, someone on here might know of some suitable events for you to look at.
 
Look for local sprint or novice event. The swim will be between 400-750m, the ride 20km and the run a 5k, but events vary a bit. Aim for about 20-30 mins for the swim and hour for the ride and another 20-30mins for the run and you'll be done in about 2 hours. The winners usually finish a sprint tri in about an hour with the middle of the pack around 1.30-1.40.

Just go have fun and if you like it then worry about the bike you have or the running shoes you use.
 
OP
Peter Armstrong

Peter Armstrong

Über Member
The shortest "usual" triathlon distance is known as a Sprint, and has a 750m (or 400m) swim, 20km (or so, depending on the course) bike and 5km (see notes on bike course length) run.
You also get triathlons often branded "novice", "try a tri" or similar, at roughly half those distances (for example my club organises a women's triathlon at 400m swim, 10km bike, 5km run (which seems a disproportionately long run to me, but what do I know).
So that's your obvious starting point, and you would not get laughed at all for your kit or speed.

As for times - so long as you can do the distances, you'll be fine. Triathlon prides itself on being an inclusive and encouraging sport, in my experience.

If you have not done much swimming, I'd really encourage you to get some teaching and coaching. It is not at all like cycling or running where the more you do it, the better you get (more or less). Swimming is very technical and you need to learn to do it right.

If you let us know where you are based, someone on here might know of some suitable events for you to look at.
Cheers,

Although im ok with the swimming, I swam for 12 years from aged 6 to 18 and won many races (Amateur) , I will just need to get back into it.
I could easly do the distance of a "Sprint" distance, ill start there.
 

Flying_Monkey

Toll Collector on the Road to Nowhere
One thing to bear in mind is that although you may well be able to easily do the distances, it's the bike to run transition that tends to hurt people who don't expect it. I would recommend doing 'bricks' - that is whenever you go for a bike training ride, go for a run immediately afterwards. The swim to bike transition doesn't usually present a problem, although most triathletes use their legs less during the swim leg than regular swimmers, for obvious reasons, and the longer the swim leg, the more this tends to be the case.
 

amasidlover

Veteran
Location
Gatley
I did the Wilmslow triathlon in May and the Buxton a couple of weeks ago, both were sprints and run by www.xtramile.com and well organised. The Wilmslow one had plenty of range of abilities (think finish times ranged from 5 hours down to 1 hour!), Buxton was a much narrower field but still had people doing 2 hours plus.

The Wilmslow one is being run again as the 'South Manchester Triathlon' in September but there is also a Macclesfield one between now and then. They are both pool based so no need for a wet suit yet...

As for splits for a pool based sprint, from my limited experience:

Top of Pack: Swim 400m sub 6 mins, cycle 20k sub 40 mins, run 5k sub 20 mins
Mid Pack: Swim 9 mins, cycle 50 mins, run 30 mins (same distances)

One thing to watch when training is that in triathlon the distances are nominal; it might be a 5k run, it might not - 6.2k for the Wilmslow course (which took me by surprise a bit...)
 
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