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Answering the Top Googled Triathlon Questions

Answering the Top Googled Triathlon Questions

What is a Triathlon?

A Triathlon is a multi-discipline race, classically consisting of swimming, cycling, and running. Triathlon distances vary, with the shortest being known as a ‘Sprint’ triathlon.

Modern Triathlon emerged in the early 1970’s and has continued to gain popularity ever since.

Common Triathlon Distances:

Triathlon Swim Bike Run
Sprint 0.75k 20K 5K
Olympic 1.5K 40K 10K
Half-Iron 1.2 Miles 56 Miles 26.2 Miles
Iron 2.4 Miles 112 Miles 26.2 Miles


The IRONMAN brand is known across the world for hosting Iron length Triathlons. 

Swim- The swim portion will either take place in a swimming pool or open water, such as a lake or the sea. Distances vary.

Bike- Most races will take place on open roads that are open to other traffic, so it’s important that you feel confident on a bike. Participants must also obey the rules of the road during the cycle portion of their race.

Run- Every Triathlon is different, and the run section can take place on or off road. You should research this before entering a race so that you can train accordingly.

Are Triathlons hard?

This is a difficult question to answer because it depends on the athlete. Everyone has different ability and tolerance levels.

Some people may prefer short intense bursts of exercise, whilst others find longer endurance events easier.

Which stage is the hardest?

Again, this depends on you and your personal strengths. The Cycle portion is typically the longest, however some people may be stronger swimmers, and so on.

How do triathletes change clothes?

Usually, the base of your outfit will stay the same for the whole race, only changing accessories. During the swim portion you will require a wetsuit(open water) & swim cap, a helmet & shoes for the cycle, etc.

What Gear do I need?


  • Swim cap
  • Goggles
  • Swimsuit/Trisuit or Wetsuit for open water


  • Some form of shorts & top- Whatever you’re comfortable cycling & running in.
  • Helmet
  • Bike (obviously)
  • Cycle shoes
  • Socks-Some triathletes choose not to wear socks to save time but if you want to avoid blisters and chafing then we recommend wearing socks.


  • Running shoes

Do triathletes wear socks?

Some Triathletes choose not to wear socks as this can slow them down in the ‘transition’. However, if you’re concerned about blisters then we recommend wearing a well-fitting sock suitable for both cycling and running.

If you do choose not to wear socks then make sure you also do this during training.

How do Triathletes train?

When training for any event it is highly beneficial to follow a training plan. For a triathlon it is best to focus on one element at a time. Here’s how this could look in a week:

Monday: Swim

Tuesday: Run

Wednesday: Bike

Thursday: Rest

Friday: Swim

Saturday: Run

Sunday: Rest

This training structure would need to be consistently followed for a number of weeks, slowly increasing intensity week by week.

How long does a Triathlon take?

This depends on the length of race you’re completing, as well as your ability level. The below may give you a rough idea of average times.

Triathlon Total Time Swim Bike Run
Sprint 1:30-2 Hours 20-25mins. 45mins-1hr 30-40mins.
Olympic 2:52 (men), 3:07 (women) 30-35mins. 1:30-1:40hrs 50-55mins.
Half-Iron 5:51 (men), 6:18 (women) 35-40mins. 2:55-3:00hrs. 2:00-2:10hrs.
Iron 12:37 (men), 13:16 (women) 1-1:15hrs. 6:10-6:40hrs. 4:50-5:15hrs.

(All of the above are rough averages)

Do I need a triathlon bike?

There are a few differences between a Triathlon bike and a traditional road bike. Triathlon bikes usually have more storage features, useful for triathlons as you will usually be cycling for longer than a typical road bike is designed for. Therefore- having somewhere to store tools and spare inner tubes, as well as food and fluids, can be very handy.

Triathlon bikes are also more aerodynamic than traditional road bikes. Drafting (cycling in somebody else’s slipstream) isn’t legal in most triathlons. This is why having a more efficiently aerodynamic bike can be a huge advantage.

In some races the cycling section can be off-road. In these cases, a mountain bike will most likely be required.


Related Articles:

Nutrition Guide- Triathlon

Tips for Effective Transitions in Triathlon

Post-Triathlon Recovery Nutrition Essentials

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