Alrighty….this is basic basic around us triathletes, but I get this question ALL the time from friends and newbies! So, let’s clear it up a bit. What are the distances and disciplines of Triathlon?
A Triathlon consists of 3 disciplines; Swim, Bike, Run
Unless it is a unique race, the order is always the same. The reason is for safety. The swim is the most dangerous, and thus the organizers want the athletes to be freshest for the swim. Following the swim, we do the bike, and then end with the run.
What are the distances? The distances are as follows;
SPRINT distance is a 750 meter swim, 13 mile bike, and 3.1 mile run
OLYMPIC distance is a 1500 meter swim, 26 mile bike, and 6.2 mile run
70.3 (or HALF IRONMAN) distance is a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, and 13.1 mile run
IRONMAN distance is a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run
Often, I will see a varying swim distance for pool sprint tri’s- this is most often because of the number of lap lanes it has, and how difficult the organizers want to make it. So sometimes the swim is 300 yards, or 450, or whatever works! Usually, if the sprint tri is in open water (a lake or ocean or murky pond), then it is usually 750 meters.