Triathlon distances for anyone|How to get involved!

If you are thinking of signing up for a race soon but you are still not sure what you should be choosing. You have come to the right place. Here you will find triathlon distances for anyone|how to get involved!

“You can quit if you want, and no one will care. But you will know the rest of your life.” 

– John Collins (Founder of The Ironman)

Doing a triathlon can add great benefits to your life.

This is one of the main reasons why it is becoming so popular among the age group athletes worldwide.

4 years ago I decided to sign up for a local triathlon event with only 3 months to train. As triathlon was not really a sport that I had considered doing before. Signing up for my first event came from a deeper motivation to get fit and healthy again.

The course distance was slightly different from the usual triathlon events. So I decided to do some research to find out exactly what I had signed up for. The Indian ocean triathlon is set in Mauritius on the south coast with a 1.8km swim 55km bike and 12km run.

What is a triathlon?

A triathlon is an endurance event that combines 3 sports, swimming, cycling and running into 1 continuous race. The distances as I have just pointed out do vary and it seems as though there are no real set ‘official’ distances that a triathlon race has to follow in order to be classified as a triathlon.

There are however a number of distances that have become popular and are widely used in the triathlon community. Because the Indian ocean triathlon didn’t fit the regular distances. It was difficult to figure out what training program I was going to use for the short 3 months I had to train.

I ended up using training programs for the Olympic distance mainly for running and cycling and the 70.3 programs for swimming.

Looking back now. There was not much I could accomplish more than to just be fit enough to finish. Completing a triathlon is by any standards a sporting accomplishment no matter what the distances are.

If you are considering a triathlon yet still unsure which one to choose. Try talking to some people who have a bit of experience before making a decision. There is no particular rule or guideline that says you should start with one before the other. Some people chose to go for the Full Ironman distance and 2 years of training while others might choose a lighter training commitment and stick to shorter distances with more regular events. Here is a list from the shortest to the longest triathlon distances as well as some information about each category.

Triathlon distances typically used for standard races.


Super sprint triathlon distance

400m swim / 10km bike / 2.5km run (This is a great entry-level triathlon as well as a super training day if you are leading up to something a bit more mentally challenging.) Distances may vary slightly from event to event, but they typically adhere to the above standards.

Because of their shorter distances, sprint triathlons have become increasingly popular and are ideal for beginner or novice athletes. This distance is also a highly competitive event for elite athletes. 


Sprint triathlon distance

750m swim / 20km bike / 5km run (The sprint is an internationally recognized distance that offers great opportunities for high-intensity races that leave you gasping for air.) If you are an entry-level competitor, it also lends itself to anyone who is up for a challenge.

You can participate in a sprint triathlon without having to devote most of your week to training. You’ll need to put in the hours, however, it shouldn’t hinder your weekly timetable if you are planning your first triathlon. 


Olympic triathlon distance

1,500m swim / 40km bike / 10km run (One of the most popular triathlon distances for its complete integration of a simple break down of each discipline.)

There is something in this race distance for all levels of athletes. It serves as a great platform before entering the longer and more demanding distances. (especially for the training) The Olympic distance demands a considerable amount of training and will certainly keep you busy during the week. Expect to be training long hours until you build up a strong base.


Ironman triathlon distance 70.3

1,900m swim / 90km bike / 21.1km run. Entering a half Ironman requires an extensive amount of training and motivation. The mental and physical challenges of completing a 1/2 Ironman will certainly leave you with a great sense of accomplishment.

With an estimated 98 official 1/2 ironman contest held yearly throughout the world. One could say that this is the most sought after race in multi-sporting events. Training for these distances requires dedication and commitment to go that extra length. In order to complete a Half Ironman, you need to have done the time required in all disciplines. You can’t afford to cut short your training for this event or else you will not see the finish line on race day. 


Ironman full distance triathlon

3,8km swim / 180km bike / 42.2km run (Considered the hardest one-day event in the ultra classics. The Ironman challenge offers us the ability to reach beyond our expectations and truly deliver a sense of accomplishment. It is a race against your will to reach the finish line.)

Taking on the challenge of an Ironman course requires the ultimate sacrifice of taking your training to a new level of commitment. Failing to do so will result in serious complications come race day.

With a maximum time of 17 hrs to complete the 3 events. It is certainly a day you need to tackle with a lot of respect and patience. For those who cross the line in time. The memories will forever be engraved as they are greeted with the famous words. “You are an Ironman” 


X Terra sprint triathlon

This short distance off-road triathlon is a 750m swim / 19K mountain bike / 5K trail run race. This race is ideal for local residents looking for the XTERRA experience. It you are planning your first triathlon around an off-road event then be sure to have the right equipment. Don’t let the distance distract you from the potential problems you could face for not being prepared.

Check your gear and understand your course. The off-road terrain is unforgiving no matter what distances you are covering. 


X Terra endurance triathlon

XTERRA long course events tend to vary depending on the location and various organizers. A typical long event will range from a 1.2km swim / 40km bike and 10km trail run. The longer off-road triathlons generally require more technical and physical ability. If you are a weekend warrior then you will certainly enjoy the challenge of an Xterra event. 

How to get involved!

If you are interested in triathlon and would like more information about training and events. Please leave a comment below or contact us directly. Alternatively, you can contact the Mauritian Triathlon Federation to find out how you can register if you are living in Mauritius.

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