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Triathlon: The different distances and modalities to get to know this sport in depth

One of the most complete sports that we can train and in which we can compete is undoubtedly triathlon: this combination of cycling, swimming and running, in any of its modalities and distances, makes athletes test their heart and muscle resistance.

Perhaps due to the hardness of this test there are different versions of it : from the super sprint triathlon, the shortest and most affordable of them all (although it also requires intense and complete training, of course) to the great distance Ironman competitions, that require us to run a marathon after having gone through the swim and the bicycle.

In order for you to have a choice and to know all the distances and modalities , we summarize them in the following table, with clear information at hand.

The different distances of the triathlon

DISTANCE SWIMMING CYCLING CAREER TOTAL KMS
SUPER SPRINT 250 – 400 meters 6.5 – 13 Kms 1.7 – 3.5 Kms 8.45 – 16.9 Kms
SPRINT 750 – 1500 meters 20 – 40 Kms 5 – 10 Kms 25.75 – 51.5 Kms
STANDARD 1500 meters 40 Kms 10 Kms 51.5 Kms
MIDDLE DISTANCE 1900 – 3000 meters 80 – 90 Kms 20 – 21 Kms 101.9 – 114 Kms
LONG DISTANCE 1000 – 4000 meters 100 – 200 Kms 10 – 42.2 Kms 111 – 246.2 Kms
HOMBRE DE HIERRO 3800 meters 180 Kms 42,195 Kms 225,99 Kms

As you can see, super sprint distance is perfect to start in this sport , and above all we can come well to rehearse and take the quiet to the different transitions between tests, where many competitors fail.

The importance of transitions in triathlon

Many times athletes spend many hours training each of the three triathlon sports events and do not pay attention to the two transitions they will have to face. This is a very frequent error in novices or in those athletes who are not advised by professionals.

We explain the basics you need to know about transitions in triathlon so you do not waste valuable time in them.

The first transition (T1): from water to the bike

The first transition or T1 is perhaps the most complicated since it requires us to take off the neoprene with which we have swum and to get on the bike, all this while we run out of the water. Of course, we can run to the bike and once there we get all this ritual, but we will lose a lot of time.

The only way to make this transition well is to try it beforehand : the days that you have to train to swim you will have to save some time at the end of the training to try the exit of the water and the gesture of removing the glasses, the cap, unzipping the neoprene and lowering it up to the waist while you run, until it comes out naturally. A little oil under the neoprene can make things a lot easier.

We will also have to optimize the gesture of running with the bike caught by the saddle : the day of the competition we will have to move a little way, from the transition zone to the assembly area, so it is better to take it also rehearsed.

The second transition (T2): from the bike to the race

The second transition or T2 may not seem to have “as much crumb” as the first, however, we must take into account that the body already comes from a fairly intense and prolonged effort, and that this will also influence our concentration and the way to make the transition.

To move from the bicycle to the race it is important that we automate the gesture of getting off the bike on the move, a bit more complicated if we wear shoes for automatic pedals, and to run with the bike caught by the saddle, as we did in the previous one transition. This gesture must be automated to be able to repeat it in a very simple way when the time comes.

On occasion we have talked about the elastic shoelaces for running shoes : this is an excellent time to remember their existence, since this type of laces that adjust automatically and do not need lacing can save us valuable seconds in this transition.

Other types of triathlon

There are other forms of competition that integrate different sports and that are not a triathlon, although this is always “the basic” from which they start. In all these modalities one competes in different distances, generally short and long, although there can also be a sprint category, shorter than usual.

MODALITY SEGMENT 1 SEGMENT 2 SEGMENT 3
DUATHLON Race on foot Cycling Race on foot
DUATHLON CROSS Race on foot Mountain bike Race on foot
WHITE TRIATHLON Race on foot Cycling Cross country ski
ACUATLON Race on foot Swimming Race on foot

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