Triathlon Swimming

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What is a triathlon? 

There is a style of triathlon for everyone depending on our strength and athletic background. Though the cost of engaging in a triathlon may be high, there are many affordable options for us to use. The cost also usually correlates with the size of the competition. 

A triathlon is a multisport competition where we are required to train in running, cycling and swimming. Short breaks are slotted in between the activities to allow us time to prepare for the next part of the race. 

We may also wear tri-suits to curb the need to change our costume in between. The race usually begins with a swim, cycling and then ends with the running part of the event. 

This sport began in the 19th century and is recognized globally. Triathlon is an extremely intense exercise. We must train on all three sports and build the necessary endurance to win. Hydration and nutrition are very important elements of the sport. 

We should adhere to a set of rules when participating in a triathlon. We should let our bike go under inspection to prove whether it’s road worthy and ensure that we do not use buoyancy aids when swimming. 

We must also have a helmet and should ensure in the first transition that we put our helmet on and fasten it before we remove the bike from the rack. We should also put the bike on the rack first before removing the helmet in the second transition. 

It is also important to educate ourselves on the race regulations so we know whether issues such as drafting are legal or not within a given event. 


Swimming though the first and shortest part of a triathlon is the most challenging of the competition. This is why it is important to accord enough time for practice for all the three triathlon activities. 

The triathlon swim may take place in open waters or a swimming pool. The pool is a great choice if we are not particularly confident in our swimming abilities. The distance covered in a swimming pool is usually 400m but it can vary from one event to another. 

We can use various tactics to successfully complete the swimming activity in a triathlon. It is important that we keep our head low when swimming in order to breathe with ease. 

Smiling when swimming will also help our body less tense and help to focus on the more critical things we should work on such as strokes. Free style is the best stroke to apply when swimming in a triathlon. 

Breast stroke though popular is very slow and can only be recommended to apply during recovery periods. Treading water is important during times of emergency. This style helps us to stay afloat without expending too much energy. 

Keeping our arms moving while making wide circular movements will also help us to get our arms in front of us which will help improve our speed. we should also not focus on the distance to avoid placing too much pressure on ourselves. We should also carry out continuous practice in order to maintain our form and keep improving. 

Triathlon Swim
Source: / Don Horror


Biking is the longest part in a triathlon and is a huge determinant of the winning athlete. Important tips to winning this segment include adding aero bars to your triathlon bike. A triathlon bike has a compact frame to help your body overcome resistance. 

These bikes are however expensive and many of us cannot afford it. We can however add aero bars to regular bikes to achieve the same result. 

We should also keep ourselves informed of the route to follow and train appropriately in order to have an upper hand on race day. It is also important to learn how to get off and one the bike seamlessly in order to maintain momentum throughout the race. 

Triathlon Bike
Source: / Alari Tammsalu


This is the last activity in a triathlon. We are usually exhausted when we arrive at this stage and our endurance and strength training help us in pushing through this stage. 

We have to ensure that we avoid straining our legs in order to ensure that we are able to power through the race and avoid injury. 

Running in a triathlon is generally slow due to depleted energy levels. It is therefore important that we pace ourselves accordingly. 

Triathlon Run
Source: / Victoire Joncheray

What is transition? 

This is the fourth event in a triathlon. It is an area within the triathlon where athletes change from one activity to another such as from cycling to running or swimming to cycling as in the case of aquabike or duathlon. 

The first transition is the area where we store our bike gear, we can seamlessly change from swimming to biking. The second transition is where we place our running gear when we move from biking to running. 

A transition should take the shortest amount of time in a triathlon. The way we approach a transition is very critical as it determines the outcome of our race depending on any penalties, we may get from time wastage. 

The transition between cycling and running leaves our legs feeling wobbly and jelly like. We are able to combat this during training using brick session workouts. This exercise involves finishing a turbo session and jumping off the bike and immediately begin racing. 

Though brick sessions are painful at first , they help push and prepare our muscles for the race adequately to improve leg efficiency and balance. 

The numerous activities that take place in a transition may make it very uncomfortable. The number of things to remember during a transition also place additional pressure on us as runners not withstanding our experience or lack of it. 

We should always aim for a quick and smooth transition. A seamless transition gives us time advantage in a race and plays a huge role in boosting our confidence as we move from one stage to another. 

Just like in all sporting activities planning and preparation is key for any triathlon athlete. The function of a transition area may vary from one point to another and it is important that when we are setting our area we utilize as little space as possible to facilitate a faster transition. 

It is important to ensure that we map our approach to the transition area and take note of any landmark that will help us find our gear fast and make our transition quicker. 

Triathlon distances 

Distances within the sport may vary depending on the organizers and age of the participants. The aquathlon,aquabike and duathlon are examples of the different variations of triathlon based on distance. 

1. Mini-triathlon 

Also referred to as the sprint triathlon ,this race covers half of the distance set during an olympic. It usually includes a 0.5 mile long swim, a cycling distance of 12 miles and a 3 mile run. The financial cost for this race is lower compared to other triathlon distances and it is very beginner friendly. Almost 80% of triathletes have competed in this triathlon. 

2. Olympic distance triathlon 

We are required to swim for a mile, cycle for 5 miles and run for 6 miles in this triathlon. These distances were established in the Olympic Games. This triathlon is recommended for experienced triathletes. 

3. Iron man triathlon 

Originally from Hawaii, this was one of the first triathlon events held globally. The standard distance for this championship include swimming for 2.4 miles, cycling for approximately 112 miles and a 24 mile run. 

4. Super sprint triathlon 

The race is ideal for entry level athletes. It is the shortest triathlon event globally. It follows a very short course that consists of a 0.25 mile swim, cycling for a distance of 6 miles and a 1.5 mile run.

5. Half iron man triathlon 

This triathlon is similar to the iron man triathlon except it covers a shorter distance.

The triathlon consists of a 1.2 mile swim, 5.6 mile cycling distance and a 13 mile run. This makes it much easier compared to the iron man triathlon. 

 6. ITU triathlon 

This type of triathlon is organized by the international triathlon union. The race consists of a 2.5 mile swim, a cycling distance of 75 miles and a 19 mile run. 

We hope that we are now aware of all the different types of triathlon distances and understand the transition area and which race is best suited for us. 

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