This article is perfect for triathlon beginners – or even pre-beginners – those who have heard a little bit about triathlon, started watching some events on TV with interest, or have some friends who are just getting into the sport. We’ll cover a little bit about what triathlon is and how to ‘dip your toe in the water’, pun intended!


What is a triathlon?

For the uninitiated – all triathlons start with a swim, followed by a bike ride and end with a run. The distances will vary from event to event – from a “Sprint” which comprises a 750m swim, 20km cycle, and 5km run, to “Iron Distance” which is a 3.8km swim, 180km cycle and 42km run. Don’t be scared by this Iron distance. Most beginner triathletes start at a Sprint distance and work their way up to an Olympic distance – 1.5km swim, 40km bike ride and 10km run.


How good do I need to be

You race against the clock which starts with the swim and stops when you run across the finish line. So – it’s all about you! Your times, your endurance, your speed. A beginner could expect to finish a Sprint distance triathlon in anything from 1.5-2.5 hours and an Olympic distance in 2-3.5 hours. Triathlons do require some commitment and can take up time to train in all the disciplines, but if you “get the bug”, they can be extremely rewarding an fun!!


What gear do I need

There are three sports to think about so there is an investment in kit – but there are lots of places that rent gear when you are starting out, or don’t forget to ask friends.

For the Swim: in most UK races you will need a wetsuit, this is often the most annoying purchase because you may not use it often if you train in a pool. You will probably swim with goggles; and you will normally be given a swim cap in the race you enter

For the Bike: a road bike is helpful, but particularly for sprint distance and beginner triathlons it is not uncommon to see people riding a hybrid bike. A helmet is compulsory.

For the Run: a good pair of running shoes! unless you are a cyclist who already uses clip-in shoes, you will probably be wearing these on the bike leg. A race belt helps for your number as you normally where your number on your back for the cycle and front for the run.


How do I find out more

If it’s a challenge that appeals to you – visit  The British Triathlon Federation to find an event near you – choose one far enough ahead to give you time to train. Remember both the running and cycling will put strain on your legs so some strength and endurance training is essential. Also think about joining a triathlon club so you can get the best advice from experienced triathletes! You can find one on the Triathlon England website.

The  London Triathlon Show is on 12 to 15 February and it would be a great place to go for information and inspiration.

If you’re a lady trying to get into triathlon and would like a free chat about a personalised triathlon training programme thats fits in with your current lifestyle, contact Lauren on or call 07805 332 991.


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