Sprint Or Olympic distance For Beginner

by Duncan
(Grand Cayman)

I'm trying to decide which distance triathlon to do. In the past year I've done an aquathlon three-race series (800m swim, 5k run) and one 5k open water and two 1 mile swim races (all warm water so no wetsuits). I also ran a marathon last December. I have no meaningful riding experience.

I'm returning to the UK to live. Should I be aiming for a Super sprint, Sprint or Olympic distance triathlon as my first triathlon? I intend to buy a wetsuit (and bike) sharpish!

Intelligent Triathlon Training replies:

With the background of training you probably have from the events you have done, you should be able to go straight into a Sprint or Olympic distance triathlon.

It depends on whether you want a taster of a triathlon or to set yourself a harder personal challenge. If it’s a taster, then the Sprint race would be your choice. If you can swim 5k open water and run a marathon you obviously have a good amount of endurance training under your belt, so a Sprint triathlon would probably take you less than 2 hours, whereas an Olympic would be longer.

Many people new to the sport struggle with the swim in a triathlon, so having the experience that you do, particularly of open water swimming, will put you in good stead.

It might be of interest to you to know that many triathlon talent-spotting programs look for athletes who can swim and run well, in the knowledge that endurance fitness from the other two disciplines will transfer fairly quickly to the bike.

So it shouldn’t take you too long to get up to a reasonable level on the bike. Aim to emphasise your bike training slightly more (ie do more cycling than swimming/ running) to get this discipline up to speed.

Also, don’t forget to practice swimming in your wetsuit to get used to it, and also practice getting out of it to keep your time in transition down.

Then, it is just a case of choosing your challenge!

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