The triathlon is a great sport that demands a great physical preparation to face the athlete to the three elements involving the sport: swimming , the cycling and foot race.



The triathlon is three different sports in one: swimming , cycling and running in the same competition. It is a sport that requires great physical and mental preparation on the part of athletes.


What is triathlon

The triathlon consists of the combination of three sports , swimming, cycling and running. The order must be followed to the letter to be successful.



The main characteristics of the triathlon are the following:

  • It is an individual sport .
  • Combine endurance through swimming, cycling, and running.
  • The passage from one routine to another is known as a transition .
  • The athlete who spends the least time in the three segments wins .
  • The swimming is performed in open water.
  • The foot race is a long- distance event .


It is believed that it began with a bet between North American sailors in 1978 in Hawaii. According to the triathlete, historian and writer Scott Tinley , the origin of the triathlon is given in a race in France during the years 1920 – 1930 that received the names of ” Les trois sports “, “La Course de Débrouillards” and “La course des Touche à Tout ».

In 1920 the French newspaper L’Auto reported on a contest called Les Trois sports, which had the reverse order of the current triathlon, with an initial race of three kilometers on foot , which was followed by 12 km by bicycle and ended with the swim in the Marne canal.

There is an article from 1934 about Les Trois sports in Rochelle , a race with swimming, cycling around the port of La Rochelle and Laleu park , and ending with a race at the André Barbeau stadium.


There are three sports activities included in the triathlon: swimming , cycling and running . This is the order of the disciplines that must be developed. The first test of the triathlon, swimming, takes place in open water , where the route must be delimited, which is approximately 1,500 meters , according to the Olympic triathlon.

As for cycling , it must be done on an asphalt surface with a distance of 40 km in the Olympic triathlon. Lastly, in athletics , the distance should be 10 kilometers. It is the easiest part to prepare since it does not use as much energy as cycling or swimming.


The original distance used in the Ironman is 3800 m of swimming , 180 km of cycling and 42 km of running . The Olympic distance is 1500 m of swimming, 40 km of cycling and 10 km of running and the Sprint of 750 m of swimming, 20 km of cycling and 5 km of running.

The IronKids consist of half the Sprint distance. The Half Ironman or 70.3, which consists of 1900 m of swimming, 90 km of cycling and 21 km of running; generally they are qualifying tests to compete in an Ironman.

Triathlon rules

The basic rules of triathlon are the following:

  • License . You must have a federative license , although there are also many regional triathlon tests, where you pay the ” one-day license “, which covers the test.
  • Dorsals . It is the number that the organization gives. It cannot be used in the swimming segment and is mandatory in cycling . It must be visible on the athlete’s back and in the running race – in the front.
  • Covered torso . You cannot compete with a naked torso , except in swimming, so the triathlon suit is usually used throughout the test.
  • Swimming . You can swim in any style . Athletes may stop next to buoys placed along the course, but they cannot be used to advance.
  • Neoprene suit . It is used where the water temperature is below 22 degrees, otherwise it will be prohibited. When the temperature is below 14 degrees , the suit will be mandatory . Triathletes aged 50 and over will be able to use neoprene regardless of the water temperature.
  • Bicycle . Any type of bicycle that is not more than 2 m can be used. in length and not more than 75 cm wide and the minimum distance from the ground to the pedaling axis will be 24 cm.
  • Couplings . For tests where drafting is allowed, couplings are allowed as long as they do not exceed the vertical of the brake levers . In tests where drafting is not allowed, couplings are allowed, with no length limitations.
  • The helmet . The use of a helmet is mandatory .
  • Drafting . A distance of 7 meters must be kept with the preceding competitor. It is only allowed to be at a shorter distance when you overtake another competitor, keeping in this case a lateral separation of more than 3 meters .


The triathlon categories are the following:

  • 15-17 years:  Cadets
  • 18-19 years:  Junior
  • 20-23 years:  Sub 23
  • 40-49 years:  Veteran 1
  • 50-59 years:  Veteran 2
  • 60 or older:  Veteran 3


The advice of the coaches is to increase the loads by 10% per week to avoid injuries. This is known as gradual adaptation, and it applies to all three disciplines of triathlon, including gym workouts .

You must find the right equipment for training, as it must be optimal to avoid accidents. The recovery or rest is a basic point of training because the body must replenish energy and repair muscle . Overtraining should be avoided and the body to recover.

You must work on the correct technique for strokes and when running , in order to save energy . You must learn to combine technique and strength through bodybuilding exercises to give strength to the tendons and joints .

Triathlon competitions

There are many triathlon competitions throughout the year and in many countries worldwide, however, the most important competitions are the following:

  • Ironman Hawaii World Championship : The cycling stage travels more than a hundred miles above the lava, and the temperatures are over 43 ° C, with cross winds sometimes of 90 kilometers / hour.
  • Ironman of Lanzarote, Spain : In 1993, the test moved to Puerto del Carmen , where it is currently taking place. It takes place at the end of May and is seen as physical preparation for Hawaii.
  • Nice Triathlon, France : It is considered one of the two important races of each year with very good monetary prizes and media attention .
  • Escape from Alcatraz, in San Francisco, California : It distances outside the common framework, and begin with 2.4 kilometers of swimming in the cold waters of San Francisco Bay , followed by 29 kilometers of cycling and 13 km race walk.


Being a sport that involves three different routines, the equipment that is needed to participate in the triathlon is the following:

  • Swimming test:
    • Swimming cap (made of neoprene) to protect yourself from temperatures that can be quite low.
    • Optimized and long swimming suit , generally made of neoprene.
    • Swimming goggles .
  • Cycling test:
    • Triathlete bicycle similar to road cycling.
    • Helmet, cycling shoes , one-piece jersey .
    • Glasses .
    • Glucose gel to replenish energy.
  • Foot race test:
    • Optimal footwear .
    • Jersey that is generally the same as cycling.
    • Visor or cap.
    • Sunglasses if required.

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