Those unfamiliar with the sport of triathlon may not know about the different levels, or distances, that exist. If you’ve heard about triathlon through the movies or an athlete a la Lance Armstrong, you’re probably thinking IRONMAN. Let’s pump the brakes right there! This outta shape triathlete is not doing an Ironman…yet, anyway.
There are five levels of triathlon. Each level has its specific distances in each leg of the race. They are:
- Sprint: 750m swim, 20K bike, 5K run
- Olympic: 1.5K swim, 40K bike, 10K run
- ITU Long: 3K swim, 80K bike, 20K run
- Half Ironman: 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run
- Full Ironman: 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run
The swimming leg of the Sprint triathlon can vary (between 500 and 750 meters), but the other 4 levels are pretty much set in stone. As you can see, when you get up to the Full Ironman, you’re running a marathon at the end! I’ve never run a marathon before (bucket list!), but just imagine running one after swimming more than two miles and biking a distance longer than some states. It’s crazy…yet I can’t wait to get to that level!
However, being the beginner triathlete that I am, I’m still in the Sprint Triathlon zone. And I am proud to be there. When compared to an Ironman distance, the Sprint may seem like a piece of cake. It’s not. It’s tough and it’s challenging. And I love it!
The Sprint is my starting point. By next summer I hope to be training for the Olympic distance. As long as I get in shape and stay in shape!
So, if you start out at the Sprint distance, don’t let someone tell you you’re not a triathlete unless you do Ironman! You are a triathlete at all levels of the sport. Keep pushing yourself and achieving your goals! That’s all I’m doing