Sprint Triathlon

An official sprint triathlon as determined by the International Triathlon Union and USA Triathlon is a multi-sport endurance event consisting of swimming, cycling, and over a race distances of 750 m swim, 20 km bike and 5 km run.

Want to discover my “Sprint Triathlon Secrets”?  Get your Free Guide to Triathlon Training by adding your email below and I’ll tell all……

Sprint Triathlon Geography

Most are held near lakes or the ocean for the swimming portions and on local roads for the running and biking segments. Some ‘off-road’ sprint triathlons are held on trails instead of roads and use mountain bikes instead of road bikes for an off-road, rugged experience.

Sprint Triathlon Distances

Although the official sprint triathlon distance is 750m swim, 20k bike and a 5k run, distances can vary from race to race. You should check the official website for your chosen race to see the exact race distance.

Sprint Triathlon Race Time

A sprint triathlon takes far less time to complete than the longer distance triathlons (such as the Ironman or Half Ironman distances which can take over twelve hours or more for the novice to complete). Winning times for sprint triathlons are usually little over an hour with the mid-field finishing in anywhere from one-and-a-half to two-hours.

Did you know…. One of my triathlete students knocked 16 minutes off her best Sprint triathlon time! I’ll reveal exactly how you can have similar success. Just grab my Free Guide to Triathlon Training by adding your email below.

Sprint Triathlon Time by Event

For a beginner triathlete, it will take approximately 2 minutes per 100 meters for the swim leg (15 minutes total), about an hour for the bike (averaging 12 mph) and 30 minutes or so for the run. Don’t forget the two transitions which will take anywhere from 3 to 5 minutes each.

This is likely a conservative estimate for a beginner, but contrast veteran or ‘pro’ triathletes who will typically finish the swim in 80 seconds per 100 meters, average over 20 mph on the bike and aim for around 20 minutes for the run.

Sprint Triathlon – Beginners Only?

Many people mistakenly assume that a sprint triathlon is a purely “beginners” triathlon. While a sprint triathlon is a great distance for a beginner to start with, adequate preparation and training is essential and you’ll find that it is a highly competitive event. Don’t believe me? Well head over to the race website you’re interested in and check out last year’s results. Look up your age group and you’ll get a good idea of what you can expect to see at this years race.

Sprint Triathlon Training 101?

  • Plan your training to start 14 weeks or more before your scheduled event.
  • Learn proper hand entry for the swim – focus on improving your swim technique.
  • Have your transition area ready with cycling shoes attached to pedals and helmet ready.
  • Learn proper bike cadence – yes, there is such a thing as bike technique!
  • Use non lacing running shoes. Ditch the socks.
  • Follow a training plan (you’ll be 78% more likely not to ditch your training!)


Step One for anyone thinking about doing a Triathlon –> grab my absolutely 100% free Guide to Triathlon Training. I mean, why wouldn’t you?


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