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Catergories: New to Tri

By: Site_Admin

So you’re considering doing a triathlon!

We hope this information will help you get started on the road to your first triathlon.

Who can do a triathlon?

Anyone can do a triathlon. If you’re in search of fitness and looking for a rewarding challenge, Triathlon is for you.

What is a Triathlon?

Triathlon is a modern, exciting and endurance sport – for all abilities and ages. Individual athletes complete a swimming segment, followed by a cycling and a running segment, with the clock running from the beginning of the swim through each transition to the end of the run. The two transitions are the points in the race when competitors change from swimming to cycling, and from cycling to running. The event can also be completed by a relay team (a great way to get started!).


Triathlons come in a number of distances, these are:

  • Try-a-Tri: 250m swim, 6km cycle, 3km run
  • Sprint : 750m swim, 20km cycle, 5km run
  • Standard: 1500m swim, 40km cycle, 10km run
  • Middle: 1900m swim, 90km cycle, 21.1km run
  • Long : 3800m swim, 180k cycle, 42.2k run

Why do a triathlon?

We’ve found that Triathlon is a great sport for people as it’s very accessible, you don’t need to be super fit. It has great variety as you’re not always doing the same thing. It tends to attract social friendly types and fits in well with a variety of lifestyles. It’s also a fantastic challenge and a great sense of achievement whether you’ve just completed your 1st or 50th race.

What do I need?

You don’t have to go out and spend a fortune when preparing for your first triathlon, but there are some basics you will need. They are:

  • Swim: swimming togs, goggles, hat, wetsuit (it is compulsory to wear a wetsuit in all open sea swims)
  • Cycle: basic bike – mountain, hybrid or racer. Helmet, you will not be allowed to race without one.
  • Run: runners
  • Other: trisuit (makes transitions from swim to bike easier and more comfortable to race in)

Once you have done a race or two, you may want to upgrade to a better bike, get a faster wetsuit and buy better runners. If you do check out the discount available to Triathlon Ireland members.

What should I wear?

Don’t worry too much about what to wear, especially for your first tri.

There are triathlon specific apparel such as a trisuit you can wear, but for your first race, togs for the swim, Shirt/Jersey and shorts for the bike and run, whatever is in the back of the wardrobe!!!

Just remember guys (and girls too!!!) you must have your chest covered during the cycle and run.

A wetsuit must be worn for all open water swims.

But I can’t swim…

  • Join one of our training sessions when they’re being run, catering for all levels
  • Try a relay team
  • Try a duathlon

Can I train with someone else?

By being a member of Glin Tri Club you will have others to train with and benefit from the advice of more experienced triathletes. To join Glin Tri Club, see our Membership page.

I’ve got family commitments, how can I fit it in training?

  • Train with other parents and share babysitting
  • Children love to cycle beside their parents running
  • Use jogging buggy for baby

What is a Duathlon?

You may hear from time to time about a Duathlon. A Duathlon is similar to a Triathlon, but the swim leg is replaced by another run leg, so it becomes a run, cycle, run race. Like Triathlon, there are varying distances.


  • 3.5km run, 16km cycle, 3.5km run (non-standard distance) or;
  • 5km run, 20km cycle, 2.5km run (ITU sprint distance) or;
  • 10km run, 40km cycle, 5km run (ITU standard distance)

What is an Aquathlon?

An Aquathlon is similar to a Triathlon, but without the bike leg. So it becomes a swim and run race. Again, just like Triathlons and Duathlons, there are varying distances. However, the distances are normally of sprint distance.

What is Transition?

Transition is the term used to describe the change over between the individual segments of a Triathlon, Duathlon or Aquathlon.


  • swim and cycle in a triathlon
  • first run and cycle in a duathlon
  • swim and run in an aquathlon


  • cycle and run in a triathlon
  • cycle and second run in a duathlon

How much should I train?

How much training you need to do before your first triathlon depends on you. It depends on what level of fitness you are at in all three disciplines and it depends on what your goals are – do you want to do a sprint, a standard, middle or full distance? Do you want to be competitive or just be able to finish the race?

To give yourself something to aim for, enter a triathlon some months ahead. Choose a race you think you can finish, and prepare adequately. By race day you should be able to go the full distance of each event in training.

What race should I do first?

It is good to pick a race and set yourself a target to aim for. Be positive and pick an upcoming race. There are over 170 different races on the Triathlon Ireland calendar, in all corners of the country. Speaking to other Glin Tri Club members will help you pick a suitable local race.


It’s very important to keep hydrated, both in training and during the race. Drink adequate amount of fluids before and during your workouts.

See Nutritional Information for Triathletes for more information.

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