Getting Started in Triathlon – The Race

After the first two posts on triathlon nutrition and accessories, it’s time to talk about racing. Here are some useful tips if you are a beginner.

Tips for transition zones

Transition zones are a critical moment, where every move can make or break your time. Follow these tips!

1. Start removing your wetsuit as you exit the swim leg, pulling it down to your waist as you run. Remove your swim cap and goggles, but make sure you don’t drop them to avoid incurring a penalty for abandoning the team.

2. When you get on the bike, take off the rest of your wetsuit, put on your helmet and goggles, and then your cycling shoes (depending on your skill level, the cycling shoes may already be attached to the pedals). Don’t forget your race number belt if the race requires you to wear it for the cycling section (see athlete information for this rule).

3. Get on the bike at the regulation assembly line or get on the bike on the move, if you have practised this useful transition skill.

4. When you reach T2, get off at the regulation line and ride your bike to the transition point (try the route in and out of both transitions before the race). Leave the helmet fastened until you have put the bike away. Quickly change your shoes, grab your running belt, cap and the necessary food and run out of T2 while you put on your running belt and put the food you will need during the run segment in your pockets.

What To Carry in The Transition Bag

Here is a useful list of things not to forget.


  1. Neoprene wetsuit (if race conditions allow/require the use of a wetsuit)
  2. Swimming cap (normally provided at the competition)
  3. Glasses (wear dark glasses in sunny weather or photochromic glasses in variable weather. It’s a good idea to have an extra pair in the bag for security)
  4. Timing chip and strap
  5. Leather lubricant (to smear on any spot that may be irritated by stitching or skin-on-skin rubbing)
  6. Sun protection.
  7. Warm-up clothes
  8. Pump
  9. Pre-race nutrition
  10. Plastic bags or old socks (to put on the feet to help put on the wetsuit)
  11. Cocoa butter


  1. Small towel (useful for drying feet)
  2. Bicycle shoes
  3. Bicycle helmet
  4. Socks (if you usually wear them)
  5. Water bottle with sports drink or water, plus any other food on the bicycle
  6. Sunglasses
  7. Belt and race bib 


  1. Nutrition/hydration
  2. Running shoes
  3. Elastic laces (to save time by avoiding tying shoes)
  4. Socks (if you usually wear them)
  5. Cap or visor


  1. A protein-rich snack
  2. Dry clothes and flip-flops or slippers

Triathlon distances

For most people, “triathlon” and “that race in Hawaii” are synonymous: many have seen the Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, and nothing else. But Ironman is just one of many race distances in the sport of triathlon. From super sprint to ultra distance, there is a triathlon distance to suit all tastes. We recommend starting with a super sprint, sprint or Olympic distance and then moving up a level if you wish. It is also important to be very conscious of how many hours a week you have to train. These are the ones that will allow you to fight for one distance or another. Finally, remember: you don’t have to run long distances to be a competitive triathlete.

  • Super Sprint

Swimming 500 metres 

Bicycle 10 km

2.5 km foot race

How much time will I need to train for a super sprint triathlon? 3-4 hours per week

  • Sprint

Swimming 750 metres 

Bicycle 20 km

5 km foot race

How much time will I need to train for a sprint triathlon? 3-5 hours per week

  • Olympic discipline

Swimming 1.5 km

Bicycle 40 km

10 km foot race

How much time do I need to train for an Olympic triathlon? 5-7 hours per week

  • Half Ironman

Swimming 1.9 km

Bicycle 90 km

21 km foot race

How much time do I need to train for a half ironman? 8-13 hours per week

  • Ironman

Swimming 3.9 km 

Bicycle 180 km 

42.195 km foot race

How much time do I need to train for an ironman? 14-20 hours per week

Find everything you need for your first triathlon at deporvillage 

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