USA Triathlon Certified Coach

Why Exercise
You Could Do One

How We Learn

Swim
Bike
Run
Open Water Swims
Transitions
Warmup/Cooldown
Wetsuits
TechWear-TriSuits
Rules

Stretching
Strength Training
Feldenkrais
Nutrition Basics
Losing Weight
Nutrition For Athletes
Race Nutrition
Race Lengths
Training, Tapering
Cramps
Creaky Knees
Gadgets
Running Shoes
Gear Checklist
Race Day
Picks & Pans
Warning Label
Coaching Resume
Marathon
  (the song)

 

Race Lengths

Length of Triathlon Races
Leg of Race Swim Bike Run
 
Meters
Miles
Kilometers
Miles
Kilometers
Miles
Kids 7-10
100
.06
5
3.1
1
0.6
Kids 11-12
200
.12
10
6.2
2
1.2
Kids 13-15
400
.25
10
6.2
2.5
2.5
Sprint
750
.47
20
12.4
5
3.1
Standard
1500
.93
40
24.8
10
6.2
Half Ironman
1900
1.2
90
56
21.09
13.1
Ironman
3800
2.4
180
112
42.2
26.2

The Standard distance is sometimes called the International or Olympic distance just because it's used in the Olympics. But there is pressure on the Olympic Committee to create events that are exciting and television friendly (not too long in duration). So the Sprint distance may end up being the Olympic distance someday soon.

The Sprint swim is the distance most likely to be lowered. It is often done in a pool and having people do the full 750 meters creates a logistical nightmare. When you've got hundreds of people racing, you just can't get the athletes in and out of the pool quickly enough. The race would take all day. So you'll often see this distance shortened to something in the neighborhood of 450 yards.

Notice that it isn't a huge leap from the Standard swim length to the Half Ironman swim length. If you're comfortable with the Standard swim, can sit a bike for a couple of hours and can run 13 miles, it's not a big leap to move from Standard to Half Ironman.