This page is a work in progress but it does have some good information in its current form.
History of triathlon
Triathlon was invented in the early 1970s by the San Diego Track Club, as an alternative workout to the rigours of track training. The club's first event consisted of a 10km run, an 8km cycle and a 500m swim. Over the next decade, triathlon’s popularity continued to build, and it soon gained worldwide recognition.
There are generally four distances in triathlon. Youth races like ours are not among theses four types. USA Triathlon (USAT) publishes suggested distances for the various age groups we serve and we try to keep our events in the ranges they suggest. The four distances are sprint, international (also called Olympic sometimes), half ironman (also called "half", "70.3" and other names not copyrighted), and Ironman (also called "full triathlon", "endurance triathlon", etc.) The swim distances are usually the same from event to event but there is usually some variation between on bike course and another because race directors have to deal with the roads that are there and design the course as close to the USAT suggested distance as possible. The run can be a loop and if need be, a short out and back can be added to the loop to get the desired distances. The run distances are usually consistent from course to course.
- Sprint distance is usually at 750 meter swim, 12-14 mile bike, and a 5k run.
- International distance is usually a 1500 meter swim, 22-25 mile bike and a 10k run.
- Half distance is 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile ride and 13.1 mile run.
- Ironman is a trademark and a brand name for both 70.3 (half) and 140.6 (full) distance races. Other race organizations use these distances but The World Triathlon Corporation owns the Ironman name and trademark.
Advice for new triathletes
Even these short distances should be taken seriously, especially if you are new to the sport. I am an experienced triathlete and could probably push myself hard enough doing the 13-15 year-old distance race to make myself sick. These distances look short and they are short but if the athletes don't gauge their efforts, they could be very sorry. Our goal is to build interest in the sport and if athletes are miserable at the finish, they won't be back. Our course information is published on the race page so if you can, get out with your athletes and do a brick (a brick workout is a workout that includes at least two disciplines) prior to race morning. I have no idea where the term "brick" came from. If you know, please feel free to pass on the information.
The most common mistake young (and old) triathletes make is pushing too hard on the bike.
The only way to try to settle down on the bike is to practice running after biking. Even a short distance on the bike will make the legs feel weird when trying to run. My coach's favorite thing to tell people is "there is no such thing as a great bike split followed by a horrible run." All that a great bike split followed by a horrible run means is that you over-biked. SAVE SOMETHING FOR THE RUN!! It is a terrible feeling to not be able to run because you biked too hard. Give up a minute or two on the ride, you WILL get it back on the run.
Transitions (T1 and T2)
T1 is the transition from swim to bike. If you want to compete against yourself or others, this is where you can make up serious time. Do you really want/need socks, shorts and shirts? It is up to the athlete to decide. I am competitive at the sprint and international distance so I swim in my tri shorts with my tri top on (under wetsuit if a wetsuit race). Putting clothes on wet is not fun or easy. Drying off takes more time and you will still be trying to put clothes on a partially wet body. Knowing my feet will blister or get rubbing sores, I don't put socks on for these distances to be more competitive. If you aren't out there to be competitive, wear whatever makes you comfortable and sets you up to have fun.
T2 is the transition from bike to run. This is usually faster than T1 because if you are putting clothes on, you did it in T1. So if you are wearing running shoes on your bike and not bike shoes with fancy pedals, no equipment change is necessary in T2. So it is really a matter of racking your bike and getting out on the run.