How long does it take to Complete a Sprint Triathlon?

If you are considering doing your first triathlon, you may be curious how long it takes to complete a sprint triathlon.  There are a few easy ways to figure this out. First of all, most sprint triathlons are of a similar length, but the distances can vary. A typical sprint triathlon consists of 3 legs such as the following:

  • 400m Swim (.25 miles)
  • 20k Bike (12 miles)
  • 5k Run (3.1 miles)

For a novice tri-athlete, it will take about 2:00 minutes per 100 meters for the swim, or 8 minutes total, about an hour for the bike (avg 12mph) and 30 minutes or so for the run.  Add in 5 minutes (generous) for each transion and the total time for a beginner or first time triathlon to complete a sprint triathlon is about 1 hour and 50 minutes. 

That’s probably a bit on the long side for many people, but you will have to look at your own fitness to see where you would fit in on this scale.

An advanced sprint triathlete would complete the swim in 1:20 minutes/100meters, ride the bike leg at 20+ mph (frequently using a time trial or triathlon bike), and run the 5k distance in 20 minutes.  The transitions will take less than 2 minutes each so the total time would be about 1 hr 15 minutes. 

Many people mistakenly assume that a sprint triathlon is a “beginners” triathlon, but nothing could be further from the truth. While a sprint triathlon is a great distance for a beginner to take part in, there is plenty of room for advanced competition in triathlons even in the sprint distance.

If you want to see how your potential competition will fare at a race you are thinking of doing, just go to the race website and look for the results from last year. Look up your age group and find the range of times for all the entrants and you’ll get a good idea of what you can expect to see at this years race.

A great website to look for races and find last year’s sites is

6 Responses to “How long does it take to Complete a Sprint Triathlon?”

  1. Betty Wednesday at 11:16 am #

    Thank you for sharing a training

  2. Peter Monday at 4:51 am #

    2 min per 100m? You got to be kidding. I am a first timer and am averaging 2:37 per 100m. I must be super slow!!!

    • Calley Wednesday at 6:18 am #

      Right on. This is super annoying to me. I’m doing my BEST and I’m averaging closer to 2:50 per 100 m. And, lots of people can’t run a 30 min 5K. They don’t mean BEGINNER they mean ATHLETE who decides to do a first time tri.

      • Coach Suzanne Friday at 3:18 am #

        Calley, if you are averaging 2:50/100 there are probably several quick & easy things you can do to improve your time AND use less energy. I’d be happy to help with a video review, or you can consider getting some Total Immersion resources like the “Ultra Efficient Freestyle Guide” from their online shop. Use code “coachsuzanne” to save 10%. Honestly it will help you out immensely.

    • Josh Friday at 10:59 am #

      Peter, fwiw, you’re not alone!! I read that and thought “I wish!” I’m in shape, run often, and have just started preparing for a competitive swim; if I swam 100 meters in 2 minutes, I’d need to rest for another 2 just to catch my breath!


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