Swim Leg of a sprint triathlonIf 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.

How Long is a Sprint Triathlon?

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)

Novice (First Time) Triathletes Finishing Times

For a novice triathlete, who has some experience swimming, cycling and running 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 transition and the total time for a beginner or first time triathlon to complete a sprint triathlon is about 1 hour and 50 minutes.

Everyone has a different starting point, however. If you have no experience swimming, it’s likely that your swim could take longer than 2:00 per 100 yards or meters.  There is no “correct” speed, because we are all unique.

Whether your doing a triathlon to see how fast you can go, or just to cross the finish line, you won’t know exactly how long it takes until you’ve  completed your first race!

More Experienced Triathletes Finishing Times

An advanced sprint triathlete could 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.

This assumes the triathlon has prior experience in each discipline and has been training for a triathlon for  year or more.   The fastest triathletes complete a sprint in just under 1 hour!

Are Sprint Triathlons only for Beginners?

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.

In fact, the sprint distance triathlon is used on the Paralympics and in Professional Triathlon competition!

How Can I Compare my Race Times to Other Athletes?

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 trifind.com.

Where can I get a Sprint Triathlon Training Plan ?

Free "First Time Finisher" Guide

with 12 Week Sprint Triathlon Trianing Plan

Free Training guide in PDF 

7 Week eMail Course 

Ideal for beginners, and first year triathletes

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