Triathlons are becoming more popular, and the sprint triathlon is a great starter. As participation increases, the average sprint triathlon time is falling.
If you’re new to the triathlon world, you’re probably wondering: how long does a sprint triathlon take? The answer is different for everyone, and it depends on a few things.
Some of these are circumstantial, but others are well within your control. A little preparation will give you a chance of getting a good sprint triathlon time!
In this article, we will cover:
- The Average Sprint Triathlon Time
- A Good Sprint Triathlon Time
- 3 Factors That Can Affect The Average Sprint Triathlon Time
- 3 Key Points In Sprint Triathlon Training
- Essential Gear
Are you ready to find out how fast you can go?
The Average Sprint Triathlon Time
As the shortest triathlon distance, people naturally tend to race harder in a sprint triathlon. The sprint triathlon consists of:
- 750m Swim
- 20km Cycle
- 5km Run
Beginner triathletes take an average of 1 hour 50 minutes to complete their first sprint triathlon. So, when you think about race day, less than two hours of exercise is not that big a deal for many people.
It’s easy to see what you are letting yourself in for when you break the average sprint triathlon time down for a beginner.
A novice triathlete will cover 100 meters in 2 minutes during the swim, so 750 meters takes around 15 minutes. Their bike ride will take about an hour, and the run 30 minutes.
When you compare this time to a professional triathlete’s time, there is a significant difference – as there should be.
A professional triathlete can complete a sprint triathlon in under 1 hour. However, no matter what level you are at, your average sprint triathlon time will depend on the course’s difficulty, which we will go into shortly.
A Good Sprint Triathlon Time
To get a good sprint triathlon time, you need to put lots of effort into your training. You also need to be consistent enough to fit in training for three different sports.
During the race, your training will allow you to keep up a higher level of anaerobic or energy output than longer distance triathletes. But, this doesn’t mean that you don’t need to work on endurance.
To get a good sprint triathlon time, you should focus more on speed and perfecting your transition times. Therefore, you don’t have to clock lots of miles during your training, unlike a 70.3 or Ironman triathlete.
You will gain speed by increasing your power on the bike and becoming a faster runner. Doing this will bring your sprint triathlon time closer to 1 hour and 15 minutes, which is considered to be a very good sprint triathlon time.
3 Factors That Can Affect The Average Sprint Triathlon Time
Your fitness is the main thing that will determine if you get a good sprint triathlon time. But there are other aspects that can slow you down on race day.
The average sprint triathlon time can be different depending on the course. This is due to the local geography, as triathletes will be able to finish a race on a flatter course faster than a hilly one.
Also, a sprint triathlon that starts in a pool may be faster than one with an open water swim. Triathlons with open water swims tend to be slower as you have to contend with colder and murky water. Also, if the swim is in the sea or large lakes, you will have to battle against currents and waves.
The temperature shouldn’t affect your average sprint triathlon time too much unless it is exceptionally different from what you are used to. But the wind conditions can slow you down or speed you up on the ride.
If you get a headwind, you can expect to be riding slower, but you just have to power on through. However, if you get a tailwind, you will find your speed to be higher – but so will everyone else!
How fast you are in the transitions is especially important for setting a good sprint triathlon time. The relatively short distance means you don’t have that much opportunity to make a difference, so you can shorten your time with good transitions.
If your transitions are not smooth, you will lose valuable time. Therefore, you need to get them perfect to be in and out of the transition as fast as possible.
Check out our blog on 15 Triathlon Transition Tips To Save You Time!
3 Key Points In Sprint Triathlon Training
Just because the distance of a sprint triathlon is relatively short, it doesn’t mean that it is an easy undertaking. The sprint distance is ideal for a beginner, but there are still many professional events, making it a very competitive distance to race.
Sprint triathlon training involves high-intensity sessions in all three sports. This intensity is necessary to improve technique and speed, which will bring down your average sprint triathlon time.
Therefore, you will notice that the volume of training is less than for an Olympic distance. However, each session comprises more challenging workouts.
Your training plan needs to incorporate these three different elements to make sure you are ready for a sprint triathlon:
#1: Be Consistent
To improve your aerobic fitness, you need to be consistent with your training. This means that you need to swim, bike, and run several days of the week.
Depending on your current fitness level, you will need to keep up the consistency for at least 8 to 12 weeks. If you do this, you should finish with a good sprint triathlon time.
It is essential to follow a structured training plan to ensure you are at your peak performance on race day.
#2: Remember to Factor In Recovery Time
Recovery time is when your body makes its gains, so factoring rest into your workout plan is critical. You should have at least one day of not exercising per week.
You also need to look at your recovery time on a larger scale. Every 3 to 6 weeks, give yourself a less intense week of workouts. This will help with your performance, but it will also reduce the likelihood of injury and burnout.
When you mix up your weeks with recovery time and different intensities, your body becomes stronger and more adaptable.
#3: Don’t Neglect Your Mental Fitness
Some people manage to do all the training they need to get a good average sprint triathlon time, but they underperform during race day.
Most of the time, this is due to poor mental fitness. If you have any doubts in your mind, there is a good chance they will come to fruition. So it is vital to maintain a positive mental attitude on race day.
To stay positive, you should make sure you have done everything you can to train well. It would be best to eliminate anything that may cause you to get flustered or promote a negative mindset.
For example, make sure you know the course rules, ensure your bike is in perfect working order, and make sure your transitions are second nature. If you know all these things are taken care of, all you need to do is pace yourself properly throughout the race.
Triathlon gear can be pretty expensive, but you don’t have to blow the bank – you’ll probably already own most of the gear you’ll need.
For The Swim
Your essential items for the swim are a bathing suit – or a triathlon suit – and a pair of swimming goggles.
A triathlon suit is a figure-hugging one-piece suit that you wear throughout the race and has a little padding for the ride. These suits can be pricey, so many first-timers just wear swimming costumes.
You may want to wear a swimming wetsuit. These keep you warm and create buoyancy, which is advantageous for people who find the swim their weakest part.
It is not essential to wear a wetsuit, but it will make the swim more pleasant in chilly water. The downside of a wet suit is that it can slow you down when you transition to the bike.
For The Ride
You will obviously need a bike, a helmet, and cycling shoes for the bike ride.
Professional triathletes will ride expensive bikes, but you can compete on whatever bike you have. A good road bike will make you more competitive and give you a chance of getting a good sprint triathlon time.
More experienced cyclists will benefit from wearing clipless pedals. These help you ride more efficiently and faster, which will help reduce your average sprint triathlon time.
You may be able to save time in the first transition by having the shoes already attached to your bike’s pedals, but it takes a lot of practice to master slipping into them on the move.
For The Run
Make sure you have some quality running shoes that fit you properly for the run.
Don’t buy new ones for race day, but for your training. This way, you will break them in, and they will form to your feet, making them comfortable for your race.
How Long Does A Sprint Triathlon take? – Answered!
Your average sprint triathlon time depends on things you can control and things you can’t. So it is best to focus on what you can directly affect.
Train consistently, have all the suitable kit, and make sure your bike works perfectly. Everything else is out of your hands, so don’t worry about it. Most of the time, those external influences will affect everyone else in the race, so you should still be on an even playing field.