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Sprint Triathlon Distances

how long is sprint triathlon distances

How Long is a Sprint Triathlon?

As the name implies, sprint triathlons are the shortest category of races.

Elite athletes can finish a sprint triathlon in about an hour or less. But for many athletes, this distance is far from a ‘sprint,’ often requiring 2 to 3 hours.

Sprint triathlon distances include swimming 0.5 miles (750 meters/2,460 feet), cycling 12.4 miles (20 kilometers), and running 3.1 miles (5 kilometers). There are also ‘super sprint’ triathlons that are even shorter distances:

Race TypeSwimBikeRun
Sprint Triathlon0.5 miles (750m)12.4 miles (20km)3.1 miles (5km)
Super Sprint Triathlon0.3 miles (500m)6.2 miles (10 km)1.6 miles (2.5 k)

Need help training for a Sprint triathlon? Check out our 12-week Sprint Triathlon Training Plan.

how long sprint triathlon distances lengths miles kilometers

The length of a sprint tri is a perfect entry-level distance, especially for beginners or experienced athletes looking to practice and shake out their gear. 

Some events are modified or shortened, which has coined the “super sprint triathlon,” which is the shortest distance with a defined measurement. Super sprints usually consist of swimming 0.3 miles (500 meters/1,640 feet), cycling 6.2 miles (10 kilometers), and running 1.6 miles (2.5 kilometers).

Sprint Distance Triathlon: Great for Beginners

sprint triathlon distances how long is a sprint triathlon

In addition to duathlons, starting with a sprint triathlon is typically the most common place to begin for beginners entering the world of multisport. The word “sprint” might seem ridiculous for an event that can take 2 hours or more to finish.

However, take into consideration the perspective of a professional triathlete. Depending on elevation and conditions, a sprint distance triathlon can take about 1 hour or less for pros. Meanwhile, Ironman distance triathlons usually finish between 8 and 10 hours for elite-caliber triathletes.

Embracing Sprint Triathlon Training & Racing

Sprint Triathlon Distances How Long is It?

When you break down each leg of a sprint triathlon, it’s easier to view each leg as a strong, concerted effort (versus a lower-effort, well-paced effort like Ironman). In other words, athletes can often maintain an anaerobic or higher level of energy output for a 60-90-minute race.

Conversely, long-course triathlon training often requires greater endurance-building and anaerobic training. That being low-intensity, high-volume training. See our triathlon training plans for more guidance.

While building endurance is important for both sprint and Olympic distance triathlons, competitive triathletes focus on speedwork, drills, and fast transitions. Coming out of the water early is also important, so learning to become an efficient swimmer (and perhaps investing in a good triathlon wetsuit) is helpful to be competitive in sprint triathlons.

But also consider the bike and run make up a vast majority of the mileage in a sprint distance triathlon. Although a tri bike is not necessary, fast cyclists and runners will often regain tremendous ground, even with a mediocre swim.

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Head of Content at Better Triathlete | Website

Endurance athlete, professional off-road cyclist, and avid blogger, Tyler Tafelsky participates in long-course multisport and cycling events. Today, Tyler competes in ultra-distance cycling races at the professional level. Since starting Better Triathlete in 2014, he has been the head of content for the site's editorial team. Learn more about Tyler