What is triathlon?

Triathlon is a multi-discipline sport consisting of swimming, cycling and running, and is a great sport to keep active. Plus, by taking on the three disciplines, you can keep training fun and varied too!


The swim will take place in a swimming pool or open water, such as a lake or the sea, and if you’re taking part in an open water event you will need a wetsuit. Many local triathlon clubs have access to a lake where you can practise.

The swim start will be in waves, with groupings based on your predicted swim time or age. You can do either front crawl or breast stroke in the event, whichever you prefer.


Helmets are compulsory for all races with even the elite stars wearing them.

A bike is an essential bit of kit, but as long as it's been serviced and is roadworthy you can use it. Most races are on roads open to other traffic. If you're nervous or new to cycling, it would be useful to practise riding your bike on quiet roads until you have built up your confidence.

The bike route on your race will be signposted and have officials to help direct you. However, it's always useful to check the competitor information to check the route before the race.


Shoes are the most important part of your running equipment, and it is worth making sure your trainers fit and are comfortable.

Running after the bike can be a little different, but don't panic, it will get easier as you continue to run. There are usually drink stations on the run route, and again the route will be signposted and have officials.

If you need to improve your running, your local triathlon club will have sessions and coaching available or try a GO TRI training session near you.


This is often called the fourth discipline in triathlon for those at the top of the sport. However, for many people, transition is simply where all your swim-to-bike and bike-to-run kit is kept during the race. You'll be given a race number which you'll need to wear on the bike and run, and sometimes a timing chip to time you from start to finish.

You'll need to rack your bike and layout your kit before the race starts.

Your helmet must be fastened before you move your bike and cannot be removed until the bike is racked again. Marshals and an official will be in transition and can answer any questions you might have.


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Relay triathlon’s come in three main types.


Mixed Team Relay - A team is composed of four athletes: two open and two female triathletes, athletes who will compete in the following order: open, female, open, female. Each of them will cover a complete aquathlon, triathlon, cross triathlon, duathlon, cross duathlon, winter triathlon or winter duathlon. The total time for the team is from the start of the first team member to the finish of the 4th competitor. Time is continuous and timing does not stop between competitors. The British Mixed Team relay champs follows the Mixed Relay format.

3x relay - A team is composed of three competitors of the same race category. Each of them will cover a triathlon, duathlon, winter triathlon, cross triathlon or cross duathlon. The total time for the team is from the start of the 1st team member to the finish of the 3rd competitor. Time is continuous and timing does not stop between competitors.

Standard Relay - A team is composed of three competitors regardless of race category. The first competitor will cover the swim segment, the second one the bike segment and the third one the run segment. The total time for the team is from the start of the first team member to the finish of the third competitor. Time is continuous and timing does not stop between competitors.

Some events, including the English National Championships follow a different format. Teams of four triathletes from the same category compete together. All four team members will complete the swim leg back to back before moving onto the bike. This is then repeated for both the bike and the run legs of the race. The time is taken from when the first team member starts the swim, until the last person completes the bike leg.

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Triathlon isn't the only multisport option available! If swim, bike, run isn't your cup of tea we guarantee there will be a multisport option that is. Check out the options below. 



Whether you’re dreaming of the Paralympic Games or simply want to have a more active lifestyle, triathlon can be the sport to get you there. With plenty of opportunities to get involved, you’re just a swim, bike and run away from where you want to be.

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If it’s time for you to try something new and flip the script, you’re in the right place. Our membership packages will help you get active, compete and join the thousands already in the swim, bike, run community. There are some exclusive perks and discounts thrown in too! So, step out of your comfort zone and come join us.

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