What Are Good Triathlon Times?

Natalie Cecconi
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Common Triathlon Races

There are a variety of triathlon races that are open to all comers. However, the majority of triathlons are organized by clubs or organizations such as Sprint Triathlon Club, Individual Triathlon Club of the United Kingdom, Triathletes Club St. Croix, and Triathlon Club.

Some races can be very competitive, like the Triathlon Union of the United Kingdom, which allows elite riders to compete in its race. However, you can find plenty of beginner-friendly races that are perfect for first time triathletes as well.

Even if you are very new to triathlons you can find one that will work for you. Look for races that offer easy transitions or beginner waves. This makes the race much less overwhelming and will give you good times and plenty of practice to break your time down.

Another way to get faster triathlon times is to sign up for more than one race. This is called “racing consistently.” Each race, you find new mistakes you didn’t make before and learn something to make yourself faster. Some training groups are also great ways to push yourself and help your triathlon times overall.

Super Sprint

5K swim, 10K bike, 2.5K run)

Super Sprint triathlons are non-drafting races where superheats consist of a non-wetsuit swim, a short bike leg (12-16 miles) and a run (1,000-2,000 m). Once you move to the longer distance races, the times get significantly longer. It is not unusual then to see the top male times at the Olympic distance ranging between 1:10:51 (Sprint) and 01:09:00 (Olympic).

Taking these times as a guideline, if you are looking to achieve a personal best in either of the shorter sprint distance triathlon events, then you will need to be aiming between 23:15 and 23:45.

Sprint

Sprint-distance triathlons are the shortest events on the circuit, but they’re also the most accessible for novice triathletes. They involve swimming, biking, and running, and provide a great chance to try out this exciting sport.

Let’s break it down, and look at what you can expect in terms of times.

The swim leg is the leg with the most variables. As you’ve learned, your swim performance can vary greatly based on body length and your choice of stroke.

The USAT defines the slowest finisher in an elite wave as competitive and the fastest as elite. For recreational racers, it’s the opposite. The slowest finisher of a recreational wave is considered competitive and the fastest is considered elite.

So a competitive female will be half the time as an elite female, and a competitive male will be half the time as an elite male. Sprinter finishers are compared to sprint finishers of the same sex.

In a 10K swim, an elite female will finish in about 45 minutes and a competitive female will be about half as slow, finishing in about 90 minutes.

Olympic

Olympic triathlon events are held in all four Olympic summer games, typically for both women and men. These events consist of swim, cycle and run with the distances varying slightly across the games.

In 2004, the men’s competition was 1,500m swim, 40km cycle and 10km run while the women competed in a distance of 1,500m swim, 20km cycle and 5km run. In 2012, the men competed in a 1,500m swim, a 40km bike and a 10km marathon run while the women swam 1,500m, cycled 20km and ran 5km.

The Summer Olympics also hold triathlon events for men and women who have an intellectual disability. Unlike the Olympic triathlon, these categories are called the TRI-1 and TRI-2 but still require a swim, cycle and a run.

For the individual age group categories, the accepted standards are used to compare athletes’ performances. Records and winning times are set for these categories when the athlete is the oldest in their age group.

Half Ironman

Swim: 2.4

Bike: 56

Run: 13.1

Total: 1:36:00

Ironman (140.6) Times (distances in miles)

Swim: 2.4

Bike: 112

Run: 26.2

Ironman

Finishing Times (Distances: 0.9km Swim + 90km Bike + 21.1km Run)

These are the current world record finishing times in the Ironman. Obviously, this is completely unattainable for most people, but it looks really impressive on a resume!

Athlete Time (in hours:minutes:seconds)

Jan Frodeno, GER 2015 2:40:15

Ricardo Abreu, BRA 2015 2:40:34

Patrick Lange, GER 2015 2:40:50

Pete Jacobs, AUS 2015 2:41:02

Timothy O’Connell, GBR 2015 2:41:03

Markus Roth, SUI 2015 2:41:13

Rudi Wildenauer, AUT 2015 2:41:28

Heinz Frei, SUI 2015 2:41:32

Hayden Quinn, NZL 2015 2:42:24

Jock Wishart, AUS 2015 2:43:16

Marko Albert, EST 2015 2:44:13

Tim Don, GBR 2015 2:44:33

Alex Meyer, USA 2015 2:44:38

Michael Weiss, AUT 2015 2:45:00

Jemma Simpson, GBR 2015 2:45:39

Triathlon Time Considerations

The first question you need to ask yourself is what are reasonable time goals for your first triathlon?

As a beginner trainee, your first goal should be to finish your first race. Other winning time expectations need to wait a few more years. Therefore, any triathlon time comparison should be made solely based on your fitness level.

Since gear-based sports are quite individualistic, most time comparisons between athletes will be difficult. What will be relevant for your comparison is your time relative to your personal performance on a previous triathlon.

For example, if you’ve finished a Sprint distance triathlon in an hour within four weeks from your first Ironman distance triathlon, then that’s a great accomplishment!

Armed with that perspective and a little bit of realistic enthusiasm, you can make progress much more quickly than you would think.

Weather and Temperature

How do weather and temperature affect race times? Wind affects swimming, cycling and running. Some athletes choose to avoid the heat by training at night or in the early morning. Ice can make any activity more challenging.

What makes a good triathlon time? What factors contribute to a good triathlon time? These questions have a variety of answers. Here are just a few:

Each athlete's goals.

Each athlete's limitations.

Each athlete's competition level.

Each athlete's level of training.

The faster the athlete, the narrower the range of "good times" is.

The better the athlete, the longer the range of "good times" is.

The higher the athlete's competition level, the narrower the range of "good times" is.

Fatigue

Here are a few factors that affect performance:

  • Time of year
  • Training background
  • Length of the course
  • Temperature
  • Wind
  • Altitude

Type of course (course layout, elevation, terrain, pavement type, etc.)

Gear – helmet, shoes, new or worn, fancy or basic.

Race Course

A ,a triathlon is a difficult, yet exhilarating sport. Few sports require a wide variety of strengths and skills, as well as coordination and stamina. One could say that, in a sense, a triathlon does very much imitate life.Fifty percent of the participants will not be able to finish on time, while the rest of the participants have to do a little more than average individual running, swimming and cycling if they want to achieve the best possible time.

When compared to longer races if you were to take the 100 best runners then there would be no difference between a marathon or a 10K run.

But for the 100 best triathletes, the difference between finishing a 10K or a marathon can be enormous.

In a triathlon, the distance is equally divided of running, swimming and cycling for all the competitors. That means the first part is a serious strength test for the legs as well as the cardiovascular system.

The second part is an endurance test for the upper body and the cardiovascular system.The third part is the endurance test for your lower body and your cardiovascular system and the fourth and most important part is the navigation test or the little skirmish for the best possible time.

The first part is about running, the second part is about cycling, and the third part is about how your legs are going and the last part is the navigation and decision test.

Equipment

Before starting a triathlon you will need a bike, appropriate clothing, some running shoes and swimsuit.

What bike to choose depends on your gender. There are specific types of bikes for each gender, the time you spend training, and what you would like to get from triathlon training.

For instance if you intend to do a lot of long distance training and don't have a good time but are willing to put in a lot of time, a road bike might be the right option for you.

On the other hand if you've got a bit of money to spend, and would like to shave off seconds in each competition, you might want to get a triathlon bike.

As for clothing options for women … you'll want something that wicks away your sweat and yet also breathes well.

This means that you won't get too hot when you are running but that your body stays warm enough when you are swimming and biking.

On top of that you will want clothing that doesn't chafe. Otherwise you can experience a lot of discomfort and will certainly be distracted by that.

Triathlon races require the use of all three of the traditional metal flange design bicycle pedals without any clips or straps to connect them to the rider's shoes.

The Quality of Your Training

This is a question that is frequently asked by individuals who are thinking about participating in a triathlon. I hear from so many people that are new to the sport and just getting started.

The question is an interesting one because it is quite obvious that the times of any given triathlon are going to differ between men and women. After all, the competitions are separated by gender, but how much should we expect that the times differ between the two?

Well, as it turns out, quite a bit! On average, men can usually expect to finish an Olympic distance triathlon somewhere around 30 to 40 minutes faster when compared to a female of the same age and experience.

What’s even more interesting is that it’s not necessarily the number one female during her prime that will finish their race the quickest. Instead, it is usually the number two (or even number three) who finishes the race in the fastest time!

So why does this happen and why do men have better triathlon times? It’s actually very easy to explain. It’s because typically the types of training that are done by a more experienced male are much more demanding on the body than the training that is done by a more experienced female.

The Status of Your Injuries

You brought our check to the table.

You pay your medical bills, and you pay for icing.

You have a life insurance policy, and back-to-school supplies.

You can always get something, but you can never get everything.

There are some races which provide a very pleasant experience, with an abundance of spread, bring on the ping pong balls. There are other races are a bit harder on you.

The whole idea of race profiles is to keep you from entering races that are much harder than you need at this moment of your running career. By all means, you pay an entry fee, and you are entitled to it.

But you should be smart about it. Most runners are not aware of what price they pay and what they get for that price.

Some of the entry fees are simply outrageous.

Only some races are worth spending money for.

You pay for transportation, parking, and souvenirs.

Training is the best prevention of injuries.

The best way to avoid common running injuries is to stretch and strengthen your muscles before and after the run.

To pick the right best practices for good running form, it is necessary to have a feel for how you run while not being overly concerned with the time that you take.

The original step-by-step guide to perfecting your running form.

Final Thoughts

We hope our guide to common bike frames and bike parts has helped take some of the mystery out of finding your perfect bike and keeping it in tip-top shape. We realize that these bikes can get pretty expensive, so if you ever need advice on which bike to buy or if you are just looking to save a substantial amount of money, contact one of our expert mechanics!

If your bike is your trusty steed, treat your bike well.