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Choosing the Type of Triathlon That Meets Your Ability Level

A resident of Cohasset, Massachusetts, Scott Bushley serves as a partner at the Boston-based hedge fund Granite Point Capital. Actively involved in his community, Scott Bushley has been a volunteer baseball coach for six years, and has also completed more than 25 races and triathlons.

Participating in a triathlon is an exhilarating and challenging experience. The sport has increased in popularity in recent years, with more than two million people participating in triathlons annually. Preparing for a triathlon requires a well-designed training plan to improve your running, cycling, and swimming performance. Before drafting a training plan, it helps to know which length of triathlon you will race.

A good option for people new to triathlons is the sprint distance, which is typically a total of 16 miles. The individual components of a sprint triathlon are usually a 0.5-mile swim, 12.4 miles of biking, and 3.1 miles of running.

In contrast, an Olympic-distance triathlon consists of a 0.93-mile swimming portion, a 24.8-mile biking portion, and a 6.2-mile running portion. Even more challenging is the half Ironman competition, which includes a 1.2-mile swimming portion, a 56-mile biking portion, and a 13.1-mile running portion. The full Ironman competition doubles all of the distances in a half Ironman. Whichever distance race you choose, make sure your training plan sets appropriate goals to achieve adequate endurance.