Only 15 athletes took part in the first Ironman triathlon held in 1978 in Hawaii, which is now considered the ultimate test of endurance for humans. These days, hundreds of thousands of people test their limits by competing in Ironman triathlon races all over the world. There is so much variety in the number of competitors answering the question, “how long does it take to complete a triathlon” tends to vary greatly.
You need to consider several things before determining how long it takes to complete a triathlon. First, the nature of the race, depending on what kind of triathlon you are competing in, whether it is a sprint distance, Olympic distance, half-ironman, or full ironman triathlon. Each triathlon race is a test of endurance and will put athletes to push themselves to their limits.
· Cutoff Times
The most important thing that you should note is that each triathlon race has a specific cutoff time in place. Athletes will need to finish within the cutoff time for each race to ensure that they complete the race in a timely manner. There is an overall cutoff time, and there is a cutoff time for every stage. Athletes who don’t complete the triathlon or the stage within the cutoff time are registered as “Did Not Finish.” That is something you want to avoid when you are racing in a triathlon.
The cutoff times for each triathlon will vary depending on the event. Suppose you are racing in the full Ironman triathlon race that is held in Hawaii each year. In that case, you must finish the 2.2-mile swim in 2 hours and 20 minutes from starting the race, and the 112-mile bike section needs to be completed in 10 hours and 30 minutes from starting the race, and the 26.2-mile run section must be completed in 17 hours from starting the race. Hence, if you don’t finish the entire triathlon within 17 hours, you will be termed as a Did Not Finish.
· Professional Athletes
The times that professional athletes take to complete a triathlon are vastly superior to someone who may be starting their first triathlon race. That’s mainly because professional athletes train extensively and dedicate their lives to compete in triathlon races. They will train for hours every day and will not miss a day in weeks, and everything that they do will revolve around the competition.
Therefore, the finishing times they post at triathlon events are better than your average competitor, and if you want to post faster times, you will need to train extensively. Elite and professional athletes tend to perform better at triathlons, mainly because they take pride in their performance and push themselves to the limit. You will need to put in an extraordinary effort to even keep up with them during a triathlon.
· Age Groups
You will also attain massive recognition if you manage to complete a triathlon at the top of your age group. Semi-professional and professional athletes compete to finish at the top of their age group. They spend hours training for the various triathlon events and push themselves to their limits to post the best times in the triathlon.
The age groups are generally broken down into increments of five-year gaps. Professional male athletes in age groups from 55 to 59 can take around 10 hours to complete a triathlon. You must try and set your own limits and find the best time for your age group when you are training and competing in triathlons. That will give you a good indication of the best time to complete a triathlon.
· The Average Joe
Most people who have aspirations of competing in triathlon events don’t have the time to train extensively for days and weeks leading up to the event. Several athletes have family commitments and work full-time jobs during the year. A person who trains well and is in good physical shape and mental condition can expect to complete a triathlon race with time to spare.
The actual time it takes you to finish a triathlon event will depend on your training, experience, and conditioning. You must train for hours every day and set a timetable that you can follow easily along with your other daily commitments. Remember, your goal should be to finish the triathlon events and the race before the cutoff time. Don’t push yourself to win your first triathlon because even finishing the triathlon is a badge of honor.
· Training for a Triathlon
If you want to complete a triathlon well within time and ahead of other athletes, you must take the time to train for the various disciplines of the triathlon race. That means setting aside some time to train for the swim portion, setting aside time to train for the bike section, and finally, setting aside time to train for the triathlon’s running portion.
Remember, the more you train, the better your body will be equipped to deal with the triathlon’s rigors and challenges. If you put in the effort, you will find that completing a triathlon isn’t the most challenging thing that you will ever do in your life.
Our Final Thoughts
We hope that the information we have shared about how long it takes to complete a triathlon will help you train and prepare for the race. Each triathlon event has a different completion time depending on the nature and length of the events. So, practice hard for each event, and you will manage to complete your triathlon well before time and ahead of other competitors.