Triathlons can be intimidating for the beginner (aka "newbie") triathlete. Solid training and access to the right information will help smooth the transition from mere athlete to triathlete!

A Quick history

The first triathlon took place in San Diego in 1974. It was a birthday celebration for a member of the San Diego Track Club.

Lots of the runners in that group were also comfortable in the water (surfers and lifeguards) who had some sort of bike (beach cruisers and road bikes). The course had several run and swim legs and a single bike leg that toured Mission Bay.

The next big step was the first ironman competition on Oahu in 1978. That event was the culmination of a discussion (argument?) over who was the fittest athlete the one who did the Waikiki Rough Water Swim (2.4mi), the one who did the Around The Island Bike Race (112mi) or the one
who ran the Honolulu Marathon (26.2mi). The only way to settle the discussion was to do all three in one day.

In 2000 Triathlon debuted as an Olympic sport in Sydney. There are over 150,000 USA Triathlon annual members, we’ve seen year-to-year growth of 55% and the sky is the limit.

Race Distance 101:


An ultra-distance race consists of a 2.4mi swim, 112mi bike and 26.2mi run.


A long course is half of a ultra-distance: 1.2mi swim, 56mi biker and 13.1mi run.


The Standard or Olympic distance is 1.5km swim, 40km bike, 10km run.


Sprint is exactly half of the standard distance: 750m swim, 20k bike ride, 5k run.

Beyond these four there are dozens of races with odd distances that are super fun. Santa Barbara Long Course is a 1mi swim, 34mi bike and 10mi run. Redondo Beach Tri is 1/2mi swim, 6mi bike and 2mi run. the typical order is swim-bike-run but there are a few triathlons that start with a run, move to the bike and finish with a short pool swim.


Most folks who come to triathlon arrive with some history in one area: perhaps you’ve run some 5ks, 10ks or even marathons. Maybe you swam when you were in high school or have done some organized bike events.

If you have some history in one of our three sports than the approach of “train your weakness and sustain your strength” is your path to success. If you truly feel are equal in all three then the run will be your bigger investment.


"Train your weakness and sustain your strength."

Ian Murray, LATC Head Coach



There are three elements to training.
“Frequency” - how often you exercise.
“Intensity” - how hard the workout is.
“Duration” - how long a workout will be.

If you’ve been cleared by a doctor you can begin with high frequency (5+
workouts a week) - Short duration, low intensity.

If you have a long history in exercise, your technique is good ,and you’re
already rather fit then it’s safe to increase the duration of workout and have some workouts that are at a high intensity.

There’s strong evidence out there that suggests greatest gains will come from spending 70-80% of our training time at low intensity and 10-20% of our training time doing high intensity intervals. A new triathlete should spent a small bit of training in moderate intensity primarily to discover “race pace”.