The general format of a Triathlon will be a Swim followed by a Cycle followed by a Run.  The sport is incredibly popular as it is suitable for all abilities and ages, individual athletes or relay teams. It is also a very accessible and social sport that is a great way of increasing your fitness or helping you maintain a healthy lifestyle while training with like minded people!




Triathlons come in various distances, the distances are:

  • Try-a-Tri: 250m swim, 6km cycle, 3km run
  • Sprint : 750m swim, 20km cycle, 5km run
  • Standard: 1500m swim, 40km cycle, 10km run
  • Middle: 1900m swim, 90km cycle, 21.1km run
  • Long : 3800m swim, 180k cycle, 42.2k run


The most common place for beginners to start is with the short try-a-tri or the sprint distance. 


If for some reason you are unable to compete in all thre triathlon dicuplines there are other events organised throughout the season: Duathlons (Cycling & Running), Aquathons (Swimming & Running) or Aquabikes (Swimming & Cycling), so there really is no excuse!


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It is perfectly acceptable to show up for your first triathlon(s) on a mountain bike, old road bike or hybrid, in fact it is pretty common particularly in sprint triathlons.  Once you have done some events, met some people, discussed your requirements with club mates you will get a good feel for what and where to get your new gear. 


The following is a list of essential and optional gear;





  • Wetsuit (generally compulsory for Irish races)
  • Hat (usually provided with registration for event)
  • Goggles
  • Tri-suit (a one piece that you can wear throughout all three phases)
  • Body glide (to prevent wetsuit chafing)
  • GPS watch (the triathlon version will track your progress through all 3 phases)
  • Towel (to dry your feet in transition)


  • Bicycle
  • Helmet
  • Track or frame pump (you will need to inflate your tyres before every ride)
  • Tyre repair kit (tube, levers, pump or CO2 canisters)
  • Bottle cages and bottles (means you can carry 1 or 2 bottles on your bike)
  • Bike shorts (or already mentioned tri-suit which will keep your undercarriage happy)
  • Clip shoes and pedals (these are scary to begin with but you will want to progress to them eventually)
  • Socks are optional (some people prefer to go without in order to speed up transition)
  • Bike computer (these track speed, cadence and mileage, the wireless version is the most popular)
  • Turbo trainer (a small machine you hook your rear wheel into and you can cycle away at home, handy for winter training but not essential)
  • Aero bars (you can clip aero bars onto your bike to get the effect of having a tri bike at a fraction of the cost)


  • Running shoes (good idea to get a gait analysis in order to get the correct shoe for you)
  • Clothing (or already mentioned tri-suit)


  • Race belt (a small elastic belt which your race number will attach too, much easier than having to pin numbers to your front and back -  In triathlon race numbers are worn on the back for the bike phase and front for run phase)







There are many shops catering to the needs of triathletes, from our own experiences we can recommend the following;



TMG Cycles (Skerries)

Jimmy’s Bike Shop (Portmarnock)

Richie’s Bikes (Swords)

Eurocycle (Swords)

Base to Race (Ballymount)

Cycle Superstore (Tallaght)





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