Indoor Triathlons: A Different Way to Tri

By Jessica Peterson

I did it. I signed up for my first triathlon and all it took was two glasses of wine to get there. Okay, I’ll admit it; the triathlon I signed up for is indoors far away from open waters. Indoor triathlons work differently than your typical outdoor tri. Instead of traveling specific distances and being ranked on your finishing time, you do each discipline for a specific amount of time and are ranked on the distance completed. For example, the triathlon I am competing in is comprised of a 15 minute swim, 20 minute bike ride, and 15 minute run and the complete distance I cover will determine my place.

While indoor triathlons can help veteran triathletes return to the sport to prepare for the next race season, they can also be the starting blocks for triathletes-to-be — those who, like me, are interested in the sport but are still working up the courage to sign up.  Here’s why you should consider signing up for an indoor triathlon:

  1. You swim in a pool. With no current, freezing water or possibility of unknown critters nipping at your legs, this type of triathlon is incredibly beginner friendly. Pools also allow for you to stop and regroup should you find yourself struggling. If you’re lucky, you may even get your own lane.
  2. Transitions are less hectic. In a regular triathlon, the clock does not stop while you are transitioning from the swim to the bike and the bike to the run. In contrast, indoor triathlons allow for a specific time for transitioning. For instance, during my triathlon, I will have ten minutes to get from my gym’s pool to the spin area upstairs and another five minutes to switch from the bike to the treadmill.
  3. Specialty gear is not required. Unless your gym allows you to use a CompuTrainer to compete in a distance-oriented indoor triathlon, you won’t need to worry about bringing your own bike, much less repair equipment. The only gear you’ll need is a swimsuit, swim cap, goggles, running shoes and basic gym clothes.
  4. Weather and terrain conditions don’t influence the race. There’s no need to worry about the triathlon becoming a duathlon due to dangerous weather nor will any portion be shortened due to heat. Additionally, you don’t need to bother training and preparing to compete on the various types of terrain you’ll be competing on. The conditions are always the same.
  5. No one is left behind. One of the most appealing benefits of these races is that you only have to go as far as you can in a set amount of time. No matter what you rank, you will finish with everyone in your wave.


With a little training, nearly everyone has the capacity to compete in a triathlon. Do you aspire to become a triathlete? Let us know what’s holding you back in the comments below.