Triathlon: How to Get Started in Egypt?

Triathlon is one of today’s most challenging endurance sports, but it’s not something to be intimidated by, especially if you’re a beginner. Triathlon is an endurance sport that can do wonders to your physical fitness and mindset.

Try the adventure and challenge triathlon offers with our beginner’s guide.

What is Triathlon?

Triathlon is a hybrid endurance sport. It consists of swimming, cycling, and running. But sport variations for triathlon races don’t stop there. To cater to athletes of different skill levels, ages, and preferences, triathlon also comes with various distances that you should be able to conquer if you want to move forward. Triathlon tests perseverance and endurance to the extreme.

Who Oversees Triathlon?

The International Triathlon Union (ITU), known since 2019 as World Triathlon, is the biggest world governing body for triathlon and other multisports. The ITU was founded in April 1989 and continued to oversee triathlons over a range of distances since that year. It set up the World Cup Series in 1991.

Is Triathlon Safe?

Although triathlon is an extreme endurance sport that demands a lot, it is generally safe for those who can take care of their bodies—physically and mentally—before, during, and after a triathlon. Like any other sport, triathlon also has its own risks linked to accidents, illnesses, and injuries. As such, it is the athlete’s responsibility to be in his best form before competing through training and proper nutrition.

According to research published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine, some of the most common medical conditions participants may encounter during a triathlon may include muscle cramping, heat stroke, musculoskeletal injuries, hypertension, bacterial infection, gastrointestinal diseases, immunosuppression, nervous system and psychological exhaustion, and hemolysis.

“The rate of occurrence of such events and the severity of their potentially negative outcomes is a function of the methods used by both the race organizers and the competitors to prevent or respond to the conditions imposed by the race,” confirmed the research.

Why Triathlon Start With Swimming?

A triathlon always follows the same order: swim, bike, and run, regardless of the triathlon distance. Only the length of each activity will change, as explained in our breakdown of different triathlon distances.

Safety, as mentioned before, is paramount in triathlon. As such, swimming should intentionally come first because it’s the most physically demanding challenge among the tree. Braving the water first will prevent injuries and accidents like muscle cramping, fatigue, and drowning for the duration of the event.

Where Does Triathlon Originated?

As a combination of three different sports, triathlon can trace its roots back to multi-event races in France during the 1920s. But the actual discipline originated in the early 1970s with the San Diego Track Club in Southern California. During that time, triathlon was designed to function as a substitute for hard track training.

Don Shanahan and Jack Johnstone, the pioneers of triathlon, officially introduce the said endurance sports to the world on September 25, 1974, and it was sponsored by the San Diego Track Club. The first triathlon followed a 500-m swim, 10-km run, and 8-km cycle.

Where Is Triathlon Most Popular?

France is technically the birthplace of triathlon, but Southern California brought the sports to greater heights and paved the way for international recognition. Today, triathlon is popular in countries like the USA, Great Britain, New Zealand, Australia, and Germany.

In terms of international success, Great Britain is the most successful nation at the time of writing. The country holds three gold, three silver, and two bronze medals in the Olympics.

When Did Triathlon Enter the Olympics?

Triathlon is a relatively new sport in the Olympics. In 1989, it was awarded Olympic status and for the first time ever, received the opportunity to join an Olympic international event. The triathlon made its debut in the 2000 Sydney Olympics in Australia.

A total of 48 women and 52 men competed in separate triathlons, categorized as men’s and women’s individual events. The Olympics, in partnership with the ITU, made use of the standard 1.5 km (0.93 mi) swim, 40 km (25 mi) cycle, and a 10 km (6.2 mi) run format.

What Are The Different Triathlon Distances?

Triathlon distances are defined by distance, time, and activities involved. Short triathlon distances can take approximately an hour to complete—or even less, depending on the capabilities of the participants and the obstacles in the way. Long-distance triathlons, meanwhile, can take 17 to 24 hours—a whole day full of challenges.

Here are the different types of triathlon distances offered by local, national, and international organizations:

Super Sprint Triathlon

Super Sprint triathlon, often called mini-triathlon, is for entry-level athletes or first-time triathletes. The standard distribution of length for Super Sprint triathlon is 400-500 meters for swim, 10 kilometers for bike, and 2.5 kilometers for run. That makes a total of 12.9 to 13 kilometers. Super Sprint triathlon lasts between 45 minutes to an hour.

Sprint Triathlon

A Sprint triathlon is another good option for amateur triathletes, but it’s still a decent race that you can add to your accomplishments and experience since it can already give you a full triathlon experience with a 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike, and 5-kilometer run for 1 to 2 hours. If you race competitively, Sprint can look like a standard triathlon.

Standard / Olympic Triathlon

Standard or Olympic Distance triathlon should be an amateur’s first real triathlon race. It consists of a 1.5-kilometer run, 40-kilometer bike, and 10-kilometer run—a total of 51.5 kilometers. In a nutshell, it’s a short and intense triathlon perfect for competitive amateurs and professionals. A Standard or Olympic triathlon can last between 1 hour and 45 minutes to 4 hours, depending on the participant’s skill level.

World / ITU Long-Course Triathlon

The world or ITU long-course triathlon has a total of 102 kilometers, broken down into a 2-km swim, 80-km bike, and 20-km run. These events covering the 102-kilometer distances are hosted annually and internationally by the World Triathlon (not to be confused by the World Triathlon Corporation of the Ironman).

Ironman 70.3 / Half Ironman Triathlon

Ironman 70.3, Half Ironman, or middle-distance triathlon is your introduction to elite triathlon races. This option is a massive step-up from the standard distance triathlon and a decent challenge to take on if you really want to be a professional triathlete. It’s a primer for the ultimate triathlon race.

Ironman 70.3 and other variations of Ironman triathlons are exclusively hosted by the World Triathlon Corporation and the IRONMAN Foundation, an organization that hosts multi-sports events and supports athletic communities across the globe. The ‘70.3’ in each Half Ironman triathlon event refers to the total distance required to be completed by the participants. Each Ironman 70.3 consists of various races totaling 70.3 miles or approximately 113 kilometers: 1.2-mile (1.9 km) swim, 56-mile (90 km) bike ride, and 13.1-mile (21.1 km) run.

Ironman Triathlon

The original Ironman triathlon remains today the most grueling and demanding one-day triathlon race in the world. It is a race over a 2.4-mile (3.8 kilometers) swim, 112-mile (180 kilometers) bike, and 26.2-mile (42.2 kilometers) run. The Ironman event became a tradition and a competitive event after the success of the first Ironman on the Hawaiian island of Oahu in 1978. It started as a bet between swimmers, cyclists, and runners.

What is the Essential Gear for Triathlon?

Triathlon is composed of three sports disciplines, so it’s a gear-heavy sport. But for starters, you need to focus on the essentials, such as swim goggles, a bike, helmet, wetsuit or trisuit, and running shoes. A complete triathlon apparel starting from the basics can help you get started.

If you wish to improve your full performance, particularly in areas affecting time management, the transition process, and race plan, here are other equally important gear you can invest in.

Racing Essentials

  • Tri-suit
  • Race belt
  • Sports watch
  • Bicycle

Swimming Essentials

  • Swimming cap (usually provided by the race organization)
  • Goggles
  • Flip Flops
  • Ear plugs

Cycling Essentials

  • Small towel
  • Pair of socks
  • Cycling shoes
  • Helmet
  • Glasses
  • Nutrition
  • Spare tire
  • Portable pump

Running Essentials

  • Running shoes
  • Running hat or visor
  • Water bottle

Which Triathlon Bike To Buy

Triathlon bikes have lots of upgraded features you will not find in a standard bike. A triathlon bike has the appropriate frame geometry and efficient aerodynamics for rigorous training and demanding races. A triathlon bike aims to give riders the most comfortable experience and the best performance for long-distance and heavy riding.

For the structure, triathlon bikes’ seat tubes are mostly steeper than road bikes’ to lessen tension. Most road bikes have a 72-degree seat tube angle, while triathlon bikes have seat angles exceeding 78 degrees. This offers riders a comfortable position in long-distance riding.

To know which triathlon bike to buy, consider these features that are not available in a standard bike, and the following factors: your budget, fit and size, frame material, brand, groupset, personal comfort, and external accessories and tools.

What to Eat For Triathlon

Triathletes have more demanding nutritional requirements as the endurance sport burns a lot of calories. The main nutrients that should be part of a triathlon diet are carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, and fluids.

Carb loading should be a priority since it’s the body’s main source of energy. The best sources are potatoes, pasta, brown rice, and oats. Protein intake is also important for recovery, and the best sources are eggs, meat, whey protein, and yogurt. Fats, particularly healthy or saturated fats, meanwhile, should never be absent from a triathlete’s diet since it’s an additional source of energy. Some of the healthiest sources of fats are nuts, fatty fish, seeds, olive oil, soybean, and corn.

For vitamins and fluids, you need healthy food sources with high water and electrolytes content and less sugar. Get vitamins from citrus fruits, leafy vegetables, berries, and milk. Your fluids, of course, should include water and energy drinks with less sugar.

How to Train for Triathlon

Triathlon is the ultimate endurance challenge, but beginners shouldn’t be intimidated by it. It, of course, requires rigorous training. But with a sound body and mind, your perseverance and determination can lead you to a better triathlon performance and possibly a successful sports career in the field.

Before you undergo triathlon training, choose your race first as the distance and requirements will determine the type of training you need—mini triathlon training or a full training for the Ironman. Afterward, craft a plan with rigorous training and enough recovery period.

Build A Strenght-Training Program

You need the endurance and stamina for training and during the actual race. An effective program should contain a one-day rest day a week. You can alternate between running, swimming, cycling training sessions, and other workout activities, such as weight lifting and yoga classes from Monday to Saturday.

Prioritize Cycling, Challenge Your Swimming Skills

Focus on improving your endurance in cycling because most triathlon races allot more time to cycling. You need to learn how to bike faster and further. As for swimming, aim to swim in open water. Swimming in open water can condition your body for triathlon better than swimming in a pool. Open water has the right size, temperature, and obstacles for your training

Practice Your Transitions

Transitions should take the least amount of time in a race. However, accidents and other disasters can prolong and compromise the time needed for the next endurance sport on the list. That’s why you need to know how to make your transitions faster and more efficient.

Give Your Body Time To Recover

Your recovery phase is just as important as your training sessions. It gives the body time to repair damages and strengthen itself. Don’t neglect your recovery phase, especially when race day is fast approaching. You need to allow your body to recover and refuel to compensate for all your rigorous training sessions.

Egypt Triathlon Clubs

Egypt has triathlon clubs and organizations that collectively work together to help individuals and communities recognize the value of triathlon—whether it’s for personal development or competitive purposes and especially for huge races like the Ironman triathlon. Here are some of the most accessible triathlon clubs in Egypt that can help you start your journey:

Alameda Tri Team

Founded in 2015, Alameda Tri Team is a relatively new organization that handles professional triathlon teams worldwide. Their main goals as a sports club are to develop Arab talents into future world champions and promote triathlon across the Arab region. Alameda Tri Team operates in Cairo and London.

Alex Night Runners

Alex Night Runners is a sports team in Egypt that hones amateurs to become professional triathletes. They organize city and beach marathons, training programs, and fitness sessions for all ages. Alex Night Runners usually operates at the Alex Stadium.

Maadi Athletes

Maadi Athletes is a sports organization founded by triathlon amateurs who want to promote the sports across Egypt. They organize, join, and support triathlon events worldwide, but mainly in Maadi, Cairo.

Night Runners

Night Runners is an amateur sports club in Egypt that focuses on triathlon. They host, compete, and join beach races, weekly workout, cleanup programs, and more. Members of Night Runners mainly operate in Cairo, Egypt.

OCTRI Triathlon Team

Ocean Triathlon Team (OCTRI) is a sports organization that specializes in triathlon programs for competitive professional and amateur athletes. Trained athletes of OCTRI compete in local Triathlon and sports events in Egypt. Their central training location is in October City, Al Giza Desert, Giza.

Sharm Tri Team

Sharm Triathlon Club is a triathlon-focused sports club based in Sharm El Sheikh. They welcome participants of all ages, but their main goal is to promote the sports to the young generation. Members of the Sharm Tri Team participate in national and local sports events, organized mainly by the Administrative Control Authority and the Youth and Sports Directorate.

Stamina Tri Team 

Stamina is a professional sports team that offers fitness classes, triathlon activities, and endurance training. The organization is powered by Hassan Allam properties and has communities and centers in HSC Heliopolis, HSC El Shorouk, Swanlake, Narmer, and Hayat.

Velocity Triathlon

Velocity Triathlon is the first and biggest triathlon team in Alexandria. Their prominent members were part of the Alexandria Sporting Club, but they now have another sports team based in Cairo called Train For Aim. They attract professional athletes and ex-athletes.

Tenacity Coaching

Tenacity Coaching offers unique triathlon and online endurance coaching to help athletes and individuals integrate the sports into their daily lives. Some of their members and athletes compete at local and national marathons in Egypt. Tenacity has no physical location, but they do meetups in different cities.

Z TRI Team

Z TRI Team is a relatively small triathlon team in Egypt, but they host and join local and national events to breed competitive athletes. When not participating in competitions, their leaders and athletes conduct training and fitness sessions in El Sheik Zaid.

Tri Harder for Triathlon

Triathlon is an amazing endurance sport that has everything you need to improve your body. You can choose it as a lifestyle or a sports career. Either way, the key is to always try harder. Perseverance and determination are both essential principles in triathlon