New To Triathlons

Generally, there are four main triathlon distances: Ironman, Olympic/International, Half Ironman and Sprint. Below are the distances in each....

Ironman distance: 2.4 mile swim / 112 mile bike / 26.2 mile run

Olympic or International distance: 1.5K swim / 40K bike / 10K run

Half Ironman distance: 1.2 mile swim / 56 mile bike / 13.1 mile run

Sprint distance: varying distinaces below Olympic distance. (see below)

A sprint distance race is generally around a 200-400 meter swim, 15-20 mile bike and 2-4 mile run. Those are just general distances, but you can find "sprint" triathlons of many varying distances.

An Olympic distance triathlon is sometimes called "International" distance as well. If you aren't familar with kilometer measurements, in miles it is a .93 mile swim / 24.8 mile bike / 6.2 mile run.

It's called Olympic distnace because, well, it is the distance used in the Olympics which added the sport of triathlon in 2000.

A half-iron distance is exactly half of the iron distance. There are some people out there who actually do "ultra" distance triathlons which are longer than Ironman distance races. But we won't even go there.... That pretty much sums up the basics of the four main triathlon distances. Any questions? You can find more details in an article at

We were all there once. Where do you begin?

First, join Vulcan Tri. We have several USAT Coaches we can put you in touch with, as well as, over 200 club members with years of experience. We offer winter beginner clinics aimed at the beginner triathlete and lots of training opportunities.

Next, pick a beginner friendly race and sign up! Buster Britton and Mountain Lakes are both great beginner friendly races. Team Magic also hosts a super friendly indoor triathlon at the LJCC and Vulcan Tri hosts a very casual "training" race in early May out at Oak Mountain.

Third, get out there and train! Contact your local bike shop for weekend rides. Get some miles in out at biker friendly Oak Mountain State Park. When you think you are ready for some longer group rides, show up for our Tuesday night club rides or Saturday morning rides out of the old Brownell Travel. Be sure to join The Dam Swimming Group on Facebook. This is a group dedicated to organzing open water swims at Oak Mountain. Trak Shak offers Wednesday night group runs that are great fun. Distances vary from 3-8 miles. 5:30 pm.

As always, feel free to post any questions on our message board located under MEMBERS tab. Good Luck!

So you've finished your race and go to look on the web site to see your results, only to see a bunch of times that you don't understand. Not to worry, that's what this FAQ is for. Below are some common split terms that you will see on race results and their explanations.

Please note that these specific splits were taken from the SportsFirst Tri-It-On Triathlon. Other races may have slightly different terms, but you should get the idea. For example, many races may not give you your transition times and will just merge those in with your swim/bike/run splits. One other thing to note is that the ‘beginner’ category is a category specific to Team Magic races. Many other triathlons will not have a separate category for beginners, here defined as those who have participated in 3 or less multi-sport races. It is, however, fairly common to have separate categories for ‘Clydesdale’ and ‘Athena’. Clydesdales are male athletes weighing over 200 pounds and Athenas are female athletes weighing over 150 pounds. (Those weight ranges can vary slightly from race to race.)

Place: Your place overall (will be overall in ‘beginners’ or overall in ‘open’ for Tri-Ot-On)
No.: Your race number
Name: Self-explanatory, hopefully
Ag: Your age
S: Your sex
Swm Plc: Your place for just the swim against others in your category (beg, open, etc)
Swm Time: How long your swim actually took -- from the time you started to the time you crossed the next timing mat out of the swim into the transition area
Run Trans: Your time in the transition area (T1) between swim and bike
Bike Plc: Your place for just the bike against others in your category (beg, open, etc)
Bike Time: Your bike time. This is from the time you exited the transition area until the time you finished the bike and came back into transition
Bike Split Plc: Your place after swim and bike against others in your category (beg, open, etc)
Bike Split: Your race time so far after the bike. This includes swim time, T1 and bike time (but not T2)
Bike Trans: Your time in the transition area (T2) between bike and run
Run Plc: Your place for just the run against others in your category (beg, indiv, etc)
Run Time: How long your run actually took from leaving T2 to the finish line
Finish Time: Your overall finish time from when you started to when you got to the finish line; including swim, bike, run and transition times

Some people have what is the difference between Team Magic and Vulcan Triathletes? Are they both just clubs in Birmingham for triathletes? Nope!! Team Magic is an organization of around 30 volunteers in both AL and TN that work hard to put on these races. These coordinators are multisport enthusiasts who dedicate their Team Magic weekends to make sure you have a first class event! On the other hand, Vulcan Triathletes is a club. We have a few free training races we put on every now and then, but otherwise don't put on any races. We leave that up to the experts. Team Magic was very instrumental in helping Vulcan Triathletes get started many years ago and continue to support us today. So you see, Vulcan Triathletes and Team Magic are a perfect pair and work hand-in-hand to bring the sport of triathlon to our area.

Find out more about Team Magic on their web site at


It happens to all of us. Just click the Forgotten your password? link in the 'Member Login' box. There, enter your username and email address and a new password will be emailed to you.

To change your email address, login and click 'My Profile' under the user menu, then click 'Update Your Profile'. Change your email address and then click the 'Update' button.

  • Login, under the "Member Login" link at the top left corner of the site
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Vulcan Triathletes, Birmingham AL
Vulcan Triathletes, Birmingham AL
Vulcan Triathletes, Birmingham AL