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Triathlon Alternatives

Here’s the thing…in order to call oneself a triathlete, you of course have to swim/bike/run.  But there are alternative options if the triathlon is not for you.  Often I see/hear statements on blogs or in random conversations along the lines of “I can’t swim” or “I would do a tri but I have to learn to swim” or ” I am not good at riding a bike” and  then the talk stops for a few days/weeks. 

Are you looking to try something new?  How about one of these events:

Duathlon:  This race consists of a run-bike-run format.  This is a good race for those who do not like, or know how, to swim.  Dualthons are most typically held simultaneously with triathlons and the distance generall coincides with that of the triathlon race.  Additionally, in the event of a thunderstorm or other conditions that would prevent one from swimming, the triathlon race is turned into a duathlon for all racers.  This was the case last year at the Philadelphia Women’s Event.  I personally found it more physically taxing and demanding than a triathlon.  Props to the DU’ers!  If interested, you can read about it here.

Aqua-Bike:  This is also sometimes referred to as Aqua-Velo and it combines the swim and the bike of a race.  This is a good race for someone who has to take time off of running, or for the athlete who might be marathon training but wants to enjoy racing at the same time.  These events, like the duathlon, generally run simultaneously with the triathlon.

Aqualthon:  This event is more commonly known as a Splash and Dash.  In this event, the racers partake in a swim and run, eliminating the bike course.  Unlike the other events, a Splash and Dash is usually held on its own and not as part of a triathlon.  This kind of race is perfect for someone who is uncomfortable on the bike.   

Relay:  Did you know that most triathlon races offer a relay option?  If you are a super-fast swimmer, biker or runner, you might think about grabbing two other super fast partners and forming a relay team.  And if you are slow (like me) that’s great too- relays are for everyone! Two or three people can make up a relay team and they are held in all distances.  Relay teams are a great way to race without taxing your body too much. 

If you have competed in any of the above events, please share your experience.  If you haven’t…well, what are you waiting for???

15 thoughts on “Triathlon Alternatives

  1. I haven’t done one of those. First I’m focussing on my half marathon but if I need another challenge after that I might think about a duathlon. But I’ve looked around on the internet and we don’t have much of those here in Holland so don’t even know if I can do one by that time.

  2. I like the relay option…except where you use the word “super-fast” because I’m not super-fast at anything. It would be a great way to get an introduction to the world of tri’s.

  3. Spot on…’cos I’m a lousy swimmer., well maybe just never devoted enough time to be better at it! I think duathlon might be more my style…right now anyways.
    Didn’t even know about 2 and 3…thanks to you now I’ve learned something new for today 🙂

  4. Although I mostly do tris, I have done some duathlons and I find them to be really fun! They are a nice change from the typical swim/bike/run race! I’ve also thought about doing an aquabike to help me improve my open water swimming, but have yet to do one.

  5. The problem that I have is that if it’s not a Triathlon or just a road race, I can’t find ’em. I don’t have access to a pool, so no swimming for now. So, a duathlon would be nice, but they’re pretty rare.

    I probably need to focus on not hitting anything with my bike for a good 2-3 months before participating in anything for now, though 🙂

  6. I don’t think I could do any modified multi-sport event without being jealous of the competitors doing the entire Tri.

    That said, earlier today, I was talking to my neighbor about the 2006 Philly Olympic Tri, converted to a Du by rain. Very few things worse than an extra 5K, when you didn’t adequately train for the 10K.

  7. I am just a lonely runner girl:) After my marathon I am looking into getting a bike so that I can at least try one duathlon:)

  8. I’ve heard of Aqualthons, and I am intrigued. Will have to search for one sometime, I can swim and I can run…but on the bike I just totally blow chunks! Maybe if I had a nice super speedy road bike instead of my big clunker mountain bike?? 🙂

  9. Girl, I’m struggling with the swimming. I’ve had two classes and now I need to start practicing! How long should I swim and how much? When do I throw in the towel and accept it’s not for me? I’m determined to keep trying!!!!

  10. love this!! i want to do one but as you said, there’s parts i don’t like or am not good at. i think starting w/ a duathlon would be a good idea. and a relay sounds like so much fun. let me know if you’re doing one of them around here!!

    also, are you running at BOMF? i’m so sorry, but i think you are…i just can’t remember for sure.

  11. I did a backwards super sprint tri once. The swim was rough. I’ve never really considered doing any of the events you mentioned except for the relay! My Mom and I always talk about doing a relay where she does the swim, my brother or Dad does the bike, and I run. Maybe someday. So far she’s been nervous to swim and needs a place to train since the tri we want to do is in early June.

  12. The duathlon was my first multi-sport race for the very reason that I am a bad swimmer. Now that I’ve broken up with triathlon, I may have to dig out my little black book and give duathlon a call 😉 It was hard, I think harder than a tri, but I want a rematch! 🙂

  13. Oh yeah, and I LOVED the relay I did. It’s the best of both worlds: you get to spectate and take photos AND compete! It was so much fun! I need to find a team asap!

  14. Never done any of them, but I am guilty of the statement, “I will never do a tri because I’m not good at swimming!” I would love to do a DU, just need to invest in a good road bike first 🙂

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