What Is the Order of Triathlon and Why

What is The Order Of Triathlon And Why?

The standard triathlon order consists of a swim, then a bike ride, and finished with a run. There are set distances for each race, and they cannot be changed. There is also a maximum time given to complete each portion.   

There is a fourth event which acts as two transition periods. This helps in effective training and planning to effectively move between the events without letting you violate the rules and consumes less time. The first occurs between swimming and biking, and the second between biking and running.   

Let’s look into the details and learn why the order is like this to paint a clear picture in your mind.   


Swimming is the first and the hardest leg of a triathlon. It is placed in the beginning because the players tend to be more active and fresher and can easily perform this stunt. It also ensures the safety of the swimmers, as they are likely to get progressively tired as the game continues.  


Biking is the second hardest leg of a triathlon that requires a lot of endurance to keep pedaling for a long period. It is the second triathlon because the players get tired due to excessive paddling, and they can easily run after this.  


Running is the last leg of a triathlon and is much easier than swimming and biking. It should have placed second because it is easier to maintain good form and pace during this triathlon stage.  

The Reason Behind the Swim, Bike, Run Order in Triathlon  

Here are a couple of reasons why the triathlon order is swim, bike, and then run, and these reasons make sense.   

1. To Ensure the Safety of Athletes  

Safety is one of the most important reasons for this order of triathlon. It is understood that personal injuries cannot be avoided in serious athletic attempts, but certain factors should be considered.  

These factors ensure that all the players are safe and do not get into dangerous situations. In short, all the risks of life-threatening conditions are minimized.  

2. To Avoid a Wetsuit Competition  

To everybody who has ever worn a wetsuit, you know how tiring it is. I would rather consider it an entirely different sport of its own. The amount of tugging and pulling it comes with irritates you.  

So, if swimming were not kept initially, one additional exercise would have been fitting yourself into a wetsuit. And I am sure none of you would have wanted to do that since your bodies are already tired.  

3. To Ensure Easy Control of Water  

To your surprise, most deaths that occur in triathlons happen in water. To prevent players from getting into such situations as drowning, lifeguards are there to watch them. They reach out to them immediately if God forbids something worse to happen.  

Some people find swimming the hardest part of a triathlon. This is because they need to be stronger in the water and start their swim after exerting themselves on one or both legs. This turns out to be extremely dangerous and can be life-threatening.  

4. Easier Management for Locals  

Biking requires a lot of continuous volunteer work due to the larger distances. This includes help from police officers, local firefighters, and many others. If the bike race was placed last in a triathlon, all these volunteers had to stay back for much longer to help. Locals would turn out to be facing road closure longer than usual. 

5. To Avoid Gigantic Bike Drafting Zone  

The majority of triathlons, like ironman, do not allow drafting. If a triathlon had started with a bike race, every participant would get on their bikes at once. This would have resulted in difficulties for the officials managing to draft. 

Some people question drafting not being illegal in triathlons. So, it is because the energy in the participants to be ahead in biking would have been likely to drain. They would know that a run is due after it, but they might end up losing the will.  

6. To Avoid Mass Biking, Sprint Finish  

Situations, where many bikers are lined up to give their all to reach the end line to win the race first are extremely dangerous. It gets harder for the officials to announce a winner too.  

Biking, a difficult part of the triathlon, requires a lot of cooperation from the officials and the community. Therefore, it is kept in second place because the streets in use allow a smoother return to normalcy.  


There are some exceptions in the standard triathlon order. These are only applicable in two conditions if the schedule doesn’t suit you as a competitor or it doesn’t suit you as a spectator. The exceptions are the following: 

  • Zot reverse: it is a reverse triathlon where running is held first, followed by biking, and ends with swimming. The swimming is stored in the pool and promises increased safety for players.   
  • Super League Triathlon: This is for experienced athletes only for safety reasons. Distances are not hard, but the race has some rules, so you need to be pro at handling windy situations. 


Triathlon is one of the exciting sports to play and watch. The amount of joy it brings is just unmatchable. There are certain rules for this game, and it is essential to follow them to make your triathlon race the best. This article helped you learn the triathlon order. Good luck!  

Please leave a review in the comments below and let me know if I need to include something. Thank you!  

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