A Beginner’s Guide to Indoor Triathlons


The triathlon world is increasing in participation and one can also note the increased popularity of indoor triathlons. I’ve often said over the years that indoor tris are the “gateway drug” into the sport, as more often than not, what I have seen is that once a person does one, they are hooked.

In preparation for my first sprint triathlon in June of 2007, participating in an indoor triathlon that previous winter, was one of the best ways to get a feel for the sport, as well as get a litmus test to see where I was in my preparation.

I often recommend to those new to the sport, as well as seasoned triathletes, to participate in them for a variety of reasons. For the newbies, it’s a great initial step into doing 3 sports in one event. Often the swim in open water is an intimidating factor, so to start with the pool swim of indoor triathlons is a comfortable way to test out ones swimming ability in a race. Though the transitions from swim to bike to run are different with the same time allotted for all participants, it’s still good practice. Getting ones legs acclimated to running off the bike is a great benefit to experience during indoor triathlons.

And for the seasoned triathletes, like myself, I use indoor triathlons as a way to get in gear for winter training. For those of us living in cold and snowy locations, having a few winter events not only can keep one motivated, but also gives a period of time to work on specific things like swim strokes, cycling efficiency, run form, and times, while testing things out early in the year.

Nationwide, you will find a variety of indoor triathlon events sponsored by park districts, health clubs, multisport clubs and teams, and more. They are fun events that span only about 1 hour with typically a 10-minute swim, a 10 minute transition to bike, a 20-30 spin or elliptical bike, a 5 minute transition to run, and a 15-20 track or treadmill run. In the Chicagoland area, there are a variety of different entities that sponsor indoor triathons, including the following:

Life Time Indoor Triathlons – www.lifetimetri.com/events/indoortri/
Life Time is again hosting the nation’s largest Indoor Triathlon series at their clubs across the US on January 5, 2020.

Midwest Indoor Tri-Classic Series ( MITCS) – www.mitcs.org/
The series that I’ve participated in for years, MITCS has 3 indoor triathlons, the first of which is January 26, 2020, at Wheaton Sport Center. The remaining two follow every other week from then at 2 other clubs in the west suburbs. I particular like this series because they are events with a run on a track.

Experience Triathlon Series – https://experiencetriathlon.com/et-indoor-triathlon-series-2020/
Experience Triathlon provide private and group coaching for all aspects of endurance training such as swimming, cycling, running, triathlon, nutrition and strength conditioning. They launch their 4-race series on January 12, 2020 (with the remaining dates of February 9, March 8, and April 5).

Formula Fitness Club Indoor Triathlons – https://ffc.com/triathlon/
Formula Fitness Clubs (FFC) have most of there locations actually in the city of Chicago, which are more convenient for city dwellers. There 2020 indoor triathlon dates are to come in the new year.

Together We Tri – https://www.togetherwetri.com/triathlons.html
Together We Tri (TWT) is a triathlon training company offering goal-oriented athletes and health-minded individuals of every level of fitness an unmatched multi-sport athletic experience. On March 29th is their next indoor triathlon event.


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