If you think about it, there is no such thing as a sprint triathlon. Triathlon is an endurance sport…one of the longest and hardest that test an athletes muscles, athletic abilities, mental toughness, strengths and weaknesses and most importantly, endurance.
However I suppose you could design true Sprint triathlon. It would look something like this:
1) A fifty meter freestyle swim
2) One lap around a Velodrome
3) A 100 meter dash
Now that would certainly be a Triathlon where transitions matter. I have not seen many Velodromes with indoor pools around my neck of the woods so I wonder if this true Sprint Triathlon would have a hard time catching on. In America, the founding home of triathlon, if there is the will (and there’s money to be made) there certainly will be a way.
For all you wannabe race directors and or Nike, please feel free to take my true Sprint Triathlon idea and run with it. Just think of all the commercial possibilities for new true Sprint Triathlon gear. An entire new set of racing stuff we would buy for the true Sprint Triathlon to speed up the all important transitions like:
- The Aqua Helmet
- The Running Goggle
- Nike’s new full-body, one-piece, super fast-dry Shark/Lance/Sprint skin complete Air racing cocoon leotard featuring built-in ear plugs and built-in biking/sprinting cleats.
- Full Body Glide Spray in a Can to be able to remove Nike’s new Air cocoon after a race.
- The GU Power Pellet for a super small and super fast burst of energy
- The Nose Marker for marking the nose (which as it happens is the only part of the body left exposed by the Nike’s new Air Cocoon .
- Breathable and brimmed swim cap.
- Imskorts (swimming skirt and shorts) (Nicole Deboom feel free to run with this idea).
A true Sprint Triathlon would also benefit a completely different type of body types. Most current Pros would have a hard time succeeding in this event. Let’s face it; the ideal body type for a good or great triathlete is that of a depression era Nebraska farmer.
I’m lucky enough to have met some pros up close and personal and to say these guys and gals have body fat would be like saying that Oprah has a hard time promoting herself. Unfortunately when I started in this sport I misunderstood my goal for the ideal body. I’ve spent years trying to cultivate that perfect washtub stomach when all along I was supposed to have a washboard stomach. Oops!
Lets face it, one of the reasons so many of us Everyman Triathletes have taken up the sport is to lose weight. I know that my goal is to be fit (read thin) and enjoy a healthy lifestyle (read eat whatever I like) and enjoy some friendly age-group competition (read crush the other big guy with a 40 on his calve like a hapless bug).
For this reason a true Sprint Triathlon would not really appeal to as many people, unless Dairy Queen created the true Sprint Triathlon nutritional race supplements. I’d call it the DQ Oreo Wizard for its magic ability to provided tons of calories while being smooth and delicious. Mmmmm the DQ Oreo Wizard!
True sprinters (100 meters types) have bodies like Superman, not depression era Nebraska farmers. These athletes have muscle from their toes to the ears. If I followed their high calorie/high strength work out training regime my abs would go from being a washtub to a wash hot tub. Mmmmm the DQ Oreo Wizard would make a great supplement a short lift and long hot tub.
Which brings me to the Super Ironman.
Do you suppose it would be possible to train a world class marathon runner (talk about depression era farmers body type) to be a world-class winning triathlete…The Super Ironman.
Now I know this may sound a bit silly but when you consider it, this does seem to be possible. Arguably the marathon runner is currently the ultimate world class endurance athlete. Wouldn’t he or she make the ultimate Super Ironman?
The men’s world record marathon time currently stands around 2:05 and change. In an Ironman no pro has yet broken a 2:40 run. That’s a 35-minute difference. This is an eternity of time at the professional level.
The real question is, would it be possible to train a world class runner to swim and bike fast enough to become the Super Ironman and crush the current crop of pro like so many hapless bugs?
I think the swim part is certainly doable. Most current pros race the swim leg of an Ironman in about 55 minutes. We all know that runners usually make the worst swimmers, but I almost positive that even a great runner could get good enough to complete the swim in about 1 hour. That still leaves him with 30 minutes advantage on the run.
The better follow-up question would be, could a great runner stay within 10 minutes on the bike and still put down a 2:20 run to take the tape. I’m betting they could. Why? Because if you take a look at Lance or any of the other top biking boys they certainly look like marathon runners…. Ok, marathon runners with huge thighs.
Which brings me back to why there’s no such thing as a true sprint triathlon. Many of us Everyman triathletes got started at the sprint level of the sport. I remember saying to myself before my very first race, “Self, why not sign-up for Louisville Triathlon, after all it is just a sprint tri?”
It took me until the first transition to really understand what I had gotten myself into. I was about 10 minutes into the race. The swim was only 500 meters in a pool but I was breathing harder at that first transition than I had ever breathed in my life. And yet I still had a 15-mile bike and 4.5 mile run to finish. I somehow managed to muddle my way through the bike (washtub stomach and all), while being passed by spry 84-year-olds on mountain bikes with massive under inflated knobby tires.
One the run my thighs seized up like the jaws of an angry alligator. I kind of stumbled through the finish after having walked most of the “run”. But I had finished and I was a triathlete. I may never be a Super Ironman but I finished the race in just over 2 hours, which by anybody’s reckoning, is not a sprint.