The triathlon is an endurance competition consisting of swimming, cycling and running without rest.
Triathlons are a relatively new competition with its origins in France, then called "Les Trois Sports" in the 1920's-30's. The modern triathlon as we know them today, started in San Diego's Mission Bay in 1974. Even then it was a much shorter distance and meant as light hearted break, in between training for separate running, swimming and cycling events.
Triathlons vary in distance but the famous Ironman Triathlon consists of a 2.4 mile (3,6km) swim, 112 mile bike ride (180.2km) and a 26.2 mile marathon run (42.2km)
This distance is...Well, it's INSANE! Considering a marathon alone is impossible for most people out there, it's pretty incredible to think of these athletes completing the race and still being alive to talk about it. It takes them about 10-12 hours!
If you think that's nuts, the Ultraman Triathlon covers 320 miles. Wow!
If you know you can never complete an Ironman Triathlon don't despair, the races come in shorter distances. The Olympic race is 1.5k swim, 40k bike and 10k run and the rest of 'em are even shorter.
If you don't like one of the three components of the events they have other races with only two disciplines such as the Aquathlon, (leaves out the cycling) Aquabike (cuts out running) and the duathlon, which is running, cycling and running again.
If you are not ready to compete for real, try working out on your own, triathlon style. Bring your bike to a local pool and go for a swim. Then ride the bike home and run around the block a few times.
The Triathlon is a fun and challenging event to train for. If you make it across the finish line it has to be the most satisfying accomplishment in a fitness enthusiast's training career.