Long course, The sport of long course racing is as far removed from sprint triathlon as a 5k run is from a full marathon. Here you are into the classic iron-distances of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile cycle ride and the race concludes with a full marathon run (3.8km, 180km, 42km). To put that another way, you can do a complete sprint distance triathlon in the time it takes most of the field to complete the swim!
While it is perfectly possible to race a sprint triathlon most weekends of the season, you’ll only be doing one or two long course races (unless you are a professional and racing is actually your training!) a year. The hours of training; 5k swim sets, century bike rides and regular 20 mile runs perfectly normal, and the costs; mentally, physically, and financially, mean this is often referred to as a lifestyle event.
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