What is the best age to start triathlon?


You have got kids, you enjoy triathlon and you are wondering when is the best time for them to start triathlon. Then you are in the right location.

The best age to start triathlon is 8 years old. Age group competitions can be found from 8. Most tri clubs will accept children from this age. Unlike other sports, it is not recommended to start triathlon at an early age. Best performance results are achieved when 25-30 years old.

Let’s see in detail what age is best to let children start triathlons and from what age children can participate in triathlon events.

What is the best age to start triathlon?

The best age to start a triathlon is 8 years old. You can start triathlon much younger but unlike other sports, triathlon is a sport for more mature people since it is an endurance sport. Actually, triathletes are best at the sport when they are between 25 and 30 years old. Starting too young could be very discouraging and increases the risk of getting injured.

World Triathlon (ex ITU) considers 8 years old as the best age to start triathlon and it is also the first age they consider in their list of age groups for racing.

Children swimming

Most triathlon clubs start training children between 7 and 10 years old. Generally, they train no more than 3 days a week at this age and don’t do all 3 sports. It is generally focused on teaching them bike skills, and swimming techniques. Running is generally introduced later and little by little. Can be done around games at first.

Before children join a triathlon club, it is best for them to participate in swim training with the school or a club.

At what age a kid can do a triathlon?

Triathlons can be done as early as 3 years old. You will find a number of kids triathlons to introduce the sport in some fun events. These events are very common in the UK and Canada, and a bit more niche in the US.

These kids’ triathlons try to encourage a positive attitude towards physical activity from a young age. They are not races, it’s just for fun. They can be done as games, or sometimes with the parents. There are no winners no losers.

Kid cycling leg during Tri Kids Triathlon Series

World Triathlon encourages this type of event as long as they are focused on being fun for the children, and focused on enjoyment rather than the ‘race’ element.

They do however have some recommendations for younger children. They are concerned that getting younger children to train for a triathlon is a risk of asking too much from them and getting them injured or burned out, even if starting the sport at an early age is considered good practice nowadays. They are ok with the concept of kids triathlon events to be organized for younger children as long as it is based around fun and games.

At what age can you race competitively in a triathlon?

The minimum age to start racing and competing in triathlons can vary between events depending on which rule the event is organized. For instance, under USA Triathlon (USAT), children can start competing from 6 years old. These are the most common events in the US.

“The minimum age for Youth competition is six years and the maximum is 15 years of age on December 31 of the year of the event.”

USAT rules – teamusa.org
Children racing

Under World Triathlon, children start competing at 8 years old. This rule is generally applied in most competitions worldwide, including in the UK.

Most common triathlon distances for children

According to USA Triathlon, the common distances for children to compete are as follows.

AgeSwimming DistanceCycling DistanceRunning Distance
7-850 – 100 meters2-3k1k
9-10100 meters3-5k1k
11-12200 meters5-7k1.5-2k
13-15200 – 375 meters8-10k2-2.5k
Common distances for youth triathlons in the USA

Kids triathlon events (for fun) generally have the following distances. These kinds of events are more common in the UK and Canada than in the US.

AgeSwimming DistanceCycling DistanceRunning Distance
4-525m500m100m
6-750m1km4m
Recommended distances for kids triathlon events according to World Triathlon

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