In the past, most new triathletes experienced race day as a trial by fire: a chaotic (and nerve-wracking) open-water swim, a test of bike-handling skills as more experienced triathletes whizzed past, and an overeager surge out of T2 on the run. Though the experience can be thrilling, it can also be terrifying—and keep many potential triathletes away from the sport.
But in 2019 and beyond, that is poised to change. According to Life Time Fitness, the majority of newbies in the sport will test the waters at an indoor triathlon.
“An overwhelming majority of non-triathletes point to fear and intimidation as the main reason for trying the sport of triathlon,” says a Life Time press release. “But Life Time [will] mitigate those fears in 2019 through its Life Time Tri series with an expansion of its indoor triathlon program.”
At an indoor triathlon, participants complete a 10-minute pool swim, 30 minutes on a stationary bike, and a 20-minute run on a treadmill. Rather than covering a predetermined distance of a traditional triathlon, athletes race against the clock, going as far as they are able within each time frame. In between disciplines athletes are given a set block of time to complete transitions (transitions do not count toward overall time).
In addition to a non-threatening environment for new triathletes to check out the sport, the Life Time Indoor Tri series also provides a competitive outlet for experienced triathletes looking to get their race fix in the winter months. After completing the Indoor Tri, athletes are given a point total based on the distances covered in each discipline, then ranked.
Life Time’s 2018 series experienced great success, with more than 5,000 participants across 60 locations. Over half of participants were first-time triathletes. In 2019, Life Time will expand its Indoor Tri series to 100 locations and aims to double participation rates, making the event a large driver of new participants in the sport.
The Life Time Indoor Tri will take place on Jan. 20 or Jan. 27 at select Life Time locations. Each is limited to 100 participants. For a complete list of locations, dates and to register, visit Lifetimetri.com/events/indoortri. USA Triathlon had also partnered with LA Fitness to test an indoor triathlon series in Arizona in July of 2018. Keep an eye on this page for potential future dates and locations.