Rules of Triathlon

Although specific rules can vary on the body governing it and individual race venues for a triathlon, there are still universal rules surrounding a triathlon event. By tradition, triathlon is a unique race, and every athlete is racing against the clock and of course to complete the race in record time. An athlete may not receive any assistance from the outside. However, race-sanctioned volunteers supplying food and water are allowed on the course.


There are five sections where triathlons are timed: The first timed section starts with swimming to the beginning of the first transition. The second timed section begins from is stage until its completion, and the third timed section is from the beginning of the cycling to the end of this leg of the race. The fourth is the beginning of that transition, and the fifth, and final timed section will commence from the run to its completion, at which point the triathlon is completed.

Completion of the Triathalon

Once the triathlon is completed, results are generally displayed on the official website showcasing all triathletes their swimming time, cycling time, running time and total time including transitions. However, several sites frequently will post times of transition separately. Additional rules of triathlons differ from one race to another and include descriptions of permissible equipment and avoidance against interference between athletes.

In swimming, athletes are allowed to wear wetsuits if the temperature of the water is below 25.6 or 78.1 F. However, the use of aids is not permitted and can result in disqualification. There aren’t any rules about the stroke you must use in the swimming section of a triathlon, and you are welcome to rest during the swim leg by either standing or holding onto a floating buoy. In cycling, an athlete’s helmet must be on and secured before he/she mounts the bike and remain mounted. Should a mechanical problem occur during the cycle section, helmets are then not required to be on. Additionally, all bicycles may only be propelled by human force. Should a bike malfunction, competitors are allowed to continue the race so long as doing so with their bike in tow.

Athletes may not begin riding their bicycles until they have exited transition section that is clearly marked with a line. Getting on the bike within the transition section may see a penalty applied and added to your cycling time. There are also other penalties that can occur during a race for drafting on a bike in a race where drafting is not allowed, littering on the course, improper passing and unsportsmanlike conduct on the race course. Lastly, athletes are also not allowed to use a mp3 device, such as an iPod to listen to music during a race.