You are probably already familiar with the triathlon format, which comprises a swim, a bike, and a run of varying distances. However there are other formats, with one of the most popular options being an aquathlon

What does an aquathlon involve?

The aquathon consists of a swim followed by a run, without the cycling stage. As with the triathlon, there are no fixed rules about the distances of aquathlon races. They are usually shorter than triathlon distances, with 750m swim and a 5km run being the most common format in the UK. 

Why take part in an aquathlon?

For those who are new to taking part in multidisciplinary events, an aquathlon is a simpler and more affordable way to start than a triathlon. Without the costs of buying a suitable bike and the related kit, the barriers to entry are lower. The competition fees are usually lower than triathlon events as well.

Training for two disciplines rather than three is a more achievable alternative for people who don’t have as much free time, or who want to build up their strength and fitness in a more gradual way.

It is generally considered easier to progress from the swimming and running stages to the cycling stage should you wish to do so at a later date. This is because for most people, swimming and running fast are more of a technical challenge than cycling.

Therefore an aquathlon is an attractive way to gain experience, with a less daunting training schedule and less financial commitment than a triathlon. 

What kit do you need for an aquathlon?

For the swim stage of the triathlon, the only essential piece of kit you need besides a swimsuit or trunks is a swim hat. This is usually compulsory to make you more visible in the water. If you do not have a cap, the race organisers may be able to provide one.

If the swim stage is in open water, a wetsuit is usually recommended for thermal insulation and extra buoyancy and streamlining in the water. Most people also choose to wear goggles to give them better vision and protection in the water. Make sure that they are comfortable and robust enough to cope with rougher conditions if the swim stage is in a river or lake.

For the running stage, it is advisable to wear lightweight clothes made from sweat wicking materials that are designed to keep you dry and cool during the race.

Many competitors prefer to wear a one-piece trisuit that is worn for both the running and swimming stages, underneath a wetsuit if necessary. This saves the time and difficulty of having to get changed at speed when you exit the water and prepare to start the running race.

Well fitting running shoes with good shock absorbency are essential to help prevent injury and to ensure that you run to the best of your ability. Make sure that you break them in before the race to avoid any problems with blisters or discomfort.


If you are looking for open water swimming wetsuits in the UK, please get in touch with us today.

Tommy Reed