Triathlons: Swim, cycle, run, repeat

Preparation is key if you're to compete in a gruelling triathlon. These popular training centres will help you prepare for the big race

By Sam Lewis
Published 22 Oct 2017, 09:00 BST, Updated 12 Jul 2021, 12:18 BST
Triathletes running to bicycles on the beach

Triathletes running to bicycles on the beach

Photograph by Getty Images

'Tis the season for UK triathletes to head for warmer climes. If you must spend over 20 hours a week training, you may as well do it in the sun. Elite Training Experience (ETE) bookings are open for its first camp amid Stellenbosch winelands with prices from £850 for six days half-board, excluding flights (5-10 February 2018).

But if you prefer to prep on a high, Mountain Beach Fitness Retreats has a tri-camp in Verbier, Switzerland, where you can exercise on trails stretching up to 9,000ft, with endless running routes and famous cols to climb on the bike. Cycle to Italy one day and Chamonix the next, and take the plunge in a 165ft outdoor pool with stunning mountain views. From £1,770 per person (3-10 June 2018).  

Some like it cold

Norseman Xtreme Triathlon, Norway

Date: 5 August 2018

Location: Eidfjord

The race: Starting at 5am, athletes leap from a ferry into the ice cold waters of Hardangerfjord for a 2.4-mile swim, before cycling 112 miles through the fjordlands. The race culminates with a 26.2-mile run and an epic 5,577ft vertical finish to the top of Gaustatoppen, one of Norway's most beautiful mountains. 

The trip: Travel to Oslo to stay at The Thief, a five-star waterfront hotel, where you can enjoy a relaxing massage and a private tour of the city. Or take a flight north to the Lofoten Islands to kayak through the fjords or hike on Hardangerjøkulen glacier.

Some like it hot

Havana Triathlon, Cuba

Date: 25 February 2018

Location: Havana

The race: A 1.2-mile swim in the Hemingway Marina, followed by a 56-mile cycle race and a 13-mile run through Miramar and the iconic Havana Malecon esplanade.

The trip: Stretch your muscles on a walking tour of Havana before boarding a short flight east to Santiago de Cuba, the country's second city and hip centre for Afro-Cuban music and culture. Alternatively, if you'd rather not move another aching muscle, a yacht with a private skipper and chef is an indulgent and undemanding way to see the coast from Santiago de Cuba to Cayo Damas.

In numbers: On the move


The average number of Brits per day doing a triathlon — up 67% since 2009 (


The sum of athletes in England who did at least one triathlon in 2016 (


of triathletes (175,000) took part in a training camp in 2016 (Triathlon Industry Association)

Published in the November 2017 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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