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Top 10 Most Asked Ironman Triathlon Questions

Man winning triathlon race

The Ironman Triathlon is a triathlon race that will challenge you physically and mentally like no other. 

It is a long-distance race organized by the World Triathlon Corporation. The Ironman Triathlon consists of a 2.4-mile (3.86km) swim, 112-mile (180.25km) bicycle ride, and a 26.22-mile (42.2km) run in that order. It is considered one of the most challenging one-day sports events globally. 

Do you have what it takes to be an Ironman? Let’s take a look at the top 10 most asked Ironman Triathlon questions.


1. How old do you need to be to enter an Ironman Triathlon?

To enter an Ironman Triathlon, you need to be 18 years or older on the day of the event. Under no circumstances will you be allowed to participate if you are under 18 years old.

2. How long is an Ironman Triathlon?

Your fitness level will determine the duration of your Ironman Triathlon. Most Ironman Triathlons have a cut-off time of 17 hours to complete. This includes swimming 2.4 miles (3.86km), cycling 112 miles (180.25km), and running 26.22 miles (42.2km).

Man on bike

3. Where does the Ironman Triathlon take place?

The Ironman Triathlon takes place in over 55 countries across the world. 
Find the list of countries below:


  • Klagenfurt, Austria
  • Calella, Spain
  • Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Cervia, Italy
  • Nice, France
  • Gdynia, Poland
  • Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
  • Hamburg, Germany
  • Haugesund, Norway
  • Puerto del Carmen, the Canary Islands, Spain
  • Kalmar, Sweden
  • Zürich, Switzerland
  • Tallinn, Estonia
  • Bolton, United Kingdom
  • Vichy, France
  • Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain
  • Tenby, Wales
  • Youghal, Ireland

North America

  • Juneau, Alaska
  • Tempe, Arizona
  • Boulder, Colorado
  • Penticton, British Columbia
  • Chattanooga, Tennessee
  • Cozumel, Mexico
  • Panama City Beach, Florida
  • Lake Placid, New York
  • Los Cabos, Mexico
  • Louisville, Kentucky
  • Cambridge, Maryland
  • Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, Canada
  • The Woodlands, Texas
  • St George, Utah
  • Sacramento, California
  • Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Madison, Wisconsin
  • Kona, Hawaii

South America

  • Mar del Plata, Argentina
  • Florianópolis, Brazil


  • Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa


  • Gurye, South Korea
  • Penghu, Taiwan
  • Langkawi, Malaysia
  • Zambales, Philippines
  • Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan


  • Port Macquarie, New South Wales, Australia
  • Cairns, Queensland, Australia
  • Busselton, Australia
  • Taupō, New Zealand

4. Is it possible to complete an Ironman without training?

In short, the answer is yes, but this is not advised. If you don’t train your body to get used to the amount of exercise and pain you will suffer on the day of the event, I’m talking nausea, pain, dehydration, and extreme exhaustion. If you are young and fit in general, you might just be able to finish in under 17 hours. 

There is no specific time when you should start training for an Ironman, it all depends on your current age and fitness level. Usually, 8 – 12 months of training based on a strategic plan should be sufficient for most people to complete the Ironman Triathlon. Your training plan should also include enough resting time for your body to heal especially the closer you get to the race.

5. How many calories do you burn in an Ironman triathlon?

This is another one of the most asked Ironman Triathlon questions. According to the book “Endurance Sports Nutrition” by Suzanne Girard Eberle, Ironman athletes burn between 8,000 and 10,000 calories during the race. This number varies from athlete to athlete, but one thing we do know is you need to refuel while racing.

Also, read how to go to the bathroom during a triathlon!

6. How hard is Ironman Triathlon?

Racing in the Ironman is a lot harder than it sounds. The Ironman will test your limits like no other race. You will be in pain, get cramps, and feel like quitting, but I’m not here to discourage you from achieving your dream. I’m here to encourage and motivate you.

Why should you race in an Ironman?

  • You have something to prove, whether it is for you or the world
  • You will learn how to handle emotions and pain
  • You will have a ton of support from all over the world
  • Giving up is not an option
Men running to finishline

7. Do you eat during Ironman?

Yes! Eating while doing the Ironman is a definite must! Carbohydrates are the most significant energy source for endurance athletes; therefore, knowing how much carbohydrates are in a specific piece of your preferred nutrition is a good idea. 

There are a plethora of products like bars, gels, and chews that have been created with athletic performance in mind. The best approach is to choose products that contain a variety of carbs (glucose and fructose), as this combination promotes better absorption.

Learn more on fueling yourself for an Ironman

8. How many laps in the pool are 2.4 miles?

2.4 Miles in a 25-yard pool is equal to 80 laps and 40 laps in a 50-yard pool.

(3.86 Kilometers in a 25-meter pool is equal to 154.4 laps and 77.2 laps in a 50-meter pool)

9. What is the hardest part of the Ironman Triathlon?

What is the hardest part of the Ironman Triathlon? This is one of the most asked Ironman Triathlon questions. The hardest part for most people is staying mentally strong. You constantly doubt yourself and wonder if you’ll be able to run across the finish line. Your body is stronger than you think, and if you believe in yourself and your mental abilities, you will push through!

Challenges you will have to overcome in the Ironman

  • Swimming in open water for long distances.
  • You need some sort of motivation.
  • Don’t give up.
  • Eating and drinking enough during the race.

10. Can you swim any style in the Ironman?

Yes! You are allowed to swim any style of your choice in the Ironman.

Ironman wetsuit rules






< 60.8°F

60.8°F – 76.1°F

> 76.1°F


< 16°C

16°C – 24.5°C

> 24.5°C


If you are looking to enter your first Ironman Triathlon I fully encourage you to go for it and do your best, it will be challenging, but at the end, it will be worth it. Once you’ve done your first Ironman, I can almost guarantee you’ll want to do more!

Now that you know more about an Ironman Triathlon, learn what is an Ultra Triathlon!

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