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Training for Triathlons in Miami, Florida

October 20, 2009 By Matt Meltzer in Miami: Sports NewsMiami: Things to Do  | 4 Comments


It seems that every fourth person I talk to these days has decided they want to try his or her hand at triathlons. I suppose it makes sense: What better place than a city with no hills, warm water, and countless sunny days to train for an event like that? I won’t lie, I don’t think it’s a sport I would have even considered doing if I lived anywhere other than Florida. And now that the World Triathlon Corporation has announced that Miami will be host to its newest branded Half-Ironman event, the city seems poised to be a hot destination for triathletes.



I think for a long time people watched the Kona Ironman on Wide World of Sports and assumed that’s what a triathlon was. No, actually, that’s just the hardest triathlon in the world.  Pretty much every other race is easier, weather permitting, and most are shorter.

The first thing you should know when getting into the sport is that triathlons are typically run at four distances: Sprint, Olympic, Half-Iron and Ironman.

A Sprint is typically a 750 meter swim, a 12.4 mile bike ride, and a 3.1 mile run

An Olympic, or International Triathlon is a .93-mile swim, a 24.8 mile bike, and a 6.2 mile, or 10K run

A Half-Iron is a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike and a half-marathon, which is 13.1 miles.

And an Ironman, like the race in Kona, is a 2.4 mile swim a 112 mile bike and a marathon (26.2 miles).



Even if your ultimate goal is to run an Ironman, it’s best if you start out at shorter distances to see if you like the sport or not. You can find training programs for Sprint and Olympic distance races at, and many of them are free. If you know how to swim and ride a bike, you can pretty much wake up and be assured of finishing a Sprint. But it’s best if you take a month or so to get to know the ropes. And Miami is a great place to train.

SWIMMING – Living in Miami, you have the perfect training combination of warm water and small waves. This means that almost all year you can train in one of the many bodies of water the city boasts, so long as you watch for boats and don’t mind swallowing cruise ship run-off from time to time.

BIKING – Sadly, Miami is not a great city for bike training. We do not boast many bike trails, or even bike LANES for that matter. But the city does have its one saving grace of biking: The Rickenbacker Causeway. This causeway,


running from the south end of Brickell to the end of Key Biscayne, offers an endless bike lane, great scenery, and even Miami’s toughest “hill” in the form of a man-made bridge known as Mount Miami. This is a perfect training ride as it provides wind, warm weather, and some good spots to hammer down and go your fastest. And inviting as they may look, I highly recommend you avoid biking both the MacArthur and Julia Tuttle Causeways to South Beach. Though they are popular to use as race courses, they do not have dedicated bike lanes and can pose a safety hazard.

RUNNING – If you are lucky enough to live near the beach, the packed sand on the western part of South Beach is perfect training terrain. Otherwise Coral Gables with the Biltmore Golf Course and the UM Campus loop is


probably your next best option. But any safe neighborhood with sidewalks works well. This being South Florida, though, sidewalks can be hard to find. And be careful when running with your iPod, as Miami drivers are not known to stop for pedestrians.


From April to November, Miami has at least two triathlons going every month, sometimes more. And if you are willing to do races in Broward, you are hard pressed to find a weekend without a race. For a full schedule of races, you can check the Florida Triathlon Calendar here. You do not need to be a USAT member to participate, but be aware you will have to pay a $10 one-time membership fee for each race if you are not. I encourage all of you who are interested to take advantage of where you live, and maybe I’ll see you at the finish line at some of next summer’s competitions.

Related Categories: Miami: Sports News, Miami: Things to Do,

About the Author: Matt Meltzer is a featured columnist at Miami Beach 411.

See more articles by Matt Meltzer.

See more articles by Matt Meltzer

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4 Comments on

"Training for Triathlons in Miami, Florida"

Sungal & Jess says:

Is this how you spell “decided”?

Matt, you are FAR from educated

Posted on 10/21/2009 at 11:30 AM

Sungal says:

Good luck Matt! I’d like to row here, but the membership is pricey. The above comment was not made by me and Jess would never write that. Good luck on race day!

Posted on 10/21/2009 at 12:37 PM

Matt Meltzer says:

I figured you wouldn’t. And really, anybody who is pointing out typos and calling it “lack of education” is missing the boat completely.

Posted on 10/23/2009 at 3:43 PM

Carlos says:

No Matt, we just hate you.

Posted on 10/27/2009 at 2:43 PM

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