Endurance Sports – What Lies Beyond Triathlon For Multi-Sport Athletes?

by Jim P.

cycling, fun stuff, running, swimming, ultramarathons, z1

Triathletes are endurance athletes. We swim, we bike, we run — we put it all together in the sport of triathlon, ranging from sprint to long-distance triathlons.

Some say that every triathlete has a little spark of madness that inspires and drives them. We challenge and push our mental and physical capacities to the brink. We endure pain in the process, but this is just all part of it. As crazy as it may seem to some, we choose to do this and enjoy doing it.

It should be no surprise then that triathletes become interested in other endurance sports. For some people, triathlon is just the beginning. Seasoned triathletes also become involved in other endurance events for the purpose of challenging themselves in new and different ways or just to add a little diversity and spice to their endurance sport interests.

If you are interested in exploring the world of endurance sports beyond or as a complement to triathlon, here are some areas worth investigating…

The most popular endurance sports beyond triathlon take one of the 3 tri sports:

  • swimming
  • cycling
  • running

…and add longer distances and different obstacles.

Endurance Sports: Cycling Events

Many triathletes at some point will probably ride in a Century event, which is a 100-mile bike competition.

In the world of endurance cycling, a Century is just the beginning. There are other ultra cycling events such as a Double Century (200 miles), and a Brevet (125-375 miles).

There are also an endless number of cycling events that are much longer and more involved than the traditional ultra cycling events, ranging from 500-mile rides, multi-day cycling tours within a state, region, or across the United States. There are also many ultra cycling vacations one could pick from.

Endurance Sports: Running Events

When it comes to running, most people think of the marathon as the primary endurance event.

In recent years, ultramarathon events have become more popular. For example, this year Nashville is having its first ultramarathon event offering a 50K, 60K, 70K, and 80K options.

One of the most poplar ultramarthon event is Badwater, covering 135 miles non-stop from Death Valley to Mt. Whitney, CA. Trail running is another popular running endurance sport of varying distances in a diversity of venues.

Endurance Sports: Swimming Events

Endurance swimming events are probably the least known.

That said, there are many options that exist for people who want to push the limits in their swimming interests.

Multi-Sport Endurance Events

Duathlons (run, bike, run) are another popular choice among triathletes with lots of options that have become increasingly popular in recent years.

Adventure races typically take place in remote, mountainous regions and include a combination of :

  • paddling
  • hiking
  • rock climbing
  • swimming
  • running
  • orienteering
  • mountain biking
  • paintball

Each race can last from 24 hours to 2 weeks, depending on the difficulty of the challenge. Participants are grouped in teams of 4 and given a map of the terrain and told that in order to win, they need to get from point A to point B in the fastest time. 

Here is a calendar with some of the most popular adventure races.

I’m sure the above list of adventure races just scratches the surface of what exists in the world of endurance sports and events. If you want to explore these options in more detail, you might be interested in these books:

Are there other endurance sport options you would recommend? Have you competed in any of the kinds of events mentioned in this post? Leave a comment and share your recommendations and experiences.