A - Z of Triathlon

Aerodynamic: Triathletes spend half their life and bank account trying to get more ‘aero’. You can achieve this buy purchasing aerobars or clip on tri bars which gets you lower on the bike which makes you go faster for less energy.


Aid Station: will be located on the run for all triathlons and the bike in half ironman and ironman events. Generally has water, electrolytes, coke, lollies, and fruit depending on the distance of the event.

Base: Because it’s all about the base, bout that base no trouble. AKA a good foundation of fitness, where you work on improving your power, speed and efficiency.

Bonk – similar to the feeling of hitting the wall and running out of energy.  Every triathletes fear.

Brick Session: When we complete two sports back to back, usually a Bike to Run, or a Swim to Bike transition.  

Cadence:  We generally pay a lot more attention to cadence on the bike which is the number of revolutions you do on the bike per minute (RPM) which can lead to a huge debate around the coffee table. Most people aim for around 90- 100 RPM but some people just like to grind around the 60-70. It is a personal preference. You can also measure you cadence on the swim and run which is how many strokes or steps you do in a minute.

DNF – did not finish the race.

DNS – did not start the race.

DOMS – Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness; that feeling of being hit by a truck after an intense training session or race which is usually worse 24 -48 hours after. Expect to hold the walls when going to the toilet

DRAFTING – on the bike is illegal in triathlons and if you do it and get caught expect a time penalty in the sin bin. It is when you spend time in the slip stream of another competitor which saves you a lot of energy. Drafting in swimming is allowed.

Elastic Laces: Laces you can put in your running shoes that can help get your shoes on and a faster transition.

Fuel Belt: used for carrying fluids gels bars and salt tablets generally during the run section.

Gel: a gooey substance in a pouch containing energy. Important to practice taking gels in training so you know whether your gut says yay or nay.

HR: Heart Rate number of beats per minute. Often a topic of discussion at the coffee shop when bragging about how high your HR or AHR (average heart rate) reached when climbing up “that hill”.

IRONMAN 70.3 – This is the official name for the half distance of the ironman Triathlon which is a 1.9km swim, 90km bike and 21km Run.

IRONMAN DISTANCE – 3.8km Swim 180km Cycle 42.2km Marathon.

J:  ?

Kit: Refers to your cycling or running gear and is the equivalent to “actvewear”.  Often involves bright fluro colours and is a fashion parade to see who looks the best in lycra, can also be used as an intimidation technique simply because it makes you

LSD – long slow distance swim, bike or run.

MULTI-SPORTS – events such as Aquathon, Triathlon, Adventure races. Events that combine more than one sport.

NEGATIVE SPLIT – Completing the second half quicker than the first half.

OLYMPIC DISTANCE TRIATHLON – 1500m Swim 40km Bike 10km Run

Pace: Calculating the average speed you want to aim for when swimming, cycling or running. Effective for practicing when training so you can replicate in a race also known as training at “Race pace”.

Portaloo: What you will visit at least three times before the race. Pack some toilet paper just in case because this is everyone’s best friend race day.

Q: Yeh got nothing.

Rest Days: Foreign to a lot of athletes especially newbies. It is VERY important to schedule rest days into your program to allow your mind and muscles to repair and recover so it can come back stronger.

Red Card: If a competitor receives a Red Card he /she is disqualified from the race.

SPECIAL NEEDS BAG – the bag you are given at the ironman to put your favourite foods and drinks in. It is then handed to you during the bike section and is more exciting then Christmas.

SPRINT TRIATHLON – the standard distance for the sprint triathlon is 750m swim 20km Cycle 5km Run.

T1-Transition one, from swimming to bike section.

T2 – Transition from cycling to running

TAPER – Reducing the volume & intensity of training session in the week/s leading up to your race to allow body to recover. AKA best week ever.

U: Concentrate on yourself and nobody else!

Volunteers: The legends who put in their time and energy to make the day run as smoothly as possible while cheering for you, always wearing a smile and passing your water, lollies and coke.

Wave Start: Most races offer a wave start to ensure everyone is not in the water at the same time. You will be placed into a wave dependant on your gender and age.   Always check the time your wave starts to ensure you don’t miss it!

X:Xena bring out your inner Xena. 

Yellow Card: Triathlon Australia have replaced the original Yellow Card with the Blue Card. If you are shown a Blue card while competing you should attend the next penalty box you come to and serve the time penalty.  

Zoot: A triathlon apparel line and the only word I could think of that starts with Z that is relatable to triathlons.

Amy is the Owner and Head Coach of TriChicks and has over 10 years coaching experience.  Amy created TriChicks to help lower the barrier to get women into the sport. 

You can read more about her HERE