"Learn all the lingo to sound like a professional"

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Tri Talk

When you see a triathlon or any sport advertised, it can contain words and sayings which can be daunting and confusing. You may start to worry that you won’t understand anything that happens and that sport isn't for you! Don’t worry GO TRI have you covered with our helpful A-Z Tri Talk guide. You don't need to know all of these to get started in GO TRI or triathlon, but you'll be ahead of the game.


Adrenaline – The flight or fight hormone. It’s also that feeling you get once you finished and you feel like you want to do another one. It’s a great feeling and a little bit addictive

Aerobic – The form of exercise that you get when your completing a triathlon

Aloha – Hello or Goodbye in Hawaiian! This is said a lot at the IRONMAN World Championships Kona.

Aquathlon – A multisport which consists of a swim followed by a run. There is no cycling element in a Aquathlon.

AquabikeA multisport event which consists of a swim followed by a bike. There is no running section in an Aquabike


Blood Sugar - amount of glucose currently in the blood

Bonk – the feeling when an athlete runs out of energy. Another term for hitting the wall

Brick Session – Practicing two elements back to back. An example of this is going for a bike ride and continuing with a run. (can be done straight after or a 10-minute rest to get ready)


Chip Timing – A timing device which measures how long it takes you to do the event. Most GO TRI events don’t have chip timers due to non-competitive side of the events, it's the taking part that counts.

Compression Socks – Compression Socks or long socks that are known to reduce muscle fatigue when on the bike or the run. Compression socks can't be word during the swim where a wetsuit isn't work, including pool evnets.

Cross Training – is a different form of training exercises for your GO TRI or triathlon. There are plenty of options available for everyone these can range from mountain biking, rowing, or even using a cross trainer in the gym.


Descending – To descend you must ascend. When you go down a hill on a bike and the descend can help you save energy.

DNF – Did not finish.

DNS – Did not start.

Drafting – Drafting occurs when a cyclist is around 10 metres behind another cyclist. The cyclist will travel on the ‘draft or slipstream’ of the cyclist in front to save energy and allowing him to overtake the cyclist in front. Many triathlons consider drafting illegal.

Drills – drills are considered part of training. You will regularly see triathletes doing swimming drills, running drills and cycling drills to improve technique and in time performance.

DSQ – Disqualified.

Duathlon – An event in which the participant takes part in a bike and run element. It generally consist of a Run, Bike, Run.


Elasticated Laces – Elasticated laces can be brought and attached to trainers to make a smoother transition.


Fuel Belt – A belt which you keep around your waist containing energy gels and snacks.


Gels – These can give you energy for around the course, to avoid bonking.

GO TRI – A beginners journey into triathlon with guides, activities and events all aimed at the beginner.


Hammer – When you give it your all i.e. I hammered the bike element.

Hit the Wall – when your body feels like it can go no further. A common occurrence that takes place in the running section of a longer distance triathlon. (This is mental rather than physical and can be overcome if you keep going)

HR – Heart Rate

HRM – Heart Rate Monitor

H&C – Hot and Cold Recovery.


Isotonic Drinks – Is a sport or energy drink.


LapA course might have more than one loop around the same section. This is considered a lap.

Lapped – When someone has overtaken another cyclist on a course, which has more than one lap. You may only see this in elite races and the rules don’t apply in GO TRI races.

Long Distance TriathlonA triathlon which consists of a 2.4-mile Swim, 112-mile bike and a 26.22m run. These races can also be known as IRONMAN distance or IRONMAN 140.6


Middle Distance Triathlon – A middle distance triathlon consists of 2.km swim, 80km bike and a 20km run. These are commonly referred to as IRONMAN 70.3.

Multi-Sports – When two or more sports combine into one event i.e. a triathlon


Pontoon – A flotation device in which you will see in many open water triathlons as this allows the athletes to start in a safe depth of water. Open Water sea events will start slightly different.  

Post-Race Nutrition – After completing a triathlon, it is important to refuel your body. It is important to gain protein, Carbohydrates, Omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants to reduce soreness.


Race Belt – A belt which a number is attached to. This makes it easier to manoeuvre the numbers position from bike to run.

Rest Days – Your body needs time to recover from the new exercise which is why rest days are important.

RPM – Revs per minute when cycling.

RevolutionsCommonly knows as a revs. When your foota has done a full turn on the pedals.


Splits – The different parts of your triathlon. The time it takes to exit the swim exit the swim and get your bike to the exit of the transition zone. It is also the time it takes for you to rack your bike and head out on to the run.

Sports Bar – Gives good nutrition around the course.

Sprint Triathlon – A shorter triathlon. GO TRI participants tend to move on to a Sprint Distance Triathlon when they are ready to make the move. Distances consist of 750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run.

Standard Distance TriathlonA distance which consists of a 1.5km swim, 40km bike and 10km run. This is the distance commonly used in the Olympics.

Super Sprint Triathlon – A Super Sprint Triathlon has similar distance to a GO TRI. 400m swim, 10km bike and 2.5km run.

Swim Session – A session focused on your swim


Taper To reduce the volume and intensity prior to a competition to allow the body to recover and store extra energy.

TransitionsA transition is when you transition from one element to another, i.e from a bike to a swim. 

Transition Area - When you move from one element to another you will enter the Transition Zone. This is where all your items will be kept, i.e Bike and Helmet. You are allowed in the transition area before the race to place all your items at your desginated position to allow for a smoother transition. 

Triathlon Essentials – A bike, a helmet, trainers and a swimming costume.

Trisuit – Not essential but can be seen as ideal for those who want a quick transition.

Turbo – A indoor bike accessory that attaches to the rear wheel and creates resistance. A stationary trainer is ideal when the weather is not ideal.


WetsuitA wetsuit is piece of clothing which is worn in open water swimming. The purpose of the wetsuit is to keep your body at a warm temperature whilst swimming in open water. Some races don't require wetsuits but this does depend on the temperature of the water. Visit our Getting Started in Open Water for the temperatures for wearing a wetsut. Wetsuits are not required in a pool based swim. 

Feeling confident to take on a GO TRI event and test the talk? Head over to our What's On page to find an event or activity near you. 

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