Common Terms Used in Triathlons


  • RI – Rest Interval in minutes or seconds.  This is the amount of time needed between each interval and set.
  • RPE – Rate of Perceived Exertion.  Scape of 1-10 or 1-20 to describe your perceived effort. Click Here for Chart
  • Interval – Describes a pre-set measure of time in which the athlete will elevate their heart rate.  This will be shorter in duration and at a higher intensity than tempo.
  • Tempo – Describes a pre-set amount of time in which the athlete will elevate their heart rate.  This will be longer in duration and at less intensity than intervals.
  • Bonk – Hit ‘the wall’, run out of energy due to inadequate fuel intake.
  • Brick – A two or more sport work out, one immediately following the other.
  • Body Glide – Applied typically to neck to reduce chaffing from wetsuits.  Can be used anywhere on body that needs protection.  A must for open water swimmers!
  • Carbo-load – Consuming carbohydrate rich foods in the day(s) prior to an event.
  • Clipless Pedal – Pedals that you clip into.  Huh?  That’s what they are called.
  • Negative split – Completing the second half faster than the first half. (swim, bike or run)
  • Olympic Distance – 1.5 swim, 40K bike, 10K run.
  • Ironman Distance – 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run.  To be an Ironman you must complete this in under 17-hours.
  • On your Left – What you should say as you pass another rider.
  • SLD – Single Leg Drill.  Focus on 360 degrees of power, one leg at a time on a bike or in a spin class.  Beginners stay clipped in, advanced athlete may unclip resting leg. Click Here to Find Out More
  • Full-suit – A full-body wetsuit with arms and legs designed specifically for swimming.
  • Farmer John – Sleeveless Wetsuit.
  • T1 – Triathletes set up there gear to transition from Swim-to-Bike.
  • T2 – Triathletes set up there gear to transition from Bike-to-Run.
  • Wave Start – Groups of athletes starting together at the swim portion of a triathlon.
  • Deep Water Start – The swim start begins in the water.  Triathletes will tread water until they start.


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