If you're new to the sport of triathlon, it's
important that you get up to speed on all the terminology that will help people
to quickly recognize you as a tri geek!
Tri Geek (tr) (gk) n. A
unique sub-species of the broader homo sapiens tribe known as
"Triathletes." Distinguished from general triathletes by their
propensity to consistently increase their expenditures on any and all
equipment, nutrition, and technology to aid in the elusive goal of improving
performance while general avoiding a commensurate increase in time spent
Age Group / Age Grouper - Refers
to non-professional participants in races. So called because participants
officially compete against other racers in the same age bracket (Men 30-34, for
Aluminum - Light-weight metal used in
bike frame construction. Generally lighter than steel, but not as strong. Thus,
"oversized" tubing is used to create strong yet light-weight bike
Aero/Aerodynamic- A description usually
applied to bikes, but is applicable to any design or modification that reduces
wind-drag and results in an object traveling faster through air using the same
amount of energy.
Aero Bars - Handle bars that stretch the
rider out over the wheel and lowers the body closer to the bike frame,
resulting in less surface area and, thus, less wind-drag.
Aero Wheels - Generally, any wheel design
that eliminates spoke count, presents a more narrow surface contact (i.e. the
internal edges of the wheel are sharper, the blades are flatter) and creates
less wind drag.
Aerobic- Exercising where the muscle
cells have sufficient oxygen.
Anaerobic- Exercising (or performing any
physical activity) where the muscle cells lack sufficient oxygen. Example:
Aqua/Bike- a dual sport event which
includes swimming and biking.
AT- Anaerobic Threshold. This is
the physical point in exercise where oxygen consumption results in lactic acid
production exceeding lactic acid removal.
Athena -non-professional female
triathlete whose weight is 165 lbs.. or higher.
ATP- Adenosine Tri-Phosphate is the
basic compound that muscles burn to make energy (carbohydrates, fat, everything
is broken down to this compound for energy production).
Biathlon - A dual-sport event, commonly
existing of a bike and run race. Can be any two sports.
Bi-lateral Breathing - The
act of taking breathes from alternate sides of the body while swimming. Most
swimmers have a predominate side from which they take their breathes, but
bi-lateral breathing helps increase balance in the water and is useful if waves
are "breaking" over one side.
Bonk - Running out of energy during
racing or training due to insufficient energy consumptions.
"Bonking"...also "Hitting the Wall."
BPM - Beats Per Minute, referring to
Brick- The combination of a Bike and
Run work-out. Used to simulate race conditions, allows racers to acclimate to
the feelings of moving rapidly from a cycling motion to a running
Cadence - The measurement of a certain
revolution. Generally applied to pedal rotations per minute, or in running,
strides per minute.
Carbohydrate - simple sugars and starches
that provide a quick source of muscle energy. One gram has 4 calories. Carbos
are plentiful in fruits, grains, potatoes, breads, bagels, pasta, etc., and
once converted in the body to glycogen, are stored in the liver and muscles. It
is the musclesÇ preferred endurance fuel, but human body can store only about
4,000 calories of carbohydrate.
Carbon/Carbon Fiber - A very
light and very strong material "adopted" by the cycling community to
help create equipment while shaving weight. Used in manufacturing various
pieces of equipment from bike frames, to cranks, to handlebars, to soles of
cycling shoes, to wheels, etc.
Chain Rings- The discs with teeth on the
bike that are turned by the pedals. The chain wraps around the rings, locked in
place by the teeth. Rotation of the rings causing the chain to revolve which,
in turn, rotates the rear wheel.
Clincher - A type of bike tire which has
a u-shape on a cross-section. The tube is inserted into the tire, and the tire
is then mounted onto the wheel and held in place by hooking the beads (the ends
of the "u") under lips going around the outside edges of the wheel.
Clydesdale - non-professional male athlete
whose weight is 220 lbs. or above
Cool Down - The period after a work-out
where the person is still exercising, but at a slow and relaxed pace so as to
allow the muscles to pump out some of the lactic acid.
Cranks - These bike components are the
"arms" between the pedals and the chain rings which transfer the
pedal motion to the chainrings.
Derailleur - A bike component that rests
over the chain rings (front derailleur) and over the gear cluster (rear
derailleur). the purpose is to lift and lower the chain onto a new gear
Disc Wheels - A wheel that has no spokes,
but is instead has a disc "face". This design eliminates wind drag
created by spokes - but it also catches cross-winds.
DNF - Did Not Finish. Refers to
someone who officially started a race but does not finish it.
DNS - Did Not Start.
Drafting - The act of following very
close behind the person in front. In cycling this reduces wind resistance, thus
making cycling easier and faster - it is also banned in most events (except the
Olympics and draft-legal I.T.U. events). In swimming, the act of swimming right
behind the toes of another swimmer - cuts down on water drag. Generally, this
is legal in all races. In running, following right behind another runner - also
helps cut down on wind drag and is very helpful when running into headwinds.
DQ - Abbreviation for
Duathlon - A dual sport event generally
consisting of three stages. Most common structure is a run-bike-run
Fartlek - Means "speed play"
and is a form of speed workouts in running similar to interval training.
GI distress - Gastro-Intestinal condition
resulting from carbohydrate imbalances, muscular and digestive tract problems.
Glucose - a sugar, energy-producing fuel
of the cells.
Glycogen - a sequence of glucose
molecules that forms the principal carbohydrate storage material in the body
and muscles preferred fuel for endurance exercise.
Glycogen window - period within one to
two hours after exhaustive exercise that refuels the muscles more rapidly than
if feeding is delayed.
Granny Gear - smallest bike chainring combined with largest cog, used mainly for climbing.
Half-Ironman Distance - Refers to a race with the following events: 1.2 mile swim; 56 mile bike and 13.1 mile run. Popular local races of this distance include Wildflower and the Half-Vineman.
HRM / Heart Rate Monitor - A device that, as the name implies, monitors the heart rate of the person wearing it during exercise. Gaining fast popularity in both training and racing.
Intervals - A speed workout that is composed of running faster paces mixed with slower paces.
Ironman Distance - The race distance named (and trademarked) after the original Hawaii Ironman. Owned by the WTC, the name refers to a triathlon consisting of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike and a 26.2 mile run (marathon).
Ironman Qualifier - Designates a race which offers qualifying spots to the Hawaii Ironman World Championship. These qualifying spots are generally handed out to age-group winners and top finishers.
IT Band - Ilio-Tibial Band. This is a long tendon band that stretches from the buttocks, down the outer length of the leg. Since the band stretches across the outside of the knee, tension along the band may cause it to rub against the knee, resulting in inflammation - a painful condition called ITB Syndrome.
ITU - The International Triathlon Union. This is a governing body that oversees and regulates races across the world. Generally, I.T.U. points are used to determine world champions.
Kick Board - A floatation device used in swim training. Generally held in front of the body to keep the torso afloat so as to allow the swimmer to concentrate on kicking exercises.
Lactic Acid - A by-product of muscles burning ATP for fuel. Causes the burning feelings in muscles and results in fatigue.
LSD - Long Slow Distances - used to describe longer runs art a slower pace. Helpful in building a distance base.
Maximum Heart Rate - Literally the highest heart rate that a person's heart can beat. Gradually decreases with age.
Negative Split - The measurement where the second half of an event is completed faster than the first half (e.g. in a marathon, the first 13.1 miles at 1:45, while the second 13.1 miles are run at 1:42:30.)
Olympic Distance - A race consisting of the following events: a 1.5 km swim, a 40 km bike and a 10 km run. Named after the distances of the actual Olympic triathlon.Over Distance - a training concept of going longer than the anticipated distance of an event.Overpronation - the excessive inward roll of the foot before toe-off. Overpronation is believed to be the cause of many running injuries.Overtraining - declining performance and deep-seated fatigue, both physical and mental, caused by excessive training loads, high stress levels and carbohydrate consumption insufficient to fuel continious performance.
"PB" - Personal Best. A term used to designate one's best time for a given race. Example: "I just "PB'd" at Vineman, finishing in just under 6 hours!"
Pull Buoy - A swim training device. Generally a figure-8 shaped floating material that is held between the swimmers thighs. This allows the legs to be kept afloat without any kicking action, allowing the swimmer to concentrate on arm exercises.
Sew-Ups - See "Tubulars" below.
Sprint - Anerobic running, generally on track. Can be maintained for short distances.
Sprint Distance - Generally, any race with distances that are shorter than an Olympic Distance.
Steel - Formerly, the most common material used in bike frames. Classic frame-makers such as Pinarello, Colnago, De Rosa, etc. all used steel. Now, as many manufacturers are trying to find ways to decrease the weight of bikes, lighter materials such as carbon, titanium and aluminum are being utilized.
Supination - the opposite of pronation. It's an outward rolling of the forefoot that naturally occurs during the stride cycle at toe-off. Oversupination occurs when the foot remains on its outside edge after heel strike instead of pronating. A true oversupinating foot underpronates or does not pronate at all so it doesn't absorb shock well. It is a rare condition occurring in less than 1 percent of the running population.
Swag (Aka "Schwag") - 1) free products given out at races, festivals, or expos by manfacturers, 2) free products given out at LA Tri Club events!
T1 - Swim-to-bike transition
T2 - Bike-to-run transition
Tempo Runs - sustained effort training runs, usually 20 to 30 minutes in length, at 10 to 15 seconds per mile slower than 10k race pace. Another way to gauge the pace of tempo runs - a pace about midway between short-interval training speed and your easy running pace.
Titanium - A light metal being used in bike manufacturing.
Tri Geek - A unique sub-species of the broader homo sapien tribe known as "Triathletes." Distinguished from general triathletes by their propensity to consistently increase their expenditures on any and all equipment, nutrition, and technology to aid in the elusive goal of improving performance while generall avoiding a commensurate increase in time spent training.
Tubulars / Sew-Ups - A type of tire which has the tube encased in the tire which is then "sewn" shut. The whole tri/tube is then glued onto a tubular wheel set.
USAT - U.S.A. Triathlon - this is the United States' governing body of triathlons. Generally will sanction races and provide guidelines/rules. Also licenses race participants.
V02 Max - the maximum amount of oxygen an athlete can take in to produce work, usually measured in of oxygen per kilogram of body weight. Elite athletes can record scores of 80 ml/kg or above.
Wind Trainer - An indoor training device for bicycles. Generally, the rear wheel is locked into place onto a cylinder. The front wheel can be left on or removed and the forks mounted to a clamp (depending upon make and model). As the rider pedals, the wheel causes the cylinder to rotate. Sometimes fans or magnets are connected to the cylinder to provide a means of resistance, thus making the work-out more challenging.