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Triathlon terminology

Triathlons can indeed involve some confusing terms. Here are explanations for a few common terms used in triathlons:

  • Swim Leg: This refers to the swimming portion of the triathlon, where participants swim a designated distance in open water (such as a lake, river, or ocean) or in a pool.
    Transition Area: Also known as the “T1” and “T2” areas, these are designated zones where participants transition from one discipline to another. T1 refers to the transition from the swim to the bike, while T2 is the transition from the bike to the run. In these areas, participants switch equipment, such as changing from a wetsuit to cycling gear or from cycling shoes to running shoes.
  • Drafting: Drafting involves closely following another participant on the bike leg to take advantage of the reduced wind resistance. In some triathlon events, drafting is not allowed, while in others, specific drafting rules are in place.
  • Brick Workout: This refers to a training session where athletes combine two disciplines back-to-back, typically biking immediately followed by running. The purpose is to simulate the feeling of transitioning between the bike and run in a triathlon, helping athletes adapt to the change in muscle usage and overall fatigue.
  • Split Time: A split time refers to the time it takes to complete a specific segment of the triathlon, such as the swim, bike, or run. Split times help participants track their performance and assess their pacing during each discipline.
  • Age Group: In triathlons, participants are often grouped into age categories, such as 18-24, 25-29, 30-34, and so on. This allows for fair competition within specific age ranges, and awards are often given based on age group rankings.


Remember that these terms may vary slightly depending on the specific race or organisation hosting the triathlon, so it’s always a good idea to familiarise yourself with the event’s guidelines and terminology before participating.


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